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
Centuries ago in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, a school of thought within Chinese medicine emerged that focused on pathogens attacking the body that emphasized "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 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.
“The single Chinese medicine and compound preparations of TCM which have specific antipyretic effects listed in this (study) are widely used in clinical practice, and can effectively improve the symptoms of fever in acute respiratory needs and control infections. TCM has the unique properties of multi-components and multi-targets. The majority of these mentioned drugs may not only exert the effects of antipyretic, but also have the properties of anti-inflammation, and immunity enhancement.
In boosting the body's Qi and defensive mechanisms these herbs are able to bring more balance and health to the body.
- 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. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33828481/. Accessed July 28, 2021.