Lack of sweating according to Chinese Medicine

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Lack of 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 lack of 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 lack of sweating is often associated with chills, aversion to cold and fever in the pattern “Wind Cold invading the Lungs”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause lack of sweating.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of lack of sweating we’ve identified four herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the four medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat lack of sweating.

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

In Chinese Medicine lack of 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.

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

Wind Cold invading the Lungs

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

Tongue shape: Partially swollen

In addition to lack of sweating, other symptoms associated with Wind Cold invading the Lungs include chills, aversion to cold and fever.

Wind Cold invading the Lungs is often treated with Ma Huang Tang, a herbal formula made of 4 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Ma Huang Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases exterior cold".

Read more about Wind Cold invading the Lungs here

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Da Qing Long Tang, a formula used for Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Sticky coating, Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when Body Fluids stagnate in the four limbs instead of flowing in the body and getting released as sweat.

In addition to lack of sweating, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs include generalized body pain, irritability and coughing of copious thin and white sputum.

Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs is often treated with Da Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 7 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Da Qing Long Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes sweating".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs here

Ephedra (Ma Huang) is the king ingredient for Xiao Qing Long Tang, a formula used for Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Tongue shape: Swollen

This is when, often due to a stagnant Qi, the Body Fluids are retained in the chest and Lungs.

In addition to lack of sweating, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm include generalized body pain, coughing of copious thin and white sputum and alternating fever and chills.

Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm is often treated with Xiao Qing Long Tang, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Ephedra - Ma Huang - as a key herb). Xiao Qing Long Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that clear wind-cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Releases the Exterior".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm here

Four herbal formulas that might help with lack of sweating

Ma Huang Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Releases exterior cold. Treats wheezing.

Why might Ma Huang Tang help with lack of sweating?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind Cold invading the Lungs' of which lack of sweating is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind Cold Invading The Lungs include chills, aversion to cold and fever.

Read more about Ma Huang Tang here

Da Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Promotes sweating. Releases the Exterior. Clears Interior Heat.

Why might Da Qing Long Tang help with lack of sweating?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids in the limbs' of which lack of sweating is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm-Fluids In The Limbs include generalized body pain, irritability and coughing of copious thin and white sputum.

Read more about Da Qing Long Tang here

Xiao Qing Long Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Phlegm-Fluids. Warms the Lungs. Directs Rebellious Qi downward.

Why might Xiao Qing Long Tang help with lack of sweating?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Phlegm-Fluids above the diaphragm' of which lack of sweating is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm-Fluids Above The Diaphragm include generalized body pain, coughing of copious thin and white sputum and alternating fever and chills.

Read more about Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Ge Gen Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior and muscle layer. Forms Body Fluids.

Why might Ge Gen Tang help with lack of sweating?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Wind Cold invading the Lungs' of which lack of sweating is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Wind Cold Invading The Lungs include chills, aversion to cold and fever.

Read more about Ge Gen Tang here

The four Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat lack of sweating

Why might Ephedra (Ma Huang) help with lack of sweating?

Because Ephedra is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lack of sweating as a symptom, like Ma Huang Tang or Ge Gen Tang for instance.

Ephedra is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Pungent. It targets the Bladder and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Releases the surface through sweating. Promotes the circulation of Lung Qi and stop wheezing. Promotes urination.

Read more about Ephedra here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with lack of sweating?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lack of sweating as a symptom, like Ma Huang Tang or Ge Gen Tang for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with lack of sweating?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lack of sweating as a symptom, like Ma Huang Tang or Ge Gen 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 Kudzu Root (Ge Gen) help with lack of sweating?

Because it is a key herb in Ge Gen Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Wind Cold invading the Lungs' (a pattern with lack of sweating as a symptom)

Kudzu Roots is a Cool herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Relieves muscle tension especially in the neck and shoulders. Relieves the Exterior and scatters Wind. Supports the Fluids and eases thirst. Assists in the expression of measles. Relieves diarrhea. Relieves hypertension.

Read more about Kudzu Roots here