Stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

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Stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is often associated with fever, feeling of heaviness and abdominal pain in the pattern “Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium we’ve identified four herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

In Chinese Medicine stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

The Large Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Large Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

In addition to stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine include fever, feeling of heaviness and abdominal pain.

Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine is often treated with Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Kudzu Roots - Ge Gen - as a key herb). Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang belongs to the category of "external formulas for external disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine here

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for Damp-Heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

In addition to stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium, other symptoms associated with Damp-Heat include fever, feeling of heaviness and aversion to cold.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Damp-Heat is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Intermenstrual Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

Damp-Heat is often treated with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Damp-Cold Phlegm

Damp-Cold Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

In addition to stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium, other symptoms associated with Damp-Cold Phlegm include nausea, vomiting and focal distention.

Damp-Cold Phlegm is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Damp-Cold Phlegm here

The Triple Burner is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Triple Burner in Chinese Medicine

Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner

In addition to stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner include nausea, vomiting and focal distention.

Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner is often treated with Liu Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Liu Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner here

Four herbal formulas that might help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Why might Er Chen Tang help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Cold Phlegm' of which stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Cold Phlegm include nausea, vomiting and focal distention.

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Why might Liu Jun Zi Tang help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Dampness in the Middle-Burner' of which stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm-Dampness In The Middle-Burner include nausea, vomiting and focal distention.

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang here

Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Drains Heat.

Why might Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat in the Large Intestine' of which stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat In The Large Intestine include fever, feeling of heaviness and abdominal pain.

Read more about Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang here

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Damp-Heat' of which stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Damp-Heat include fever, feeling of heaviness and aversion to cold.

Read more about Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Crow-Dipper Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Drains Dampness and reduces Phlegm. Reverses the flow of Rebellious Qi. Reduces hardenings and relieves distention.

Read more about Crow-Dipper Rhizomes here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom, like Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang or Er Chen Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom, like Er Chen Tang or Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Houpu Magnolia Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom, like Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San or Lian Po Yin for instance.

Houpu Magnolia Bark is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Moves Rebellious Qi downward, dries Dampness and relieves Food Stagnation. Transforms Phlegm and redirects Rebellious Qi of the Lung.

Read more about Houpu Magnolia Bark here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium as a symptom, like Liu Jun Zi Tang or Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Other symptoms often associated with stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

Fever Feeling of heaviness Aversion to cold Headaches Nausea Vomiting Focal distention Poor appetite Loose stools Bitter taste in the mouth