Aversion to cold according to Chinese Medicine

Home > Symptoms list > Aversion to cold

cold intolerance, fear of cold redirect here

Aversion to cold can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like aversion to cold here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here aversion to cold is often associated with shortness of breath, loose stools and coughing in the pattern “Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause aversion to cold.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of aversion to cold we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat aversion to cold.

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause aversion to cold

In Chinese Medicine aversion to cold is a symptom for 5 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

In addition to aversion to cold, other symptoms associated with Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency include shortness of breath, loose stools and coughing.

Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency is often treated with Si Jun Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ginseng - Ren Shen - as a key herb). Si Jun Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi".

Read more about Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency here

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs in Chinese Medicine

Wind-Cold invading the Lungs

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

Tongue shape: Partially swollen

In addition to aversion to cold, other symptoms associated with Wind-Cold invading the Lungs include fever, headaches and shortness of breath.

Wind-Cold invading the Lungs is often treated with Ma Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Ma Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases exterior cold".

Read more about Wind-Cold invading the Lungs here

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wu Ling San, a formula used for Greater Yang Accumulation of Water

Greater Yang Accumulation of Water

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Floating (Fu)

In addition to aversion to cold, other symptoms associated with Greater Yang Accumulation of Water include fever, urinary retention and vomiting of fluids soon after drinking.

Greater Yang Accumulation of Water is often treated with Wu Ling San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wu Ling San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination,".

Read more about Greater Yang Accumulation of Water here

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Ma Huang Tang, a formula used for Exterior-Cold

Exterior-Cold

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

In addition to aversion to cold, other symptoms associated with Exterior-Cold include fever, loose stools and chills.

Exterior-Cold is often treated with Ma Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Ma Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases exterior cold".

Read more about Exterior-Cold here

Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) is the king ingredient for Fu Zi Tang, a formula used for Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp

Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Deep (Chen), Minute (Wei), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

In addition to aversion to cold, other symptoms associated with Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp include generalized body pain, cold extremities and aching bones and joints.

Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp is often treated with Fu Zi Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Prepared Aconite - Zhi Fu Zi - as a key herb). Fu Zi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm and transform water and dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the Meridians".

Read more about Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp here

Five herbal formulas that might help with aversion to cold

Si Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Si Jun Zi Tang help with aversion to cold?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency' of which aversion to cold is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Spleen And Lung Qi Deficiency include shortness of breath, loose stools and coughing.

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang here

Ma Huang Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Releases exterior cold. Treats wheezing.

Why might Ma Huang Tang help with aversion to cold?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Cold invading the Lungs' of which aversion to cold is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Cold Invading The Lungs include fever, headaches and shortness of breath.

Read more about Ma Huang Tang here

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Why might Wu Ling San help with aversion to cold?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Greater Yang Accumulation of Water' of which aversion to cold is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Greater Yang Accumulation Of Water include fever, urinary retention and vomiting of fluids soon after drinking.

Read more about Wu Ling San here

Gui Zhi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Releases pathogens from the muscle layer. Regulates the Nutritive and Protective Qi.

Why might Gui Zhi Tang help with aversion to cold?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Exterior-Cold' of which aversion to cold is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Exterior-Cold include fever, loose stools and chills.

Read more about Gui Zhi Tang here

Fu Zi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Meridians. Assists the Yang. Dispels Cold. Transforms Dampness.

Why might Fu Zi Tang help with aversion to cold?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Yang Deficiency with Cold-Damp' of which aversion to cold is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Yang Deficiency With Cold-Damp include generalized body pain, cold extremities and aching bones and joints.

Read more about Fu Zi Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat aversion to cold

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with aversion to cold?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aversion to cold as a symptom, like Si Jun Zi Tang or Ma Huang Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with aversion to cold?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aversion to cold as a symptom, like Wu Ling San or Si Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with aversion to cold?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aversion to cold as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Tang or Ma Huang Tang for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with aversion to cold?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aversion to cold as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Tang or Ge Gen Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Why might Ginseng (Ren Shen) help with aversion to cold?

Because Ginseng is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat aversion to cold as a symptom, like Si Jun Zi Tang or Liu Jun Zi Tang for instance.

Ginseng is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Very strongly tonifies the Qi. Tonifies the Lungs and Spleen. Assists the body in the secretion of Fluids and stops thirst. Strengthens the Heart and calms the Shen (mind/spirit).

Read more about Ginseng here