Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

Home > Patterns of disharmony > Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 阴虚火旺

Pinyin name: Yīn Xū Huǒ Wàng

Associated TCM concepts: Heat pattern Yin Deficiency Yin Deficiency / Empty

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Thirst Anxiety Fatigue Insomnia Tinnitus and eighteen other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Red tongue with no coating

Yin Deficiency involves the excessive consumption of Body Fluids, Essence and Blood. The main cause is overwork, which usually develops very gradually and slowly over several years. The only exception to a rapid Yin Deficiency is when Pathological Heat consumes Body Fluids and Yin very fast. 

If Yin Deficiency persists for a long time, like many years, it eventually leads to the development of Interior Heat of an Empty nature. The Heat occurs due to lack of Yin rather than Yang Excess, which is the precursor of Full-Heat. Both patterns have Heat features, but in different way. The Full-Heat manifestation exists all the time and is easy to be seem. The Empty-Heat's symptoms are comparatively less strong, like body heat but mostly in palms and soles, mild feeling of heat but only in the afternoon or evening, a dry mouth and desire to drink but only in small sips, red face but only malar flush, fever but only low-grade in the afternoon. 

As for mental related symptoms, Empty-Heat just causes some mild restlessness which gets worse in the afternoon or evening. However, Full-Heat gives rise to severe mental restlessness, agitation, anxiety, insomnia with agitated sleep. Full-Heat happens more for acute diseases while Empty type is more chronic. Also, Empty-Heat is more comment among women, especially the elderly or these with weak constitution. 

Please be aware that Empty-Heat does not necessarily always happen with Yin Deficiency. Tongue color is also an important indicator. Yin Deficiency manifests on the tongue with a lack of coating. A tongue without coating but of a normal colour reflects Yin Deficiency (without Empty-Heat). A red tongue without coating indicates Yin Deficiency with Empty-Heat. 

Diagnosing Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

'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 Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency will tend to exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency might experience symptoms like restlnessness, anxiety, fidgeting and insomnia (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency

Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin and clears Heat.

Formula summary

Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Softshell Turtle Shells (Bie Jia) and Sweet Wormwood Herbs (Qing Hao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1798 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat from Deficiency.

Besides Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency, Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang is also used to treat Empty-Heat caused by Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Qing Hao Bie Jia Tang

Huang Lian E Jiao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Enriches the Yin. Causes Fire to descend. Eliminates irritability. Calms the spirit.

Formula summary

Huang Lian E Jiao Tang is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) and Donkey-Hide Gelatin (E Jiao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish the Heart and calm the Mind.

Besides Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency, Huang Lian E Jiao Tang is also used to treat Lesser Yin Heat Transformation.

Read more about Huang Lian E Jiao Tang

Diet recommendations

Avoid spicy, fat and hot foods. Avoiding sea foods. 

Most important herbs used to treat Empty-Heat or Fire caused by Yin Deficiency