Fever according to Chinese Medicine

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Fever 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 fever 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 fever is often associated with headaches, dizziness and irritability in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/yin-deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record five patterns that can cause fever.

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

The five "patterns of disharmony" that can cause fever

In Chinese Medicine fever 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.

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the king ingredient for Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/yin-deficiency

Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Red

In the case of Yin Deficiency, the body is short in the cooling, moistening and nurturing aspects. This leads to Heat and Dryness accompanied by weakness and lack of strength and resistance. Yin becomes Deficient by over-working, lack of sleep, over-exercising, overindulgence in sex, long-term chronic diseases, internal injury due to the seven emotions, and the over-eating of dry and hot-natured foods.

In addition to fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/yin-deficiency include headaches, dizziness and irritability.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/yin-deficiency is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu 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: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Yin Deficiency here

Korean Mint (Huo Xiang) is the king ingredient for Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat

Damp-Heat

Pulse type(s): Soggy (Ru)

In addition to fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat include aversion to cold, headaches and dizziness.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat is associated with health issues such as Menstrual Cramps, Intermenstrual Bleeding or Abnormal Vaginal Discharge.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat is often treated with Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Korean Mint - Huo Xiang - as a key herb). Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San belongs to the category of "formulas that transform dampness and harmonize stomach", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Damp-Heat here

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

Liver Qi Stagnation

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue color: Normal (light red)

When Liver Qi does not flow smoothly or regularly, it becomes Stagnant and in Excess. This leads to Heat accumulating in the Liver. The feeling of ‘Distension’ (zhang 胀) is the main symptom of Liver Qi Stagnation.

In addition to fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-qi-stagnation include headaches, constipation and irritability.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-qi-stagnation is associated with health issues such as Low Breast Milk Supply, Mastitis or Breast Engorgement.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-qi-stagnation is often treated with Xiao Yao San, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Bupleurum Roots - Chai Hu - as a key herb). Xiao Yao San belongs to the category of "formulas that harmonize liver-spleen", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen".

Read more about Liver Qi Stagnation here

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

Kidney Yin Deficiency

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

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Cracked

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can be caused by prolonged overwork, excessive sexual activity, chronic long term illnesses, consumption of Body Fluids by Heat, prolonged blood loss, overdosage of Kidney Yang tonics herbs, smoking and Kidney depleting foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, and fruit juices.

In addition to fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yin-deficiency include dizziness, constipation and irritability.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yin-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Menopausal Syndrome, Prolonged Periods or Irregular Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yin-deficiency is often treated with Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Liu 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: "Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system)".

Read more about Kidney Yin Deficiency here

Honeysuckle Flowers (Jin Yin Hua) is the king ingredient for Yin Qiao San, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/exterior-heat

Exterior-Heat

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

In addition to fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/exterior-heat include aversion to cold, headaches and body aches.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/exterior-heat is often treated with Yin Qiao San, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Honeysuckle Flowers - Jin Yin Hua - as a key herb). Yin Qiao San belongs to the category of "external formulas for external disorders", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Disperses Wind Heat".

Read more about Exterior-Heat here

Five herbal formulas that might help with fever

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Why might Liu Wei Di Huang Wan help with fever?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/yin-deficiency' of which low-grade fever in the afternoon is a symptom.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan here

Yin Chen Hao Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 3 herbs

Key actions: Clears heat. Resolves dampness. Reduces jaundice.

Why might Yin Chen Hao Tang help with fever?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/damp-heat' of which fever is a symptom.

Read more about Yin Chen Hao Tang here

Xiao Yao San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.

Why might Xiao Yao San help with fever?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/liver-qi-stagnation' of which fever is a symptom.

Read more about Xiao Yao San here

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1584 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yin. Drains Fire.

Why might Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan help with fever?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yin-deficiency' of which low-grade fever in the afternoon is a symptom.

Read more about Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan here

Yin Qiao San

Source date: 1798 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Disperses Wind Heat. Clears Heat. Resolves Toxicity.

Why might Yin Qiao San help with fever?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/exterior-heat' of which fever is a symptom.

Read more about Yin Qiao San here

Acupuncture points used for fever

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat fever

Why might Dwarf Lilyturf Root (Mai Dong) help with fever?

Because Dwarf Lilyturf Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat fever as a symptom, like Mai Men Dong Tang or Yang Yin Qing Fei Tang for instance.

Dwarf Lilyturf Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Yin Essence and promotes secretions. Lubricates and nourishes the Stomach. Soothes the Lung. Nourishes the Heart.

Read more about Dwarf Lilyturf Roots here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with fever?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat fever as a symptom, like Mai Men Dong Tang or Bu Fei E Jiao Tang for instance.

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

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 Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di Huang) help with fever?

Because Prepared Rehmannia is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat fever as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Zuo Gui 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 Donkey-Hide Gelatin (E Jiao) help with fever?

Because Donkey-Hide Gelatin is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat fever as a symptom, like Bu Fei E Jiao Tang or Qing Zao Jiu Fei Tang for instance.

Donkey-Hide Gelatin is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Kidney, the Liver and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Tonifies and nourishes Blood. Stops bleeding. Moistens and lubricates Yin.

Read more about Donkey-Hide Gelatin here

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

Because Cornelian Cherry is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat fever as a symptom, like Liu Wei Di Huang Wan or Zuo Gui 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