Tickly throat according to Chinese Medicine

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Tickly throat 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 tickly throat 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 tickly throat is often associated with dry cough, weak voice and dry mouth in the pattern “Lung Yin Deficiency”.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of tickly throat we’ve identified two 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 tickly throat.

Lung Yin Deficiency, a "pattern of disharmony" that can cause tickly throat

In Chinese Medicine tickly throat is a symptom for the pattern "Lung Yin Deficiency". Below is a small explanation for it with links for more details.

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Lung Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Exterior Heat and Dryness invades the Lungs and exhausts the Body Fluids. It eventually leads to Lung Yin Deficiency, if not intervened for a long time.

In addition to tickly throat, other symptoms associated with Lung Yin Deficiency include dry cough, weak voice and dry mouth.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Lung Yin Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Absence Of Menstruation.

Lung Yin Deficiency is often treated with Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Unprepared Rehmannia - Di Huang - as a key herb). Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that enrich yin and moisten dryness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes the Yin".

Read more about Lung Yin Deficiency here

Two herbal formulas that might help with tickly throat

Mai Men Dong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Stomach. Generates Body Fluids. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Mai Men Dong Tang help with tickly throat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' of which tickly throat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Lung Yin Deficiency include dry cough, weak voice and dry mouth.

Read more about Mai Men Dong Tang here

Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang

Source date: the 18th century

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Improves throat. Resolves toxicity. Clears the Lungs.

Why might Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang help with tickly throat?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' of which tickly throat is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Lung Yin Deficiency include dry cough, weak voice and dry mouth.

Read more about Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat tickly throat

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with tickly throat?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tickly throat as a symptom, like Mai Men Dong Tang or Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang for instance.

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

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 Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with tickly throat?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tickly throat as a symptom, like Mai Men Dong Tang or Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here

Why might Dwarf Lilyturf Root (Mai Dong) help with tickly throat?

Because Dwarf Lilyturf Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat tickly throat as a symptom, like Mai Men Dong Tang or Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang for instance.

Dwarf Lilyturf Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.

Read more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots here

Why might Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) help with tickly throat?

Because it is a key herb in Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with tickly throat as a symptom)

Unprepared Rehmannia is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Heat by Cooling Blood. Tonifies Yin by promoting Fluid production. Soothes the Heart by calming Blazing Fire. Cools and nourishes.

Read more about Unprepared Rehmannia here

Why might Mulberry Leaf (Sang Ye) help with tickly throat?

Because it is a key herb in Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Lung Yin Deficiency' (a pattern with tickly throat as a symptom)

Mulberry Leaves is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and clears Heat. Clears Heat in the Lung with associated Dryness. Clears the Liver for either Wind-Heat or Yin Deficient Heat. Cools the Blood.

Read more about Mulberry Leaves here