At a glance

Preliminary reading: What is a pattern?

Key attributes

Chinese name: 寒湿      Pinyin name: Hán shī

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Cold

Common combinations: Wind-Cold-Damp invading with Qi Deficiency


Precursor patterns: Spleen Qi Deficiency

Common causes: 1. Diet, 2. External Cold and Damp


Common symptoms: Sneezing Diarrhea Runny nose Cold limbs Joints pain and six other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slippery (Hua), Slow (Chi), Soggy (Ru)

Tongue description: White coating


Treatment principle: Clear internal Cold Damp, strengthen the Spleen and the Stomach

Common formulas: Wei Ling Tang


Spleen Qi or Yang Deficiency is often the precursor of general Dampness in the body. It is because the Spleen is responsible for water or any Body Fluids transportation and transformation and its disfunction can lead to the formation of Dampness, which can eventually become Phlegm

If there is also Exterior Dampness and Cold invasion, it can combine with the internal Dampness and worsen the condition. It can eventually become Interior Cold-Damp. 

If the Damp-Cold invades the Channels and joints, it causes Painful Obstruction Syndrome with symptoms like joints pain, swollen or stiffness.  Notopterygium roots is recommended for upper body pain, while Pubescent angelica roots is the best for lower body. 

When the Damp-Cold settles down in Organs, it is better to use drying and warming herbs that can enter these Organs, such as Tangerine peel, Korean mint, Crow-dipper rhizome or Houpu Magnolia bark


Precursor patterns: Damp-Cold can derive from Spleen Qi Deficiency

Diet : Overconsumption of cold and raw foods can cause this pattern.

External Cold and Damp : Prolonged exposure to a cold and humid environment can cause this pattern. Some artificial Cold Damp spaces also counts such as air-conditioned or refrigerated storage spaces.

Diagnosing Damp-Cold

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), slippery (Hua), slow (Chi) or soggy (Ru)

Tongue description: White coating

Main symptoms: Sneezing Diarrhea Runny nose Cold limbs Joints pain Mouth ulcers Abdominal pain Feeling of cold White watery mucus Feeling of heaviness White and watery sputum

Diagnosis commentary: The key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the feeling of heaviness and cold limbs.

Treating Damp-Cold

Treatment principle

Clear internal Cold Damp, strengthen the Spleen and the Stomach 

Herbal formulas used to treat Damp-Cold

Wei Ling Tang

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Drains Dampness. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Formula summary

Wei Ling Tang is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that expel Dampness.

Besides Damp-Cold, Wei Ling Tang is also used to treat Damp-Phlegm in the Uterus.

Read more about Wei Ling Tang

Diet recommendations

Avoid cold or raw foods which can hurt the Spleen and Stomach further and worsen Damp Cold. 

Consequence patterns

Kidney Qi not Firm

The Kidney Qi and Kidney Yang can be injured due to Cold and Dampness in the body.