Damp-Heat

Pattern factsheet

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Fever Thirst Fatigue Dry mouth Dizziness and thirty two other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Damp-Heat is a pattern of disharmony in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine views the human body as a complex system that tends toward harmony. A pattern of disharmony is a disorder that prevents that harmony from occurring.

Patterns give rise to symptoms that may at first glance seem unrelated from a Western standpoint but that actually make a lot of sense when one understands Chinese Medicine theory. For instance here Damp-Heat gives rise to such diverse symptoms as abdominal fullness, abdominal tightness, purplish menstrual blood and thick menstrual blood (as well as thirty three others).

To diagnose a pattern, analyzing a patient's pulse as well as their tongue is common practice. In the case of Damp-Heat patients tend to exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a red tongue with sticky coating, yellow coating.

Patterns aren't exactly the Chinese Medicine equivalent to Western diseases, they're rather the underlying causes behind diseases or health conditions. Here Damp-Heat is thought to sometimes induce conditions such as abnormal vaginal discharge, intermenstrual bleeding or menstrual cramps.

Diagnosing Damp-Heat

'Heat' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Heat pattern in Chinese Medicine

Diagnosing a pattern in Chinese Medicine is no easy feat and should be left to professional practitioners.

In particular one has to know how to differentiate between different types of pulses and tongue coatings, shapes and colors. Here patients with Damp-Heat will tend to exhibit rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua) pulses as well as a red tongue with sticky coating, yellow coating.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Damp-Heat might experience symptoms like abdominal fullness, abdominal tightness, purplish menstrual blood and thick menstrual blood (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Damp-Heat

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Formula summary

Xiao Yao San is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize Liver-Spleen.

Besides Damp-Heat, Xiao Yao San is also used to treat Liver Blood Stagnation or Liver Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Xiao Yao San

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Formula summary

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1682 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat from the Organs.

Besides Damp-Heat, Long Dan Xie Gan Tang is also used to treat Damp Heat in the Liver or Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Yi Huang Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Strengthens the Spleen. Dries Dampness. Clears Heat. Stops vaginal discharge.

Formula summary

Yi Huang Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Yam (Shan Yao) and Foxnut Seeds (Qian Shi) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1826 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that secure irregular uterine bleeding and stop vaginal discharge.

Besides Damp-Heat, Yi Huang Tang is also used to treat Spleen Yang Deficiency or Spleen Deficiency.

Read more about Yi Huang Tang

Er Miao San

Source date: 1481 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Expels Dampness from the Lower Burner. Drains Heat from the Lower Burner.

Formula summary

Er Miao San is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1481 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that expel Dampness.

Besides Damp-Heat, Er Miao San is also used to treat Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner.

Read more about Er Miao San

Ba Zheng San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 9 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire. Promotes urination. Unblocks painful urinary dribbling.

Formula summary

Ba Zheng San is a 9-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai) and Knotgrass (Bian Xu) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness.

Besides Damp-Heat, Ba Zheng San is also used to treat Damp-Heat in the Lower Burner.

Read more about Ba Zheng San

Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang

Source date: 1576 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Expel Dampness. Relieve pain. Move Qi and Blood.

Formula summary

Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) and Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1576 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness.

Read more about Qing Re Tiao Xue Tang

Special highlight: the link between menstrual cramps and Damp-Heat

Phellodendron Bark (Huang Bo) is the key herb for Er Miao San, a formula used for menstrual cramps caused by Damp-Heat

When Damp-Heat causes menstrual cramps a feeling of lower abdominal tightness, distention, and cramps appears and gets stronger when the period is about to start. The discomfort lasts until the middle of the periods. The menstrual flow is often heavy and the blood is purplish in color and thick in texture. Other typical symptom can be an excessive smelly yellow vaginal discharge outside of menstruation times.

When patients have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic vaginitis,...Read more about menstrual cramps

Special highlight: the link between intermenstrual bleeding and Damp-Heat

Chinese Pink Herbs (Qu Mai) is the key herb for Ba Zheng San, a formula used for intermenstrual bleeding caused by Damp-Heat

Typical symptoms for intermenstrual bleeding caused by Damp-Heat: Fatigue Joint pain Poor appetite Chest pressure Vaginal discharge Scanty and dark urine

Recommended herbal formula: Ba Zheng San

Mid-cycle bleeding under this pattern can be recognized by the sticky texture of the blood, without clots. Blood volume can be scanty or heavy. 

The Spleen is the main Organ involved. When the Spleen is weak, it fails to perform properly its function of transforming and transporting Body Fluids. Therefore Dampness accumulates and it also create Heat or Fire. The Damp Heat not only harms the Directing and Penetrating Vessels but also provokes the Blood and cause bleeding during mid-cycle. The Read more about intermenstrual bleeding