Preference for warm drinks and foods

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Preference for warm drinks and foods 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 preference for warm drinks and foods 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 preference for warm drinks and foods is often associated with cold limbs, vomiting of clear fluids and poor appetite in the pattern “Stomach Deficient and Cold”. As you will see below, we have in record three patterns that can cause preference for warm drinks and foods.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of preference for warm drinks and foods we’ve identified three 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 preference for warm drinks and foods.

The three "patterns of disharmony" that can cause preference for warm drinks and foods

In Chinese Medicine preference for warm drinks and foods 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 Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach in Chinese Medicine

Stomach Deficient and Cold

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi), Weak (Ruo)

In addition to preference for warm drinks and foods, other symptoms associated with Stomach Deficient and Cold include cold limbs, vomiting of clear fluids and poor appetite.

Stomach Deficient and Cold is often treated with Xiao Jian Zhong Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Maltose - Yi Tang - as a key herb). Xiao Jian Zhong Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm the middle and dispel cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms and tonifies the Middle Burner (Spleen and Stomach)".

Read more about Stomach Deficient and Cold here

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

Cold invading the Stomach

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi), Tight (Jin)

The Stomach is one of three Organs which can be directly invaded by Exterior Cold (along with the Large Intestine and Uterus). It is an acute condition caused by exposure to cold from improper dressing and excessive consumption of cold foods and iced drinks.

In addition to preference for warm drinks and foods, other symptoms associated with Cold invading the Stomach include cold limbs, vomiting of clear fluids and feeling of cold.

Cold invading the Stomach is often treated with Liang Fu Wan, a herbal formula made of 2 herbs (including Lesser Galangal Rhizomes - Gao Liang jiang - as a key herb). Liang Fu Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that promote qi movement", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the Middle Burner".

Read more about Cold invading the Stomach here

Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) is the king ingredient for Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a formula used for Qi Deficiency Fever

Qi Deficiency Fever

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

In addition to preference for warm drinks and foods, other symptoms associated with Qi Deficiency Fever include intermittent fever that worsens upon exertion, spontaneous sweating and aversion to cold.

Qi Deficiency Fever is often treated with Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Milkvetch Roots - Huang Qi - as a key herb). Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that tonify qi", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner)".

Read more about Qi Deficiency Fever here

Three herbal formulas that might help with preference for warm drinks and foods

Xiao Jian Zhong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies the Middle Burner (Spleen and Stomach). Tonifies Qi. Relieves spasmodic pain.

Why might Xiao Jian Zhong Tang help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Stomach Deficient and Cold' of which preference for warm drinks and foods is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Stomach Deficient And Cold include cold limbs, vomiting of clear fluids and poor appetite.

Read more about Xiao Jian Zhong Tang here

Liang Fu Wan

Source date: 1842 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Middle Burner. Dispels Cold. Promotes the movement of Qi. Alleviates Pain.

Why might Liang Fu Wan help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Cold invading the Stomach' of which preference for warm drinks and foods is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Cold Invading The Stomach include cold limbs, vomiting of clear fluids and feeling of cold.

Read more about Liang Fu Wan here

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Source date: 1247

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi of the Spleen and Stomach (Middle Burner). Raises the Yang. Detoxifies. Lifts what has sunken.

Why might Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Qi Deficiency Fever' of which preference for warm drinks and foods is a symptom.

Other symptoms characteristic of Qi Deficiency Fever include intermittent fever that worsens upon exertion, spontaneous sweating and aversion to cold.

Read more about Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang here

The four Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat preference for warm drinks and foods

Why might Maltose (Yi Tang) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because it is a key herb in Xiao Jian Zhong Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Stomach Deficient and Cold' (a pattern with preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom)

Maltose is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Stomach and the Lung.

Its main actions are: Fortifies Qi and tonifies the Spleen. Soothes and tonifies the Middle Warmer. Lubricates the Lungs.

Read more about Maltose here

Why might Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because it is a key herb in Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Qi Deficiency Fever' (a pattern with preference for warm drinks and foods 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

Why might Coco-Grass Rhizome (Xiang Fu) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because it is a key herb in Liang Fu Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Cold invading the Stomach' (a pattern with preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom)

Coco-Grass Rhizomes is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter, Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Spleen, the Liver and the Sanjiao.

Its main actions are: Unblocks Stagnant Liver Qi and relieves pain. Regulates the Liver and Spleen. Assists the regulation of menses and relieves pain.

Read more about Coco-Grass Rhizomes here

Why might Lesser Galangal Rhizome (Gao Liang Jiang) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because it is a key herb in Liang Fu Wan, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Cold invading the Stomach' (a pattern with preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom)

Lesser Galangal Rhizomes is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: For any conditions of Cold in the Middle Burner where there are symptoms such as pain in the abdominal region, vomiting, diarrhea and chronic inflammation in the digestive tract caused by Cold.

Read more about Lesser Galangal Rhizomes here