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Liver qi stagnation with underlying phlegm


Hello! I went to the acupuncturist early this week, and from my general state they determined I had liver qi stagnation with underlying phlegm, and ‘Mid Jiao’ dysfunction impacting the spleen. Pulse - slippery on the right, wiry on the left. Tongue, pale pink with a thick white curdy coating. Because I’m not sure if I’m going to stay in the area (possible employment change), I haven’t made a second appointment yet. In any case, they recommended Shu Gan (as a big component was Anxiety/Stress) and to heavily moderate sweets/caffeine.

Earlier I was having heat emerge from my palms and feet, which made me think I was Yin Deficient, but they told me I was far too vital to be YD. The heat has massively diminished since I eliminated caffeine a week ago, so it’s likely that the coffee/tea was putting further strain on my system.

My question is this… I was told exercise is something to pursue - Tai Chi, running, weight lifting. Lots of water, sleep, to be ‘chill’ as much as possible. Is this sound advice? (obviously, it seems like a no-brainer) Also, how long might this condition persist? The anxiety has almost disappeared overnight from the treatment and the heat from my palms/soles (which was my major concern) is majorly reduced. I still have some digestive aches, depending on the day, but i know it may take a couple months at least to resolve. Finally, how long should I continue the herb treatment?

It was indicated that having warmth in the palms and soles is not that unusual for those of this condition, that it is the result of excessive stress / heat. I can honestly say that my life has been unusually stressful in the past five-six months. Does this sound correct from your practice?

Thanks for all you guys do here, it’s great to read this forum.


All things considered you diagnosis sounds about right and shu gan wan is probably a good formula for you at least initially.


Thanks for the feedback. Is the hand/sole syndrome - ‘heat’/ tingling, even if the skin is not warm or hot, as a result of stress - fairly common in your experience? The Western doctors I saw were baffled but at the acupuncture center it was almost ‘matter-of-course’.


Yes, that is extremely common.


Ah, thank you so much – this heat was a huge stressor on my life, aggravating all my other stress, as I didn’t know what it was and it didn’t diminish after my main sickness departed. Now that I’ve relaxed (somewhat) and changed my diet, it has lessened if not entirely gone away.


Hello - I’ve been reviewing herbs online (the acupuncturist simply wrote down “Shu Gan”) and I was wondering about Chai Hu Shu Gan Pian (Bupleuri LiverSooth). I noted that you sell this in your store. However, with some research, the medicine states it has a slight warming property, and I was wondering if this would adversely affect the heat arising from the palms/soles & if I should try a different formula (the alternative you list is jia wei xiao yao wan –


It would be far more likely to clear it than add to it, I would stick with what the person who had the ability to see you and properly diagnose you recommended first. Xiao yao wan or Jia wei xiao yao wan are many times combined with shu gan wan in cases of liver qi stagnation with stronger digestive issues. But I almost always start simply first and then watch results and add in other herbs/formulas if necessary.

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