Cold sensation according to Chinese Medicine

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Cold sensation 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 cold sensation 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 cold sensation is often associated with impotence, lower back pain and spermatorrhea in the pattern “Kidney Yang Deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause cold sensation.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of cold sensation we’ve identified three 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 cold sensation.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause cold sensation

In Chinese Medicine cold sensation is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

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

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to cold sensation, other symptoms associated with Kidney Yang Deficiency include impotence, lower back pain and spermatorrhea.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Kidney Yang Deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

Kidney Yang Deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

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

Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo)

In addition to cold sensation, other symptoms associated with Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency include impotence, lower back pain and cold and weak knees.

Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency is often treated with Li Zhong Wan, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Dried Ginger - Gan Jiang - as a key herb). Li Zhong Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the Middle Burner".

Read more about Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency here

Three herbal formulas that might help with cold sensation

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Why might Ba Wei Di Huang Wan help with cold sensation?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which cold sensation is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include impotence, lower back pain and spermatorrhea.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan here

Li Zhong Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Middle Burner. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Why might Li Zhong Wan help with cold sensation?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency' of which cold sensation is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney And Spleen Yang Deficiency include impotence, lower back pain and cold and weak knees.

Read more about Li Zhong Wan here

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with cold sensation?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Kidney Yang Deficiency' of which cold sensation is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Kidney Yang Deficiency include impotence, lower back pain and spermatorrhea.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

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

Why might Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with cold sensation?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat cold sensation as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Prepared Rehmannia is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Tonifies the Yin of the Kidneys.

Read more about Prepared Rehmannia here

Why might Dong Quai (Dang Gui) help with cold sensation?

Because Dong Quai is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat cold sensation as a symptom, like Er Xian Tang or You Gui Wan for instance.

Dong Quai is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood. Lubricates the Intestines. Relieve constipation. Promotes circulation and dispels Bi Pain. Reduce Dysmenorrhea and help with irregular menstruation.

Read more about Dong Quai here

Why might Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) help with cold sensation?

Because Mudan Peony Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat cold sensation as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Mudan Peony Bark is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, activates Blood circulation and resolves Blood stasis.

Read more about Mudan Peony Bark here

Why might Cornelian Cherry (Shan Zhu Yu) help with cold sensation?

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat cold sensation as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Cornelian Cherries is a Warm herb that tastes Sour. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Preserves and tonifies the Kidney, Liver and Essence. Stops sweating and benefits the Yang and Qi. Assists menstruation and stops bleeding.

Read more about Cornelian Cherries here

Why might Yam (Shan Yao) help with cold sensation?

Because Yam is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat cold sensation as a symptom, like Ba Wei Di Huang Wan or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Yam is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Tonifies the Lung Qi and nourishes the Lung Yin. Nourishes the Kidneys and consolidates Jing.

Read more about Yam here