Heart Fire blazing

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 心火亢盛      Pinyin name: Xīn Huǒ Kàng Shèng

Pattern nature: Full

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Heat and Fire

Causes

Precursor patterns: Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire Liver Fire Blazing Full-Heat in the Small Intestine

Common causes: 1. Emotional stess, 2. Diet

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Thirst Anxiety Insomnia Red face Dark Urine and seven other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Full (Shi), Hasty (Cu)

Tongue description: Red tongue with redder tip and swollen red points, yellow coasting and tongue ulcers. There may be a midline crack reaching to the tip.

Treatment

Treatment principle: Drain the Fire, clear the Heart and calm the Mind.

Common formulas: Xie Xin Tang

Pathology

Different from Heart Yin Deficiency which is an Empty-Heat pattern, the Heart Fire blazing here is a Full-Heat one. The typical manifestation of Full-Heat are thirst, red face, feeling of heat, red tongue and Rapid Overflowing or Hasty Pulse. 

The Heart opens to the tongue, therefore Heart Fire give rise to mouth and tongue ulcers, which usually causes a lot of pain. These ulcers normally have a red raised rim. The rim color will be rather white if they are caused by Empty-Heat of Heart Yin Deficiency. 

Full Heat in the Heart can also cause bitter taste in the mouth as the Heart governs taste. The symptom happens only when the patients have had a bad sleep the night before. It is different from the bad taste caused by Liver Fire, which occurs every day. 

The entire face appears to be red, as apposed to only the cheekbones are red (malar flush) in the case of Empty-Heat of Heart Yin Deficiency. It is because the Full Heat goes upwards and manifests itself on the whole face. 

The Heart houses the Mind, which lose its residence in case of Heart Fire. Thus severe mental restlessness occurs. There are also insomnia as the Heart Fire disturbing the Mind at night. The patients may also wake up several times during the night with disturbed dreams. 

Causes

Precursor patterns: Heart Fire blazing can derive from Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire Liver Fire Blazing Full-Heat in the Small Intestine

Emotional stess : The Heart houses the Mind and it can feel the emotional stress such as chronic anxiety, constant worrying and depression. If these emotional problems last a long time, they lead to Qi Stagnation  As viscous circle, long term Qi Stagnation worsens mental depression. Both actions give rise to Fire as consequence.

Diet: This pattern can also be the result of overconsumption of 'high energy' foods such as spices, red meat or alcohol.

Diagnosing Heart Fire blazing

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), rapid (Shu), full (Shi) or hasty (Cu)

Tongue description: Red tongue with redder tip and swollen red points, yellow coasting and tongue ulcers. There may be a midline crack reaching to the tip.

Main symptoms: Thirst Anxiety Insomnia Red face Dark Urine Palpitations Mouth ulcers Bloody urine Tongue ulcers Restlnessness Feeling of heat Bitter taste in the mouth

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the red tongue with ulcers (with red rim around them), thirst and palpitations.

Treating Heart Fire blazing

Treatment principle

Drain the Fire, clear the Heart and calm the Mind. 

Herbal formulas used to treat Heart Fire blazing

Xie Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Drains Fire. Resolves Toxicity. Dries Dampness.

Formula summary

Xie Xin Tang is a 3-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat and resolve toxicity.

Besides Heart Fire blazing, Xie Xin Tang is also used to treat Pericardium Fire.

Read more about Xie Xin Tang

Diet recommendations

As for recommendation on food: No fruit or vegetable juices. No meat (especially red meat) or maximum 24 oz of meat per day for a couple of weeks. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nuts, avocados,  cheese, hot and greasy foods or any iced or cold drinks directly from the fridge. 

It is recommended to take some sort of martial arts as they helps consume excessive energy. 

Other therapies such as meditation or cupping cover the upper back is also recommended. 

Consequence patterns

Heart Yin Deficiency

Heart Yin Deficiency can be the consequence if Heart Fire lasts a long time without being treated properly. 

Stomach Fire or Heat

Heart Fire can have negative impact on the Stomach and cause Stomach Fire. It can also cause Spleen Heat as the Stomach and the Spleen are closely related. 

Full Heat in the Small Intestine

Heart Fire may lead to Full Heat in the Small Intestine as the Heart and Small Intestine are related within the Fire Element in the Five Phases theory.