Breathe Easier: How Clearing Heat Medicine Can Boost Lung Health

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If you’ve ever dealt with persistent coughing, shortness of breath or chest discomfort, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) might say these symptoms can be linked to heat accumulation in your lungs. Maintaining optimal lung health is crucial for overall well-being. After all, our lungs play a vital role in oxygenating the blood and expelling carbon dioxide, supporting the body’s essential functions. When heat accumulates in the body, it can impair lung function and cause respiratory issues. Luckily, TCM offers various clearing heat medicines to remedy this condition. In this article, we’ll explain lung health from a TCM perspective, suggest Chinese medicine lung health and provide tips on supporting your lungs.

The Role of the Lungs in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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According to TCM, the lungs are considered a vital organ and are associated with several important functions related to both the physical and energetic aspects of the body. Below are more details on the role of lungs based on the TCM perspective:

The Concept of Lung Qi

In TCM, Qi is fundamental to understanding the body’s energy or life force. Lung Qi refers to the vital energy associated with the lungs, which plays a crucial role in respiration and the overall functioning of the body. According to TCM principles, the lungs play a vital role in the body’s respiratory system, but they are also connected to broader functions, including the regulation of Qi and the circulation of Wei Qi (protective energy associated with the immune system). The Lung Qi is believed to govern the breath and is related to the intake of fresh Qi from the air. That is why keeping your Lung Qi strong and balanced is essential for supporting overall health.

The Lung’s Relationship with Other Organs

The lungs are also seen as part of a complex network of organs and systems that work together to maintain balance and harmony in the body. Here are some relationships between your lungs and other organs:

Large Intestine

The lungs are paired with the large intestine in the Metal element within the Five Elements theory of TCM. This means that they share a close connection, and imbalances in one may affect the other. For example, a disruption in the large intestine, such as constipation or diarrhoea, may influence the function of the lungs and vice versa.


In TCM, the lungs and kidneys are seen as mutually supportive, and their relationship is crucial for maintaining balance in the body’s water metabolism. The kidneys store Essence (Jing), which is considered foundational for the production of Qi, including Lung Qi. A harmonious interaction between the lungs and kidneys is essential for overall vitality.


The lungs are closely associated with the heart in TCM. Together, they form a vital pair known as the “Upper Burner” or “Upper Jiao.” The lungs are responsible for inhaling fresh Qi, and the heart is responsible for circulating it throughout the body. This interplay is crucial for maintaining proper circulation and nourishment of the entire system.


The Concept of Heat in TCM

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Defining Heat and its Symptoms

In TCM, heat is considered one of the six external pathogenic factors that can disrupt the body’s equilibrium and lead to various health issues. It’s characterised by a state of hyperactivity, inflammation and an excess of Yang energy. Heat is often associated with symptoms such as fever, thirst, redness, rapid pulse and a feeling of heat in your body.

How Excessive Heat Affects Lung Health

Excessive heat can have several adverse effects on lung health, particularly in individuals who may already have respiratory conditions. Below are some of the impacts:

Lung-Qi Stagnation

Excessive heat can lead to stagnation of Lung-Qi, hindering the smooth flow of energy in the respiratory system. This stagnation may manifest as breathlessness, chest tightness, or difficulty in inhaling deeply.

Dryness in the Lungs

Heat tends to create dryness, and this can affect the lungs by drying up the respiratory mucosa. Dryness in the lungs may lead to a persistent dry cough, irritated throat and difficulty in expectorating phlegm.

Weakening the Defensive Qi

TCM emphasises the importance of the body’s defensive Qi (Wei Qi) in protecting against external pathogens. Excessive heat can weaken the defensive Qi, making the lungs more vulnerable to infections and other respiratory issues.

Clearing Heat Medicine: An In-Depth Look

TCM has a rich history of finding remedies to clear heat in the body. In this section, let’s explore the Chinese medicine approaches to clearing heat.

The Principles Behind Clearing Heat Medicine

Clearing heat Chinese medicine is based on the concept of balancing the body’s internal energy (Qi) and maintaining harmony among the organ systems. Heat is considered an excess of Yang energy, and the goal of clearing heat is to restore the balance between Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are fundamental concepts in TCM philosophy, representing the dualistic nature of opposing forces that are interconnected and interdependent. Yin is associated with qualities such as coolness, stillness, and substance, while Yang is linked to warmth, activity, and function. Health is believed to be maintained when these two forces are in a harmonious balance.

