High fever according to Chinese Medicine

High 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 high 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 high fever is often associated with feeling of heat, irritability and delirium in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/bright-yang-stomach-heat”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause high fever.

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

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause high fever

In Chinese Medicine high fever is a symptom for 4 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

Bright Yang Stomach Heat

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

In addition to high fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/bright-yang-stomach-heat include feeling of heat, irritability and delirium.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/bright-yang-stomach-heat is often treated with Bai Hu Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Gypsum - Shi Gao - as a key herb). Bai Hu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear qi-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Clears Qi-level Heat".

Read more about Bright Yang Stomach Heat here

Water Buffalo Horns (Shui Niu Jiao) is the king ingredient for Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-victorious-agitating-blood

Heat victorious agitating Blood

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to high fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-victorious-agitating-blood include manic behavior, vomiting of blood and epistaxis.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-victorious-agitating-blood is often treated with Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Water Buffalo Horns - Shui Niu Jiao - as a key herb). Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear nutritive-level heat", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system".

Read more about Heat victorious agitating Blood here

Saiga Antelope's Horns (Ling Yang Jiao) is the king ingredient for Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-victorious-stirring-wind

Heat victorious stirring Wind

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to high fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-victorious-stirring-wind include fainting, convulsions and opisthotonos.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/heat-victorious-stirring-wind is often treated with Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Saiga Antelope's Horns - Ling Yang Jiao - as a key herb). Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Cools the Liver".

Read more about Heat victorious stirring Wind here

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

Lung Heat

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

In addition to high fever, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-heat include feeling of heat and shortness of breath.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/lung-heat is often treated with Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang 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: "Invigorates Lung Qi".

Read more about Lung Heat here

Five herbal formulas that might help with high fever

Bai Hu Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Clears Qi-level Heat. Drains Stomach Fire. Generates fluids. Alleviates thirst.

Why might Bai Hu Tang help with high fever?

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

Read more about Bai Hu Tang here

Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang

Source date: 650 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Treats severe fevers and Heat in the Blood system. Removes Blood Stagnation.

Why might Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang help with high fever?

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

Read more about Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang here

Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang

Source date: Qing dynasty

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Cools the Liver. Extinguishes Wind. Increases Fluids. Relaxes the sinews.

Why might Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang help with high fever?

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

Read more about Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang here

Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Lung Qi. Clears Heat. Calms wheezing by directing rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang help with high fever?

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

Read more about Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang here

Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan

Source date: 1584 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Heat. Transforms Phlegm. Directs Rebellious Qi downwards. Stops coughing.

Why might Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan help with high fever?

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

Read more about Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan here

Acupuncture points used for high fever

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat high fever

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with high fever?

Because it is a key herb in Bai Hu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Bright Yang Stomach Heat' (a pattern with high fever as a symptom)

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 Gypsum (Shi Gao) help with high fever?

Because it is a key herb in Bai Hu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Bright Yang Stomach Heat' (a pattern with high fever as a symptom)

Gypsum is a Cold herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Lung and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Clears Heat and drains Fire. Clears Lung Heat. Relieves thirst and restlessness. Clears Stomach Heat.

Read more about Gypsum here

Why might Water Buffalo Horn (Shui Niu Jiao) help with high fever?

Because it is a key herb in Xi Jiao Di Huang Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Heat victorious agitating Blood' (a pattern with high fever as a symptom)

Water Buffalo Horns is a Cold herb that tastes Bitter and Salty. It targets the Stomach, the Heart and the Liver.

Its main actions are: Cools the Blood, drains Fire and stops reckless movement of Blood. Clears Heat and Fire and stops tremors and convulsions. Cools Fire and expels toxins.

Read more about Water Buffalo Horns here

Why might Rice Sprout (Jing Mi) help with high fever?

Because it is a key herb in Bai Hu Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Bright Yang Stomach Heat' (a pattern with high fever as a symptom)

Rice Sprouts is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Replenishes Qi and tonifies the Spleen and Stomach. Eliminates thirst. Stops diarrhea.

Read more about Rice Sprouts here

Why might Rhubarb (Da Huang) help with high fever?

Because it is a key herb in Tiao Wei Cheng Qi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern '' (a pattern with high fever 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 Bright Yang stage according to the Six Stages Theory. 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