What is Phlegm in Chinese medicine?

Phlegm is build-up of Dampness that has been overly heated by the body and then mixed with water.

There are 2 kinds of Phlegm:

  1. Substantial Phlegm - comes out of mouth and nose.
  2. Insubstantial - can form in the body as lumps, nodules, bumps and cysts.

Phlegm analogies.

Phlegm is like having a build-up of dirt that continues to have more dirt added to it until it collects into a mound of dirt. Then, some water is introduced to that mound of dirt and it creates a thick, goopy form of mud. 

Related organ(s)?


How is Phlegm generated?

When unwanted or needed water enters the body, it combines with proteins and dampness that's lodged in tissues and creates a viscus Phlegm.  

How can Phlegm manifest?

  • As clear Phlegm that you cough up or sneeze out.
  • As yellow Phlegm that you cough up or sneeze out.
  • As brown Phlegm that you cough up or sneeze out.
  • Lumps, nodules, bumps and cysts that may form in the arms, chest, neck, etc. 

How to improve and then prevent Phlegm?

  • Avoid damp producing foods.
  • Avoid spicy food.
  • Alcohol.
  • Remove any substantial Phlegm when you cough it up.
  • Movement helps get rid of dampness Low impact exercise such as Qigong, Taichi, Yoga are excellent to counter Dampness.
  • Go see a Licensed Acupuncturist and/or Herbalist who can help expel it from your body. They can also transform phlegm back into damp, then damp into water.