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Plum Pit Qi and Qi Stagnation
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
The feeling of an obstruction in the throat (when there's not an actual physical obstruction) is called Plum Pit Qi and is associated with Qi Stagnation (Liver Qi in particular). Emotions such as sadness or frustration can produce a lump in the throat or Plum Pit Qi.

Plum Pit Qi is first mentioned in Chinese literature in the Jingui Laoyue, a treatise composed at the end of the Han Dynasty (ca. 220 A.D.). The text addresses miscellaneous disorders, mostly those suffered by women. It includes this brief statement: "A woman who feels as if a piece of broiled meat is stuck in her throat should take Banxia Houpu Tang (Pinellia and Magnolia Combination)."

The Chinese later described the sensation as that of a plum pit caught in the throat. The plum commonly used in China and Japan, known by the local names wume and umeboshi respectively, has a small pit that can become lodged in the throat; it has rough edges that contribute to the sensation being described. The syndrome is called " Plum Pit Qi" (meihe qi), indicating that bound-up Qi feels like a plum pit. Its cause was attributed to the emotions coupled with stagnation of phlegm.
 

For more information see our article on Liver Qi Stagnation.