Common Herbs Used in Clearing Heat Formulas

Several herbs are commonly used in clearing heat medicine formulas, each contributing to the overall effectiveness of the remedy. Some common herbs includes:

Chrysanthemum (Ju Hua)

Chrysanthemum flowers, or Ju Hua in Chinese, are a famous herb used in TCM clear heat. It’s considered to have a cooling property and is frequently used to clear heat from the body. Besides that, it’s particularly helpful for clearing lung heat that manifests as a dry, sore throat or mouth, red eyes, and skin rashes.

Mint (Bo He)

Mint, known as Bo He in TCM, has a very cooling, energetic property and can effectively drain heat from multiple systems of the body, especially the lungs and liver. It can clear lung heat that results in coughing and help relieve symptoms like headache and red, painful eyes that are caused by liver heat and fire.

Honeysuckle Flower (Jin Yin Hua)

In TCM, the honeysuckle flower or Jin Yin Hua is used to clear accumulated heat in the body, especially hot, toxic heat that gets trapped deep in tissues and organs. It has powerful heat-clearing abilities that can help drain pus and toxins out of tissues and eruptions on the skin.

The Impact of Clearing Heat Medicine on Lung Health

Clearing heat medicine has a lot of positive impacts on lung health. When it comes to respiratory infections, these remedies can help alleviate symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and lung heat. Besides that, during allergy seasons, the use of clearing heat medicine is believed to contribute to strengthening lung health by potentially enhancing the body’s immune response. By addressing symptoms associated with respiratory allergies, these remedies may play a role in supporting the immune system, thereby providing a level of protection for the lungs during this season. For individuals with chronic lung conditions, incorporating clearing heat medicine can offer ongoing support. It helps remove blockages and promote the smooth flow of Qi and fluids in your body. This can potentially improve respiratory function and alleviate symptoms like shortness of breath. Consequently, incorporating clearing heat medicine into your health regimen shows promise for enhancing lung wellness.

Tips for Incorporating Clearing Heat Medicine into Your Routine

If you’re planning to incorporate clearing heat medicine into your routine, consider the following tips:

Consulting with a TCM Practitioner

When embarking on a journey to clear heat from your body, it’s crucial to seek guidance from a qualified TCM practitioner. They can assess your individual constitution, diagnose specific imbalances, and tailor a personalised treatment plan to address your unique needs. Regular consultations will ensure a holistic approach to your well-being, aligning with the principles of TCM.

Dietary Considerations for Clearing Heat

Your dietary choices play a pivotal role in clearing heat from your body. Here are some dietary guidelines to help clear excess heat:

Consume cooling food

Incorporate fruits and vegetables with cooling properties in your diet. For example, cucumber, watermelon, spinach and lettuce. All these foods have natural cooling properties that can help reduce heat in your body.

Stay Hydrated

Adequate hydration is crucial, especially during warmer weather. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to regulate your body temperature. Additionally, include hydrating beverages such as coconut water, herbal teas like peppermint or chamomile, and diluted fruit juices to add more hydration to your body.

Lifestyle Adjustments to Support Lung Health

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Maintaining lung health is crucial for overall well-being, and certain lifestyle adjustments can contribute to respiratory health. Below are some lifestyles you should try:                                 

Regular Exercise

Engage in regular physical activity to strengthen your respiratory muscles and improve lung capacity. Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are particularly beneficial.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is the single most important step you can take for your lung health. Seek support from friends, family, or a smoking cessation program.

Adequate Sleep

Ensure you get enough quality sleep, as sleep is essential for overall health, including respiratory function.


In conclusion, embracing the principles of clearing heat medicine in TCM offers a holistic approach to lung health. By understanding the interplay of Lung Qi, the impact of heat, and the application of clearing heat medicine, you can proactively enhance your respiratory well-being.

At Tong Jum Chew, we provide products that incorporate TCM for lungs. Our commitment is to provide holistic solutions rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine to support and enhance the overall respiratory health of our customers. Explore our range of products to experience the benefits of TCM today.