Half Exterior Half Interior

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 半表半里      Pinyin name: Bàn Biǎo Bàn Lǐ

Pattern nature: Full


Common symptoms: Anxiety Vomiting Dry cough Dizziness Restlnessness and four other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: Red tip with yellow and white coating


Treatment principle: Harmonize the Exterior and the Interior

Common formulas: Xiao Chai Hu Tang


The differentiation of Exterior and Interior is not made on the basis of what caused the condition, but on the basis of the location of the disease. The Exterior mainly refers to skin, muscles and channels, while the Interior refers to deeper levels such as internal Organs. 

When the Exterior patterns are not cured completely, the external Pernicious Influences can penetrate further into the Interior Organs. The Half Exterior and Half Interior pattern happens during this transforming stage. It explains the typical manifestation of cold and hot feeling rotation.

Any Lesser Yang diseases are half Exterior half Interior according to the Six Stages Theory. That the Evils has left the Great Yang Stage, but haven't enter the Yang Bright Stage. 

This pattern impairs the Gallbladder Channel function, hence the symptoms of chest fullness and distention as well as bitter taste in the mouth. 

It also causes Heat in the Gallbladder and disharmony between the Liver and Stomach, therefore the patients develops the symptoms of restlessness, anxiety, feeling of vomiting, poor  appetite and dizziness.  

Diagnosing Half Exterior Half Interior

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue description: Red tip with yellow and white coating

Main symptoms: Anxiety Vomiting Dry cough Dizziness Restlnessness Poor appetite Chest fullness Blurred vision Bitter taste in the mouth

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the rotation of cold and hot sensation.

Treating Half Exterior Half Interior

Treatment principle

Harmonize the Exterior and the Interior 

Herbal formulas used to treat Half Exterior Half Interior

Xiao Chai Hu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Treats the Lesser Yang Channels (Gallbladder and Triple Warmer). Regulates the Liver and Spleen functions. Addresses combined Yin-Yang symptoms of External and Internal, Excess and Deficiency, and Hot and Cold.

Formula summary

Xiao Chai Hu Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize lesser Yang-warp disorders.

Besides Half Exterior Half Interior, Xiao Chai Hu Tang is also used to treat Phlegm-Fluids in the Stomach and Small intestine or Lesser Yang stage.

Read more about Xiao Chai Hu Tang