From the founder of the Holosapiens Project

cover Yana 

 on Amazon




  • dampness in the Spleen
  • over-consumption of greasy, cold and raw foods
  • over-consumption of greasy, hot and spicy foods, and alcohol


"Phlegm in the Lung" originates in the Spleen.

One of the functions of the Spleen is to govern the water metabolism. It is in charge of the separation, transportation, and movement of fluids. If the Spleen is deficient it cannot sufficiently transport fluids, which eventually will lead to accumulation of "dampness" or "internal dampness”.

In Five Elements theory the Spleen belongs to element Earth and the Lung belongs to element Metal. In nature metal is contained in earth, thus Earth element “generates” Metal element. Since the Spleen is Earth and the Lung is Metal the Spleen is in a “generating relationship” with the Lung. This means that if the Spleen is chronically imbalanced the Lung will become imbalanced as well. Chronic "dampness in the Spleen" will eventually transfer to the Lung and manifest as "phlegm in the Lung".


Foggy Messy Landscape


There are two types of "phlegm in the Lung" – "cold phlegm" and "hot phlegm". "Cold phlegm" is provoked by over-consumption of greasy and "cold foods" (foods consumed straight out of the refrigerator and all raw foods). "Hot phlegm" is caused by over-consumption of greasy and "hot foods" (spicy foods, alcohol).

If you want to learn more about the Lung and its functions from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine go to "The Lung in Traditional Chinese Medicine" in the Physiology chapter.




  • chest oppression
  • shortness of breath
  • cough


  • cold-phlegm symptoms - cough with profuse white sputum
  • hot-phlegm symptoms - barking cough with thick, yellow or green phlegm, asthma


Phlegm is heavy and obstructive in nature. Thus whether the phlegm is “cold” or “hot” chest oppression and shortness of breath will be experienced. The major symptom for “phlegm in the Lung” is cough as the Lung is trying to expectorate the phlegm. In the cases of “cold phlegm”, where the phlegm is more watery, the cough is accompanied by profuse white sputum, that is easy to expectorate. As the phlegm is profuse lying down may worsen one’s condition. (1)

In the cases of “hot phlegm” the heat has thickened the phlegm making it yellow or green in color and more difficult to expectorate. The cough is profound with a “barking” quality. A typical symptom for hot-phlegm in the Lung is asthma. (1)




To treat phlegm in the Lung it is important to address the underlying condition that causes it, which is “dampness in the Spleen” and “deficiency of Spleen Qi”. Please read the materials Deficiency of Spleen Qi and Dampness in the Spleen in the Physiology chapter to review how Traditional Chinese Medicine treats these two conditions and more importantly what foods to avoid in order not to worsen them.

The symptom of the underlying condition - phlegm in the Lung - also needs to be treated. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the color that benefits the Lung is white therefore foods, herbs, and spices with white color are beneficial.


To unlock the rest of this article select "Yes, I want to learn!" below.


Food Therapy


Food therapy is the most economical and non-toxic biochemical approach to illness and disease. Food is something we continuously use to sustain our lives. Learning what foods are healing (and what disruptive) for each condition has the potential to convert every meal into therapy.   


Yes, I want to learn!



(1) Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Nanjing: Harcourt Publishers Limited

(2) Pitchford, Paul (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books


Related Articles

The Lung and sadness


The Lung, season autumn, and the foods during autumn that benefit the Lung

Herbs that transform cold-phlegm and hot-phlegm

Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing

Wind Invasion and the Lung

Herbs for first stage wind attack

Herbs for second stage wind attack

Dryness in the Lung

Herbs that tonify Yin

Deficiency of Lung Qi

Herbs that tonify the Qi and benefit Lung Qi

Please read our Disclaimer


Try Our TCM Food Therapy Programs:





Food Therapy for Women's Health 

Honor Woman Sm

Tell me more...

Food Therapy for Children's Health 

Child For Yin And Yang2 

Tell me more...

Food Therapy for Chronic Emotional Disharmony 


Tell me more...

Food Therapy for Body Pain and Inflammation


Tell me more...

Seasonal Menu (New!)

Dq21158003 Z

Tell me more...

Acupressure Therapy Programs 

    Included in all of the above options as well as:


Open Point Calculator


Tell me more...

Acupressure Point Location Videos

Kin Head Meridian

Tell me more...