Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 风寒

Pinyin name: Fēng Hán

Associated TCM concepts: Wind Cold evil


Common symptoms: Fever Chills No sweat Sneezing Coughing and eleven other symptoms

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

Tongue description: Red tongue with thin white coating

This pattern is similar to Wind-Heat, but the Wind is combined with Cold rather than Heat. The shared symptoms are aversion to cold, sneezing, coughing, runny nose (with different mucus color), fever, occipital stiffness and ache. The different symptoms are the white watery mucus, no thirst, no sweating and no obvious changes on the tongue color. 

Both patterns make the patients feel chilly and dislike cold environment. It is because the Wind-Cold or Heat invasion disturbs the Defensive Qi circulation in the skin and muscles so that they can not be warmed properly. The Lungs are one of the first Organs to be affected by invasion of Wind-Cold.

For these patients in relatively good health, their Defensive Qi reacts strongly to the external Pernicious Influence Cold by closing the skin pores. Therefore there is no sweating and the pulse is Tight. According to the theory of Cold attack of the Greater Yang stage within the Six Stages, this is a Exterior-Full Pattern. 

If it is rather the Wind that predominates instead of the Cold, it indicates the Wind attack pattern of the Greater Yang stage within the Six Stages. Then the pores are open and the patients sweat slightly. The pulse is rather Slow instead of Tight mentioned above. It is an Exterior-Empty pattern. Patients who are in relatively poor heath with weaker Defensive Qi are prone to be in this condition. 

Wind-Cold can also invades and settles down in Channels, joints and muscles and cause Painful Obstruction Syndrome or so called Bi Syndrome. 

Diagnosing Wind-Cold

'Cold' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Cold pattern in Chinese Medicine

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin) or floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Red tongue with thin white coating

Possible symptoms: Fever Chills No sweat Sneezing Coughing Headaches No thirst Body aches Runny nose Sore throat Itchy throat Blocked nose Aversion to cold White watery mucus Occipital headaches Occipital stiffness

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 Wind-Cold will tend to exhibit tight (Jin) or floating (Fu) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Wind-Cold might experience symptoms like body aches, headaches, chills and itchy throat (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Wind-Cold

Jing Fang Bai Du San

Source date: 1550 AD

Number of ingredients: 13 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Dispels Wind and Dampness. Augments Qi.

Formula summary

Jing Fang Bai Du San is a 13-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Japanese Catnip (Jing Jie), Saposhnikovia Roots (Fang Feng), Notopterygium Roots (Qiang Huo) and Pubescent Angelica Roots (Du Huo) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1550 AD, it belongs to the category of external formulas for External disorders.

Read more about Jing Fang Bai Du San

Most important herbs used to treat Wind-Cold