Client with Cystic Fibrosis

“Hi! I have a client who has an 11 month old with cystic fibrosis. Any suggestions in regard in diet would be helpful.”

I am sure you have all the Nutrition and Lifestyle principles under control. Which I feel that with no matter the person or disease, they can have a large impact on healing. On the other end of it, I would look into TCM. Besides acupuncture, there are a lot of great herb decoctions that will help to disperse phlegm. Phlegm in TCM is a pathogen that can be created from many dysfunctions within the 12 Zang-Fu (yin yang organ pair) organs, as well as within the certain “fluids” within the body. These herbs will help to disperse the phlegm accordingly. Both Phlegm Retention and Coagulated Blood are the pathologic products of the process of diseases due to the action of pathogenic factors. When they are formed, however, they may affect directly or indirectly the functional activities of Zangfu Organs, leading to various kinds of diseases; therefore, they are also pathogenic factors.

Here is some info from some of my books and thoughts from what I have learned from school:
1. Phlegm Retention
This is the combined name of Phlegm and Phlegm Fluids, are both pathologic products of disturbed water metabolism. Generally speaking, Phlegm is the thicker product that will flow throughout the whole body following the ascent and descent of Qi, while phlegm Fluids is the thinner one that tends to stay in a local areas. In TCM, Phlegm is divided into two types: the visible and the invisible. The visible Phlegm usually refers to the sputum that often occurs with coughs, while the invisible Phlegm refers to the thicker retained water existing in Zang fu Organs, Channels, or skin and muscles. They can be seen only by the manifestations of Phlegm, such as greasy and thick tongue coating, obesity, full sensations in the affected parts, or sputum-like pus. According to the manifestations, a diagnosis of Phlegm can be made and the treatment should be aimed at eliminating Phlegm.

1-1. Formation of Phlegm Retention
Water metabolism is a process concerning a number of ZangFu Organs, especially the dispersing and descending actions of the Lung, the transforming and transporting actions of the Spleen and the controlling effect of the Kidney. Therefore, disturbance of any of these organs, if involving water metabolism, will lead to disturbance of the distribution and discharge of water and ensuing Phlegm Fluids. For example, when External pathogens attack the Lung, Body Fluids in the Lung will not be able to be distributed through the dispersing and descending actions of Lung Qi, from which Phlegm results. Thus, Lung disorders are usually marked by expectoration of sputum. After formation, Phlegm will flow to Zangfu Organs internally and the skin and muscles externally, giving rise to various diseases with various manifestations. As the Phlegm may exist in multiple parts of the human body, there are the sayings that “hundreds of diseases are caused by Phlegm” and that “Phlegm contributes to unusual diseases”. Phlegm Fluids often stays in certain areas of the body such as the pleurae, the gastrointestinal tract, the subcutaneous regions and the diaphragm.

1-2. Pathologic characteristics of Phlegm Retention
The manifestations of Phlegm Retention vary with the areas they affect after their formation. But they are most likely to obstruct the flow of Qi and disturb the ascent and descent of Qi of Zangfu Organs.

The commonly seen symptoms caused by Phlegm include: cough with sputum and asthma due to uneven ascent and descent of Lung Qi arising from Phlegm obstructing the respiratory tract and blocking the way for Lung Qi to flow; chest fullness and palpitations due to blockage of the Heart vessel by Phlegm; coma or dementia due to Phlegm confusing the Mind; mania due to Phlegm disturbing the Heart in combination with Fire; nausea, vomiting and epigastric distention due to Phlegm disturbing the descent of Stomach Qi; scrofula and numbness of the limbs or hemiplegia due to obstruction of Phlegm in the channels, bones and tendons; dizziness with blurring of vision due to an attack of Phlegm in the head; and globus hystericus, marked by the feeling of a foreign body obstructing the throat that cannot be swallowed or vomited, due to Phlegm interlocking with Qi in the throat, etc.

Generally speaking, Phlegm, as a substantial pathogen, has four characteristics when causing diseases. First, it tends to obstruct circulation of Qi and Blood, leading to distention and Blood Stasis. Secondly, it prevents Qi from ascending, descending, en- tering or exiting, leading to disturbance of Zangfu Organs. Thirdly, it affects water metabolism, leading to new retention of water in the body; and fourthly, it tends to disturb mental activities, as stagnation of Phlegm in the Heart often brings about disorders of mentality.

So what do you do with this? This is just food for thought to give you more of an eastern understanding of what and where phlegm comes from. TCM does not look at Cystic Fibrosis as CF, it looks at the body as having issues with water metabolism secondary to the LU, KD and SP. As I said, there are a lot of herbal decoctions that a local practitioner can make up for this 11 year old that would help to create harmony within these organs, as well as drain dampness and move stagnation. Hope this info helps.