Toxic Heat

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Pattern factsheet


Common symptoms: Boils Sores Thirst Erythema Swellings and ten other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red

Toxic Heat is a pattern of disharmony in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine views the human body as a complex system that tends toward harmony. A pattern of disharmony is a disorder that prevents that harmony from occurring.

Patterns give rise to symptoms that may at first glance seem unrelated from a Western standpoint but that actually make a lot of sense when one understands Chinese Medicine theory. For instance here Toxic Heat gives rise to such diverse symptoms as boils, carbuncles, erythema and swellings (as well as eleven others).

To diagnose a pattern, analyzing a patient's pulse as well as their tongue is common practice. In the case of Toxic Heat patients tend to exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Patterns aren't exactly the Chinese Medicine equivalent to Western diseases, they're rather the underlying causes behind diseases or health conditions. Here Toxic Heat is thought to sometimes induce conditions such as abnormal vaginal discharge, conjunctivitis or erysipelas (as well as eight others).

Related conditions

Abnormal vaginal discharge Conjunctivitis Erysipelas Appendicitis Urinary tract infection Multiple furuncles Carbuncles Cellulitis Bartholinitis Acute pyelonephritis Acute hepatitis

Diagnosing Toxic Heat

'Heat' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Heat pattern 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 Toxic Heat will tend to exhibit rapid (Shu) pulses as well as a red tongue with yellow coating.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Toxic Heat might experience symptoms like boils, carbuncles, erythema and swellings (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Toxic Heat

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity. Cools the Blood. Reduces swelling.

Formula summary

Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1742 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear external abscesses and sores.

Read more about Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin

Special highlight: the link between abnormal vaginal discharge and Toxic Heat

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the key herb for Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin, a formula used for abnormal vaginal discharge caused by Toxic Heat

If Damp Heat is not treated for a while, it can develop into Toxic Heat, which is a much more severe condition. 

Women affected by Toxic Heat There might have five different vaginal discharge colors: white, yellow, brown, green and red. The red color can be from the discharge itself or from Blood. The consistency is thick and sticky like pus. There is also strong foul smell. Urine color is dark or red.

The treatment principle is to clear Heat, resolve Toxins, resolve Dampness and stop...Read more about abnormal vaginal discharge

Most important herbs used to treat Toxic Heat