Excessive mucus in throat is one of common symptoms of inflammatory airway, which occurs more commonly in children and the elderly. Most coughing always accompanies with this substance. So to speak, where there is excess mucus production, there is coughing. This is simply because coughing is a defensive reaction of the human body, which helps get them out of throat in case it induces more severe diseases like pneumonia due to obstruction in respiratory tract. However, when body fails to get rid of them thoroughly, it should seek outside help immediately. When it comes to Chinese herbs for excessive phlegm, Bai Qian is one of not bad choices. Anyway, to make the most of this extraordinary herb, some rules have to be followed.
What causes excess mucus in throat?
In the eyes of western medicine, it refers to the viscous substance secreted by respiratory tract mucosa of lung and bronchus, which is beneath nasal cavity and produced aiming to exclude the foreign matter out of the body. Simply put, it means those watery or sticky matters to be coughed out from mouth. When this symptom is found, immediate cautions and therapy are highlly suggested as it is indicating something wrong inside your body. In the cases of smokers and patients of respiratory diseases, the amount of it tends to increase, especially in conditions as follows.
(1). When chronic bronchitis patients catch cold, besides this symptom they are prone to suffer from coughing and wheezing. If it remains unhealed after a prolonged period of time, very often it may lead to emphysema and cor pulmonale. When bacterial infection is involved, symptoms like yellow mucus and fever will just follow;
(2). In lobar pneumonia sufferers, common symptoms are rusty sputum and alternative fever and chills;
(3). Tuberculosis, accompanied with fever and night sweats, results in excessive phlegm when pulmonary cavity is formed. In this case, tubercle bacillus can be located through test. And sometimes coughing up mucus with blood is also found;
(3). Large amount of it also can be found in bronchiectasis. It can be clear, thick, or hard in texture. Sometimes coughing up mucus and blood is also accompanied;
(4). In lung abscess, sputum is copious and smelly, often accompanied by fever;
(5). If infected by pseudomonas aeruginosa, sticky green or brown one is coughed up. Usually fever is accompanied in this case;
(6). Lung cancer sufferers also cough up clear or thick one, sometimes mixed with blood, and stink phlegm in advanced stage.
What is Bai Qian or Cynanchum Rhizome?
Also known as Cynanchum Rhizome and Willowleaf Swallowwort Rhizome, it refers to the root of cynanchum stauntonii (Decne.) or cynanchum glaucescens (Decne.), which grows in a few of provinces in China like Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang, and Guizhou, etc.
Dried roots of cynanchum stauntonii twist into lump. The single one is tubelike, tall and slender with nodules, slightly curved, 4 to 15cm long, 1.5 to 5mm in diameter, light yellow to yellowish-brown skin, small vertical wrinkles, expanded nodules, branching with dense fibril, and often with remnant grayish-green or purple-brown aerial stem of plant on top. It is crisp and easy to break, round cross section, and hollow or marrow with membrane in the middle.
Dried root of Cynanchum glaucescens is similar to that of cynanchum stauntonii. But it features opposite buds on nodules of rhizome and overground stem. The root is long the thick, about 5 to 20cm, 0.5 to 1mm in diameter, light gray yellow skin. And it is with faint odor and slightly sweet in taste. The preferred medicinal herb is bigger build, longer fibril, and without dirt and impurities.
Property and indications
From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is pungent, bitter, and slight warm in nature and covers lung meridian.
Main functions are to descend reversed Qi, transform phlegm, and relieve a cough. Main usage and indications are coughing up excessive mucus and wheezing, regardless it is of cold or hot nature, exopathic cause or internal injury, and newly acquired or chronic type.
Regular dosage is 3 to 19 grams in decoction.
Other herbs for excessive phlegm
Both Bai Qian and Bai Jie Zi (White Mustard Seed) warm and resolve cold phlegm. The former is warm but not dry in nature and good at descending reversed Qi, which is mainly used for coughing due to reversed Qi; the latter is dry in nature and good at promoting the circulation of Qi, which is mainly used for constant phlegm underlying in diaphragm and fullness in the chest and flanks.
Both Bai Qian and Jie Geng (Balloon Flower Rhizome) expel phlegm. The former is good at descending reversed Qi, which is mainly for distention in chest and flanks, gurgling throat, and shortness of breath caused by excess lung; the latter is good at venting lung Qi, which is mainly for coughing and stuffy nose due to the closure of lung Qi, full chest, and sore throat.
Possible side effects and contraindications
Ben Cao Jing Shu, Commentary on the Materia Medica, said this herb should be avoided in coughing and wheezing caused by homeless deficient Qi instead of excess lung caused by foreign pathogenic intruder.
Related natural remedies for excessive mucus in throat
(1). Recorded in Shi Ji Yan Fang (Collection of Effective Recipes), its powder mixed with warm wine is used to treat gurgling throat and insomnia due to chronic phlegm;
(2). According to Jin Xiao Fang (Recent Effective Recipes), there is a recipe that is exclusively used for chronic coughing up blood in mucus. Other individual herbs are Sang Bai Pi (Mulberry Root Bark), Jie Geng (Balloon Flower Rhizome), and Gan Cao (Licorice Root);
(3). Di Gu Pi Tang, from Sheng Ji Zong Lu (Complete Record of Holy Benevolence), is mainly for excess heat in lung, full chest due to asthma, rapid breathing, and lying in chair or bed caused by excessive mucus in throat and lung. The formula includes Di Gu Pi (Wolfberry Root Cortex), Bai Qian (Cynanchum Rhizome), Shi Gao (Gypsum), Xing Ren (Apricot Seed), and Sang Bai Pi (Mulberry Root Bark).