At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 表实      Pinyin name: Biǎo Shí

Pattern nature: Full


Common causes: External Wind and Cold


Common symptoms: Fever No sweat Body aches Aversion to cold

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Thin white coating


Treatment principle: Warm the Exterior, expel Cold and Wind

Common formulas: Ma Huang Tang


An Exterior pattern, by definition, is a Full pattern, because it is characterized by the invasion of an external Pernicious Influence, which then fight with the Body's Defensive Qi. The battle of the two elements gives rise to 'fever', like how our immune system reacts to bacteria and virus according to Western Medicine. Please be aware that ‘Fever’ (发热 /Fa Re) here does not necessarily indicate an actual fever, but rather the patients' objective feeling of the heat. Aversion to cold often accompanies the fever symptom. 

When a person has a strong constitution, he or she is prone to have Full pattern. The Qi is relatively intact and it fights strongly against the external Evils, such as the Cold or Wind. The fight causes the severe body aches. The Qi constrains the skin pores, hence there is no sweat. The Pulse is Tight, while an Exterior-Empty pulse is rather Slow. 


External Wind and Cold : Exposure to windy and cold environment can cause this pattern.

Diagnosing Exterior-Full

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin) or floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Thin white coating

Main symptoms: Fever No sweat Body aches Aversion to cold

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the fever, aversion to cold and no sweat.

Treating Exterior-Full

Treatment principle

Warm the Exterior, expel Cold and Wind 

Herbal formulas used to treat Exterior-Full

Ma Huang Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Releases exterior cold. Treats wheezing.

Formula summary

Ma Huang Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Wind-Cold.

Besides Exterior-Full, Ma Huang Tang is also used to treat Wind-Cold invading the Lungs or Wind-Cold.

Read more about Ma Huang Tang