Excessive sweating according to Chinese Medicine

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Excessive sweating 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 excessive sweating 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 excessive sweating is often associated with irritability, fever and diarrhea in the pattern “Summer Heat”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause excessive sweating.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of excessive sweating 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 excessive sweating.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause excessive sweating

In Chinese Medicine excessive sweating is a symptom for 3 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Talc (Hua Shi) is the king ingredient for Liu Yi San, a formula used for Summer Heat

Summer Heat

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Soggy (Ru)

Tongue coating: Yellow coating

In addition to excessive sweating, other symptoms associated with Summer Heat include irritability, fever and diarrhea.

Summer Heat is often treated with Liu Yi San, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Talc - Hua Shi - as a key herb). Liu Yi San belongs to the category of "formulas that dispel summer-heat and facilitate resolution of dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Summer-Heat".

Read more about Summer Heat here

Stephania Roots (Fang Ji) is the king ingredient for Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a formula used for Wind-Damp

Wind-Damp

Pulse type(s): Floating (Fu)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue color: Pale

In addition to excessive sweating, other symptoms associated with Wind-Damp include general sensation of heaviness and edema.

Wind-Damp is often treated with Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Stephania Roots - Fang Ji - as a key herb). Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang 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: "Diuretic, clears Excess fluid and removes edema".

Read more about Wind-Damp here

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

Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang

In addition to excessive sweating, other symptoms associated with Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang include irritability, night sweats and menopausal symptoms.

From a Western Medicine standpoint Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang is associated with health issues such as Menopausal Syndrome.

Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang is often treated with Er Xian Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Curculigo Rhizomes - Xian Mao - as a key herb). Er Xian Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify yin and yang", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys".

Read more about Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang here

Three herbal formulas that might help with excessive sweating

Liu Yi San

Source date: 1172 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Clears Summer-Heat. Drains Dampness. Supplements Qi.

Why might Liu Yi San help with excessive sweating?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Summer Heat' of which excessive sweating is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Summer Heat include irritability, fever and diarrhea.

Read more about Liu Yi San here

Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Diuretic, clears Excess fluid and removes edema. Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Calms External Wind.

Why might Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang help with excessive sweating?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind-Damp' of which excessive sweating is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind-Damp include general sensation of heaviness and edema.

Read more about Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang here

Er Xian Tang

Source date: 1950 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin and tonifies Yang of the Kidneys. Clears Empty Heat. Regulates the Directing and Penetrating Vessels.

Why might Er Xian Tang help with excessive sweating?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang' of which excessive sweating is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Deficiency Of Both The Kidney Yin And Yang include irritability, night sweats and menopausal symptoms.

Read more about Er Xian Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat excessive sweating

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with excessive sweating?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat excessive sweating as a symptom, like Liu Yi San or Fang Ji Huang Qi 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 Epimedium Herb (Yin Yang Huo) help with excessive sweating?

Because it is a key herb in Er Xian Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Deficiency of both the Kidney Yin and Yang' (a pattern with excessive sweating as a symptom)

Epimedium Herbs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Kidney and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Kidney Yang. Expels Wind-Damp-Cold Bi Pain. Strengthens Lung Qi and assists in expectoration.

Read more about Epimedium Herbs here

Why might Stephania Root (Fang Ji) help with excessive sweating?

Because it is a key herb in Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Wind-Damp' (a pattern with excessive sweating as a symptom)

Stephania Roots is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter. It targets the Bladder and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination. Allays pain and dispels Wind-Damp painful obstruction (Bi Pain).

Read more about Stephania Roots here

Why might Talc (Hua Shi) help with excessive sweating?

Because it is a key herb in Liu Yi San, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Summer Heat' (a pattern with excessive sweating as a symptom)

Talc is a Cold herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Bladder and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination. Expels Damp-Heat from the Urinary Bladder. Dispels Summer Heat. Dries Dampness when applied topically.

Read more about Talc here

Why might Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi) help with excessive sweating?

Because it is a key herb in Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Wind-Damp' (a pattern with excessive sweating as a symptom)

Milkvetch Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Wei Qi and stops perspiration. Tonifies the Spleen Qi and the Yang Qi of the Earth Element. Tonifies the Qi and Blood. Expels pus and assists in the healing of wounds. Helps to regulate water metabolism in the body and reduce edema.

Read more about Milkvetch Roots here