Preference for warm drinks and foods according to Chinese Medicine

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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, feeling of cold and nausea in the pattern “Cold invading the Stomach”. 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 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 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

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, feeling of cold and nausea.

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

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, poor appetite and pale complexion.

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

Large Intestine collapse

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Weak (Ruo), Fine (Xi)

In addition to preference for warm drinks and foods, other symptoms associated with Large Intestine collapse include cold limbs, poor appetite and anus prolapse.

Large Intestine collapse 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 Large Intestine collapse here

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

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.

Read more about Liang Fu Wan here

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 11 herbs

Key actions: Releases the Exterior. Transforms Dampness. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Middle Burner.

Why might Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San 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.

Read more about Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San here

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.

Read more about Xiao Jian Zhong Tang here

Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

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

Why might Huang Qi 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.

Read more about Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang 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 'Large Intestine collapse' of which thirst for warm drinks is a symptom.

Read more about Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang here

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

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom, like Xiao Jian Zhong Tang or Huang Qi Jian Zhong 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 Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because Cinnamon Bark is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom, like Xiao Jian Zhong Tang or Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang for instance.

Cinnamon Bark is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Warms the Spleen and Kidneys and tonifies the Yang. Expels Cold, Warms the meridians, promotes circulation of Qi and Blood and relieves pain. Used with tonics to assist in the generation of Qi and Blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Bark here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom, like Xiao Jian Zhong Tang or Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Jujube Date (Da Zao) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because Jujube Date is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom, like Xiao Jian Zhong Tang or Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang for instance.

Jujube Dates is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen and Stomach Qi. Tonifies the Blood. Calms the Shen (spirit). Moderates the actions of other herbs in formula.

Read more about Jujube Dates here

Why might Fresh Ginger (Sheng Jiang) help with preference for warm drinks and foods?

Because Fresh Ginger is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat preference for warm drinks and foods as a symptom, like Xiao Jian Zhong Tang or Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang for instance.

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

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