Heat in the Blood

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 血热

Pinyin name: Xuè Rè

Associated TCM concepts: Heat pattern Blood

Related conditions: Boils Uremia Hepatitis and eight other conditions

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Fever Thirst Eczema Anxiety Itching and thirty six other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue color: Red

The most common cause of Heat in the Blood is a Heat Pernicious Influence that has invaded the body and agitates the Blood. This results in accelerated blood flow which manifests itself in a rapid pulse, expanded and damaged Blood vessels and often heavy bleeding. The Blood will be fresh red or dark colored. 

Note that bleeding episodes aren't always a sign of Blood Heat: it can also be caused by the Qi unable to hold the Blood in its pathways. The Blood will be pale in this case, with prolonged bleeding and heavy loss of Blood.

Blood Stagnation can also cause Heat in the Blood and consequent bleeding. The Blood in this case will be very dark colored with clots.

As usual the symptoms differ somewhat based on which Organs are affected. The most commonly affected Organs for Heat in the Blood are the Heart, the Liver, the Uterus and the Intestines

If the Heart is affected by Heat in the Blood, this will result in a range of emotional symptoms since Heart houses the Mind (Shen). In that case patients will feel anxious, restless and may suffer from insomnia.

If the Liver is most affected by Blood Heat, then symptoms will tend to be skin-related: patients will feel itchiness and will see read skin eruptions appear.

If Blood Heat affects the Uterus, patients may suffer exceedingly heavy periods.

Lastly if Blood Heat affects the Intestines, there will be Blood in the stools.

Related conditions

Heavy menstruation Abnormal uterine bleeding Early menstruation Hepatitis Allergic purpura Acute leukemia Uremia Hepatic coma Septicemia Boils Acute hemorrhages

Diagnosing Heat in the Blood

Blood (Xue) is one of Chinese Medicine's vital subtances. Learn more about Blood 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 Heat in the Blood will tend to exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses as well as a red tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Heat in the Blood might experience symptoms like frequent bleeding episodes, fever, feeling of heat and red skin eruptions (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Heat in the Blood

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat and Fire from the Liver and Gallbladder. Clears and drains Damp-Heat from the Lower Burner.

Formula summary

Long Dan Xie Gan Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Chinese Gentian (Long Dan Cao) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1682 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat from the Organs.

Besides Heat in the Blood, Long Dan Xie Gan Tang is also used to treat Damp Heat in the Liver or Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire.

Read more about Long Dan Xie Gan Tang

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Source date: Ming dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver and Spleen Qi Stagnation. Tonifies Spleen. Clears Deficient Heat. Nourishes the blood.

Formula summary

Jia Wei Xiao Yao San is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) as a principal ingredient. Invented in Ming dynasty, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize Liver-Spleen.

Besides Heat in the Blood, Jia Wei Xiao Yao San is also used to treat Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire or Liver Qi Stagnation.

Read more about Jia Wei Xiao Yao San

Liang Di Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin. Cools Blood. Stop bleeding.

Formula summary

Liang Di Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1826 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Heat in the Blood, Liang Di Tang is also used to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency or Kidney Deficiency.

Read more about Liang Di Tang

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Formula summary

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 650 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear nutritive-level Heat.

Besides Heat in the Blood, Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang is also used to treat Excess-Heat.

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Qing Jing San

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Clears Blood-Heat. Stops bleeding.

Formula summary

Qing Jing San is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Goji Tree Root Bark (Di Gu Pi) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1826 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Blood-Heat.

Read more about Qing Jing San

Di Gu Pi Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Stops bleeding.

Formula summary

Di Gu Pi Yin is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Goji Tree Root Bark (Di Gu Pi) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1742 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Read more about Di Gu Pi Yin

Huai Jiao Wan

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat from the Intestines. Stops bleeding. Disperses wind. Regulates Qi.

Formula summary

Huai Jiao Wan is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Pagoda Tree Pods (Huai jiao) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that stop bleeding.

Read more about Huai Jiao Wan

Special highlight: the link between early menstruation and Heat in the Blood

Goji Tree Root Bark (Di Gu Pi) is the key herb for Qing Jing San, a formula used for early menstruation caused by Heat in the Blood

When early menstruation is caused by Heat in the Blood, the excessive Heat agitates the Blood and it leaks out of the vessels and therefore, periods come before the right time. There are two types of Blood Heat: Full or Empty. 

Full Heat in Blood has two sub-patterns: external 'Heat/Fire Evil invasion' or 'Stagnant Liver Qi turning into Fire".

For the first one, living or working in a hot environment may accumulate Heat in the body. Also, excessive amount of hot-spicy foods or alcohol can also...Read more about early menstruation

Special highlight: the link between abnormal uterine bleeding and Heat in the Blood

Goji Tree Root Bark (Di Gu Pi) is the key herb for Qing Jing San, a formula used for abnormal uterine bleeding caused by Heat in the Blood

There are two types of Heat in the Blood that cause abnormal uterine bleeding: Full or Empty. Full Heat in the Blood often derives from Liver Fire or an external Heat Evil invasion, while the Empty type is mainly due to a prolonged lack of Yin which is a naturally cooling, its absence therefore leading to Heat.

The typical symptoms of the Full Heat type are heavy menstruations as well as a dark or bright red blood color. It can lead to sudden flooding before the periods and/or a trickling of...Read more about abnormal uterine bleeding