Desire for cold drinks according to Chinese Medicine

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Desire for cold drinks 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 desire for cold drinks 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 desire for cold drinks is often associated with dry stools, mouth ulcers and bleeding gums in the pattern “Stomach Heat or Fire”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause desire for cold drinks.

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

We’ve also selected below the three medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat desire for cold drinks.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause desire for cold drinks

In Chinese Medicine desire for cold drinks 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 Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine

Stomach Heat or Fire

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Slippery (Hua), Full (Shi)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

Tongue color: Red centre

Stomach Fire indicates a true Excess of Heat in the Stomach, creating symptoms such as mouth ulcers, bad breath, intense thirst and gum bleeding. Stomach Fire can be the result of excessive intake of hot, spicy, greasy and deep fried foods or other factors such as alcohol, tobacco and sugar.

In addition to desire for cold drinks, other symptoms associated with Stomach Heat or Fire include dry stools, mouth ulcers and bleeding gums.

Stomach Heat or Fire is often treated with Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 3 herbs (including Rhubarb - Da Huang - as a key herb). Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that purge heat accumulation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Removes Heat and Dryness in the Lower Burner".

Read more about Stomach Heat or Fire here

The Small Intestine is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Small Intestine in Chinese Medicine

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu)

In addition to desire for cold drinks, other symptoms associated with Full-Heat in the Small Intestine include mouth ulcers, insomnia and tongue ulcers.

Full-Heat in the Small Intestine is often treated with Dao Chi San, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Akebia Stems - Mu Tong - as a key herb). Dao Chi San belongs to the category of "formulas that clear heat from the organs", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears the Heart".

Read more about Full-Heat in the Small Intestine here

Three herbal formulas that might help with desire for cold drinks

Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Removes Heat and Dryness in the Lower Burner. Removes constipation.

Why might Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang help with desire for cold drinks?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Heat or Fire' of which desire for cold drinks is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Heat Or Fire include dry stools, mouth ulcers and bleeding gums.

Read more about Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang here

Dao Chi San

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears the Heart. Promotes urination.

Why might Dao Chi San help with desire for cold drinks?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Full-Heat in the Small Intestine' of which desire for cold drinks is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Full-Heat In The Small Intestine include mouth ulcers, insomnia and tongue ulcers.

Read more about Dao Chi San here

Qing Wei San

Source date: 1336 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Stomach Fire. Cools the Blood. Nourishes the Yin.

Why might Qing Wei San help with desire for cold drinks?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Heat or Fire' of which desire for cold drinks is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Heat Or Fire include dry stools, mouth ulcers and bleeding gums.

Read more about Qing Wei San here

The three Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat desire for cold drinks

Why might Goldthread Rhizome (Huang Lian) help with desire for cold drinks?

Because it is a key herb in Qing Wei San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Heat or Fire' (a pattern with desire for cold drinks as a symptom)

Goldthread Rhizomes is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Gallbladder, the Spleen, the Stomach, the Heart, the Large intestine and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Expels Damp-Heat especially in the Lower Burner. Eliminates Fire toxicity especially when there is associated Dampness. Acts as a sedative by eliminating Heart Fire. Eliminates Stomach Fire. Expel parasites

Read more about Goldthread Rhizomes here

Why might Rhubarb (Da Huang) help with desire for cold drinks?

Because it is a key herb in Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Heat or Fire' (a pattern with desire for cold drinks as a symptom)

Rhubarb is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach, the Large intestine, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Drains Excess Heat and eliminates Dampness, especially when in the Sunlight Yang stage. Cools the Blood and stops bleeding. Invigorates Blood, breaks up Stasis and relieves pain. Clears Heat and toxins from Excess. Applied topically for Hot sores and Blood Stasis.

Read more about Rhubarb here

Why might Akebia Stem (Mu Tong) help with desire for cold drinks?

Because it is a key herb in Dao Chi San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Full-Heat in the Small Intestine' (a pattern with desire for cold drinks as a symptom)

Akebia Stems is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Small intestine.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and clears Heat. Clears Heat and inflammation of the Heart. Promotes lactation. Moves and smoothes the flow of Blood. Used for painful obstruction associated with either Dampness, Blood Stagnation, Wind or Heat.

Read more about Akebia Stems here