When Qi stagnates it frequently gives rise to Heat. This is why emotional stress which leads to Qi stagnation usually leads to Heat and that is why the tip of the tongue (reflecting the Heart and the Shen) becomes red.

Heat from Qi stagnation has the same characteristics and clinical manifestations as those of Full Heat but it differs in the treatment principle. To clear Full Heat, we use herbs and formulae from the category of AClearing Heat@ or AClearing Organ Heat@. To clear Heat deriving from Qi stagnation, we need to use herbs and formulae from the AMoving Qi@ category and adapt them to clear Heat.

Although we always stress Liver-Qi stagnation, practically all organs may suffer from Qi stagnation and I will discuss particularly three: Liver, Lungs and Heart.

a) Heat from Liver-Qi stagnation

Hypochondrial or epigastric distension, a slight feeling of oppression of the chest, irritability, melancholy, depressed mood, moodiness, propensity to outbursts of anger, a feeling of lump in the throat, a feeling of heat, red face, thirst, pre-menstrual tension, irregular periods, pre-menstrual breast distension, heavy periods.

Tongue: red on the sides, with coating.
Pulse: Wiry, especially on the left side and slightly Rapid.

P-6 Neiguan, G.B.-34 Yanglingquan, LIV-14 Qimen, LIV-3 Taichong, T.B.-6 Zhigou, LIV-2 Xingjian.

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San Moutan-Gardenia Free and Easy Wanderer Powder.


This tongue has red sides (especially the left one) while the rest of the tongue has a normal colour. This is from Liver-Qi stagnation giving rise to Heat.

b) Heat from Lung-Qi stagnation

A feeling of lump in the throat, difficulty in swallowing, a feeling of oppression or distension of the chest, slight breathlessness, sighing, sadness, slight anxious mood, depressed mood, crying, breast distension in women, feeling of heat, thirst, red cheeks.

Tongue: slightly Red on the sides in the chest areas.
Pulse: very slightly Tight on the right cun position.

LU-7 Lieque, ST-40 Fenglong, Ren-15 Jiuwei, P-6 Neiguan.

Ban Xia Hou Po Tang Pinella-Magnolia Decoction plus Zhu Ye Folium Phyllostachys nigrae.

Lung-Qi stagnation derives from sadness, grief, shame, guilt and especially worry: it affects throat and chest. In women it also affects the breasts.

c) Heat from Heart-Qi stagnation

Palpitations, a feeling of distension or oppression of the chest, depressed mood, a slight feeling of lump in the throat, slight shortness of breath, sighing, poor appetite, chest and upper epigastric distension, dislike of lying down, weak and cold limbs, pale complexion.

Tongue: slightly Pale-Purple on the sides in the chest area.
Pulse: Empty but very slightly Overflowing on the left cun position.

HE-5 Tongli, HE-7 Shenmen, P-6 Neiguan, Ren-15 Jiuwei, Ren-17 Shanzhong, LU-7 Lieque, ST-40 Fenglong, L.I.-4 Hegu.

Mu Xiang Liu Qi Yin Aucklandia Flowing Qi Decoction.
Ban Xia Hou Po Tang Pinellia-Magnolia Decoction.

Both prescriptions plus Zhu Ye Folium Phyllostachys nigrae and Lian Zi Xin Plumula Nelumbinis.

Heart-Qi stagnation may derive from sadness, grief, worry, shame and guilt.


This tongue shows a slightly purple colour in the chest area on the left. This may reflect Qi stagnation of Heart or Lungs or both.