Greater Yang Attack of Cold

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 太阳 伤寒      Pinyin name: Tài Yáng Shāng Hán

Pattern nature: Full

Causes

Precursor patterns: Bright Yang Stomach Heat Bright Yang Fire in Stomach and Intestines

Common causes: External pathogenic factor

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Sneezing Stiff neck Runny nose Slight fever Breathlessness and three other symptoms

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

Treatment

Treatment principle: Release the Exterior, expel Wind and Cold, restore the diffusing and descending of Lung Qi.

Common formulas: Ma Huang Tang

Pathology

This is one of the four patterns of the Greater Yang stage, the first stage of the Six Stages theory.

As opposed to Attack of Wind, another pattern of the Greater Yang stage, there is an emphasis on Cold rather than Wind. As such when a key symptom of Attack of Wind is the sweating, in this pattern there is no sweating. This is because Cold contracts the pores, which prevents sweating.

The slight fever is not necessarily an actual fever but more the hot feeling of the patient’s skin on palpation, what the Chinese call "heat emission" of the skin. 

The aversion to cold is due to the obstruction of the space between the skin and muscles by Wind: this impairs the circulation of Defensive Qi which cannot fulfill its function of warming the muscles.

The occipital headache and stiff neck are caused by the obstruction of Qi in the Greater Yang channels of Small Intestine and Gallbladder. These channels pass through the neck and head, hence the symptoms.

The runny nose as well as breathlessness is because of Rebellious Qi of the Lungs.

Causes

Precursor patterns: Greater Yang Attack of Cold can derive from Bright Yang Stomach Heat Bright Yang Fire in Stomach and Intestines

External pathogenic factor: The main cause of this pattern is when an external pathogen, typically Wind-Cold, has invaded the Exterior

Diagnosing Greater Yang Attack of Cold

Treating Greater Yang Attack of Cold

Treatment principle

Release the Exterior, expel Wind and Cold, restore the diffusing and descending of Lung Qi.

Herbal formulas used to treat Greater Yang Attack of Cold

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 Greater Yang Attack of Cold, Ma Huang Tang is also used to treat Wind-Cold invading the Lungs or Exterior-Cold.

Read more about Ma Huang Tang