Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 湿热蕴脾      Pinyin name: Shī Rè Yùn Pí

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Damp-Heat


Precursor patterns: Spleen Qi Deficiency

Common causes: 1. Exterior hot and humid environment, 2. Diet


Common symptoms: Oily sweat Poor appetite Dull headache Feeling of heat Low-grade fever and twelve other symptoms

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

Tongue description: Red with sticky yellow coating


Treatment principle: Resolve Dampness, clear Heat

Common formulas: Lian Po Yin


This pattern is essentially the same as Cold-Damp invading the Spleen except that in this case there is Heat

Many of the symptoms are due to Dampness: the feeling of fullness and heaviness, the nausea, the sticky tongue coating and the Slippery pulse.

The symptoms that indicate Heat are the foul smell of the stools, the bitter taste in the mouth, the burning sensation of the anus and the scanty dark urine.

The low-grade fever is constant throughout the day, as opposed to low-grade fever from Yin Deficiency which only appears in the afternoon or early evening. It is caused by the combination of Damp-Heat.

The pattern as described here applies to relatively acute cases. In more chronic cases, some of the symptoms are often missing like the fever, the burning sensation of the anus and the dull-yellow complexion.


Precursor patterns: Damp-Heat invading the Spleen can derive from Spleen Qi Deficiency

Exterior hot and humid environment: More commonly the weather (e.g. in tropical summer for instance).

Diet: Prolonged and excessive intake of hot, greasy, fatty, fried or contaminated/unclean foods can cause this pattern. An excessive and prolonged intake of alcohol can also be a cause.

Diagnosing Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu) or slippery (Hua)

Tongue description: Red with sticky yellow coating

Main symptoms: Oily sweat Poor appetite Dull headache Feeling of heat Low-grade fever Nausea or vomiting Feeling of heaviness Scanty and dark urine Dull-yellow complexion Yellow sclera of the eyes Bitter taste in the mouth Loose stools with foul smell Burning sensation in the anus Itchy skin and skin eruptions Abdominal and epigastric pain Thirst without a desire to drink Abdominal and epigastric fullness

Diagnosis commentary: The main characteristic symptoms are the feeling of fullness of the epigastrium and/or the lower abdomen, the feeling of heaviness and the sticky yellow coating on the tongue. Abdominal fullness and a sticky yellow tongue coating are enough in and of themselves to diagnose Damp-Heat invading the Spleen.

Treating Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

Treatment principle

Resolve Dampness, clear Heat

Herbal formulas used to treat Damp-Heat invading the Spleen

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

Read more about Lian Po Yin

Diet recommendations

Avoid greasy, fatty or fried foods and alcohol; eat grains, legumes, vegetables and greens. Rest also abundantly. 

Consequence patterns


If left untreated Damp-Heat invading the Spleen can lead to Phlegm