Damp-Heat

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 湿热      Pinyin name: Shī Rè

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: General pattern with specific forms like Damp-Heat in the Liver or Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Fever Hot body Headaches No thirst Swollen neck glands and three other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

Tongue description: Red tongue with white sticky coating

Treatment

Treatment principle: Clear Dampness and Heat

Common formulas: Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San Lian Po Yin Yin Chen Hao Tang

Pathology

Within the Four-Levels theory, Damp-Heat is the first level of invasion of External Pathogens, when it still resides in the body's Exterior.

The general symptoms of Damp-Heat are the heaviness of the body and head as well as low temperature fever rising in the afternoon. The patients are not hot on the first touch, but the skin gets hot after a while if one leaves the hand on the body. Sweating doesn't alleviate the condition, contrary to some other externally-contracted diseases.  

Other symptoms vary depending on which parts of the body the Damp-Heat invades and settles down. If it is Damp-Heat invading the Stomach or the Spleen, then the patients experience symptoms like Stomach fullness, nausea, lose of appetite, loose stools or scanty urination. 

If the Damp-Heat invades the Liver and the Gallbladder, the typical manifestations are Cramps in the Liver area, bitter taste in the mouth, fever or aversion to cold. 

When the Damp-Heat is in the Bladder, it causes frequent, urgent and burning urination, fever, dry stools, as well as abdominal distension. There may also be blood and stones in the very dark urine. 

When it invades the Large Intestine, it gives rise to diarrhea, bloody stools, burning anus and thirst. 

Finally, if the Damp-Heat is in the Channels or joints, it causes joints pain, stiffness and swollen, aversion to cold, thirst and hot body. 

The treatment method of this pattern also varies. If the Dampness manifestations are more strong than the Heat, the priority is to expel Dampness. It is recommended to use formula such as San Ren Tang or Ping Wei San. If the Heat predominates, it is better to use Lian Po Yin, Yin Chen Hao Tang and Ge Geng Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang

Diagnosing Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

Tongue description: Red tongue with white sticky coating

Main symptoms: Fever Hot body Headaches No thirst Swollen neck glands Feeling of heaviness Sticky taste in the mouth Stifling sensation in the chest and epigastrium

Diagnosis commentary: The key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the feeling of heaviness on the head and the body, chest oppression as well as scanty yellow urination.

Treating Damp-Heat

Treatment principle

Clear Dampness and Heat 

Herbal formulas used to treat Damp-Heat

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Formula summary

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San is a 11-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that transform Dampness and harmonize Stomach.

Besides Damp-Heat, Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San is also used to treat Cold invading the Stomach or Rebellious Stomach Qi.

Read more about Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

Lian Po Yin

Source date: 1862 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Formula summary

Lian Po Yin is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1862 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness.

Besides Damp-Heat, Lian Po Yin is also used to treat Damp-Heat invading the Spleen or Damp-Heat in the Stomach.

Read more about Lian Po Yin

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.

Formula summary

Yin Chen Hao Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and expel dampness.

Besides Damp-Heat, Yin Chen Hao Tang is also used to treat Damp-Heat in the Liver or Damp-Heat in the Gallbladder.

Read more about Yin Chen Hao Tang

Diet recommendations

Avoiding overeating and any hot foods such as alcohol, dessert, sweat drink or juices. Avoiding smoking.  It is recommended to take the foods such as green bean, winter melon, loofah, water melon or green tea. 

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