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 aversion to cold, fever and headaches in the pattern “Wind-Cold invading the Lungs”. As you will see below, we have in record four 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 five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat lack of sweating.

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

In Chinese Medicine lack of sweating 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 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 aversion to cold, fever and headaches.

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 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 and coughing of copious thin and white sputum.

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

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

Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) is the king ingredient for Er Chen Tang, a formula used for Phlegm-Fluids

Phlegm-Fluids

Pulse type(s): Wiry (Xian)

In addition to lack of sweating, other symptoms associated with Phlegm-Fluids include coughing, shortness of breath and oedema.

Phlegm-Fluids is often treated with Er Chen Tang, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Crow-Dipper Rhizomes - Ban Xia - as a key herb). Er Chen Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that dry dampness and transform phlegm", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm".

Read more about Phlegm-Fluids 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 aversion to cold, fever and headaches.

Read more about Ma Huang Tang here

Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Lungs. Transforms congested Fluids.

Why might Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin 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 and coughing of copious thin and white sputum.

Read more about Ling Gan Wu Wei Jiang Xin 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 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 Xiao Qing Long Tang here

Er Chen Tang

Source date: 1148 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Dries Damp and dispels Phlegm. Regulates Qi and harmonizes the Middle Burner (Stomach and Spleen).

Why might Er Chen Tang help with lack of sweating?

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

Other symptoms characteristic of Phlegm-Fluids include coughing, shortness of breath and oedema.

Read more about Er Chen Tang here

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

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 Er Chen 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 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 Gui Zhi Tang or Ma Huang 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 Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with lack of sweating?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lack of sweating as a symptom, like Gui Zhi Tang or Da Qing Long Tang for instance.

Fresh Ginger is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Warms and circulates Qi in the Middle Burner. Calms a restless fetus and treats morning sickness. Treats seafood poisoning.

Read more about Fresh Ginger here

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with lack of sweating?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat lack of sweating as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Wu Ling San for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

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 Da Qing Long 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