Don't Fight Your Fever, Try a Chinese Medicine Approach Instead

Lenore Cangeloso

By Lenore Cangeloso


Don't Fight Your Fever, Try a Chinese Medicine Approach Instead

Feeling hot or flushed? Sweaty? Weak and dehydrated? Warm to the touch? You might just have a fever. 

The body often responds to symptoms associated with a fever when it is fighting off a foreign invader. Within Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, this invader is often called an external pathogenic influence or "EPI", and is seen as a manifestation of heat, or fire within the body. "Heat signs" within the body can be seen as a sore throat, dry cough, and thirst.  When the body’s immune system kicks into play, often it will increase the body temperature to burn off this EPI. Fevers are considered a very important healing mechanism and clinical manifestation of disease.

Some History and More Background

 During the end of Ming and the rise of Qing dynasties centuries ago, a new school of thought emerged within Traditional Chinese medicine which revolved around pathogens and how they attack human body emphasizing “wind and heat" - these diseases were called Wen-Bing.

Each is classified according to four levels (Defensive, Qi, Nutritive, and Blood) and they all manifest with fever. As with many facets of Chinese Medicine there are many nuances and classifications of symptoms such as fevers, which allow for a more specific treatment approach. 

chinese herbs for fevers

Chinese herbal remedies are applied and utilized when dealing with fever, and there is a wide variety of herbs that can help. Often these herbs not only are anti-pyretic in nature but help to boost a body's Qi and reduce inflammation.  Often herbs are not used to suppress the fever (unless in extreme cases) but to strengthen the body’s Qi and make it more resilient against the EPI. 

Specific Herbs for Fevers

As this article is being written, there are a myriad of situations where Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine is being used for strength and support. Fever is one of the earliest key symptoms and there are currently many studies¹ documenting the usage of herbs such as Chai Hu, Huang Qin, Chuan Xiong, Gui Zhi, Lian Qiao, and Jin Yin Hua among other herbs for solutions.

“Chinese medicine and its compound preparations have certain antipyretic effects which are mentioned (in this study) and are commonly used in clinical trials for treating acute fever resulting from chronic respiratory conditions, and also prevents infections. TCM has remarkable properties of multi-components and multi-targets. The majority of these listed drugs are not only known for their antipyretic properties, but are also anti-inflammatory, and immunity booster.

In boosting the body's Qi and defensive mechanisms these herbs are able to bring more balance and health to the body. 

  1. Ma LL;Liu HM;Luo CH;He YN;Wang F;Huang HZ;Han L;Yang M;Xu RC;Zhang DK; Fever and antipyretic supported by Traditional Chinese medicine: A Multi-pathway regulation. Frontiers in pharmacology. Accessed July 28, 2021. 

Lenore Cangeloso, LAc is a state-licensed and board certified Acupuncturist and Herbal medicine practitioner. She is the owner of Wild Earth Acupuncture in Portland Oregon. Lenore has spent many months traveling to deepen her knowledge of the human body, and is a dedicated and skilled practitioner that strives to help you achieve optimal states of wellbeing. You can learn more about Lenore at

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