Stuffiness of chest and diaphragm

TCM Education Center > Symptoms list > Stuffiness of chest and diaphragm

Stuffiness of chest and diaphragm 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 stuffiness of chest and diaphragm 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 stuffiness of chest and diaphragm is often associated with difficulty swallowing, feeling of a lump in the throat which comes and goes and irritability in the pattern “Qi-Phlegm”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of stuffiness of chest and diaphragm we’ve identified that a herbal formula called Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang can help treat the patterns behind the symptom.

Qi-Phlegm, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause stuffiness of chest and diaphragm

In Chinese Medicine stuffiness of chest and diaphragm is a symptom for the pattern "Qi-Phlegm". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a formula used for Qi-Phlegm

Qi-Phlegm

Pulse type(s): Slippery (Hua), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Also often called "plum-stone" or "plum-pit" syndrome, the main characteristic of Qi-Phlegm is a feeling of swelling in the throat and a swallowing difficulty. It typically originates from emotional problems and it appears and disappears according to mood swings.

In addition to stuffiness of chest and diaphragm, other symptoms associated with Qi-Phlegm include difficulty swallowing, feeling of a lump in the throat which comes and goes and irritability.

Qi-Phlegm is often treated with Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that promote qi movement", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm".

Read more about Qi-Phlegm here

A herbal formula that might help with stuffiness of chest and diaphragm

Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Regulates the flow of Qi, treats esophageal spasm. Clears Phlegm.

Why might Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang help with stuffiness of chest and diaphragm?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' of which stuffiness of chest and diaphragm is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi-Phlegm include difficulty swallowing, feeling of a lump in the throat which comes and goes and irritability.

Read more about Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang here

The two Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat stuffiness of chest and diaphragm

Why might Crow-Dipper Rhizome (Ban Xia) help with stuffiness of chest and diaphragm?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' (a pattern with stuffiness of chest and diaphragm as a symptom)

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

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 Houpu Magnolia Bark (Hou Pu) help with stuffiness of chest and diaphragm?

Because it is a key herb in Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi-Phlegm' (a pattern with stuffiness of chest and diaphragm as a symptom)

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

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

Other symptoms often associated with stuffiness of chest and diaphragm

Difficulty swallowing Feeling of a lump in the throat which comes and goes Irritability Mood swings Depression