Dry Heat

Drought after dry heat
Dryness leeches life out of your 'bug'

Dry Heat

This condition of Dry Heat occurs when, usually, a ‘warm’ disease invades your body. Such a disease could be bacterial or viral, making you infectious.

Dry Heat is your body’s response to it. It occurs at the wei level, being an early response by your immune system. The other common responses are


All these responses are on the outside of your body’s defences. That doesn’t mean they are on the outside of your body, but that they are kept by your body at arms’ length from the important stuff inside. If your body can’t maintain the problem ‘outside’, it penetrates inwards, through two other levels (Qi and Nutritive or Ying) until it reaches your innermost level, the Blood level.

The further it penetrates inside, the more serious your problem. Theoretically you might die at any of the Qi, Nutritive or Blood levels.

So, at this ‘outside’ level, the warm disease hasn’t yet taken up residence in any of your internal organs, which is what happens at the next (inner) level, the Qi level, when it takes over either your Lungs (Lung-Heat), your Stomach (Stomach-Heat), your Intestines (Intestines Dry-Heat), your Gall-bladder (Gallbladder Heat) or as Damp-Heat in your Stomach and Spleen.

Few people die when the diseases is at this (outer) Wei level!

But that doesn’t mean the syndromes at the Wei level produce pleasant symptoms. They aren’t!

With Dry-Heat your body is mounting a significant attack on the invader at this Wei level, and displays symptoms to match.


arrows show your body attacking with dry heat

Dry Heat Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Dislike Cold, and prefer to avoid it
  • Mild perspiration but …
  • … Skin is dry
  • Mouth is dry
  • Nose is dry
  • Throat is dry
  • Dry cough
  • Throat is sore
  • Tongue feels dry but has a thin white coating
  • Pulse is rapid and ‘floating’


All this dryness occurs because the way your body reacts is to starve the invader of fluids. This may work, of course, but in the meantime the dryness means your body’s fluids are ‘injured’.

So, to support your body, keep it well-stocked with fluids – water being the best fluid. Don’t worry about feeding the invader the fluids – your body knows what to do! Just keep it supplied with what it needs.

Water your body to help it deal with Dry Heat
Water your body, but it’s best to drink it warm, not iced or chilled.

What is the correct treatment for Dry Heat?

Very simple! At least In theory, but not always easy to achieve, because you probably need to treat the patient several times a day.

  • ‘Release the Exterior’ This is a treatment that enables your body to expel the invader by opening the exit door!
  • Clear the Heat
  • Foster more fluids

But does this kill the bug?

Yes, I hear you say, but what about the bug? – the bacterium, the virus? What happens to that? Who or what kills it, because (you reason) surely it will simply continue unless it’s dead?

This is where Chinese and Western medicines, with their different concepts of disease, tend to part company. Of course, Chinese medicine recognises there is a bug – bacterium or virus, but it looks more at the place or environment where the bug is trying to gain a footing.

Take an analogy: weeds!

Weeds in your garden can’t grow on metal or on bare stone, for example on a flagstone.

Bare, clean, dry flagstones prevent growth even if sunny

Weeds need earth, water and sun. Even mycelium (the strands that form the basis for fungi) needs earth and water, though it can do without the warmth of the sun for a while.

If you put a seed on bare stone and keep it there indefinitely without water or sun then, assuming the rock or stone is impermeable, the seed will eventually die. It might take years, but without food and in the dryness and heat, it will die.

Covid – for instance!

We noticed this during the recent Covid pandemic which showed that the virus soon died (unless transmitted to another moist, warm body) on metal railings, handles and even dry clothes.

It’s somewhat similar with the idea behind Chinese medicine. Take away the wherewithal for the invader to flourish and it will disappear, starved of sustenance.

(However, Chinese herbal medicine does have formulae that do much the same as antibiotics and antiviral  medicines, using herbs instead of pharmaceuticals. The formulae are, however, balanced with other herbs that dissipate or balance any ill-effects of the ‘killer’ herbs.)

However, some invaders are so strong that they can overcome your body’s normal responses, of which ‘dry-heat’ is one. They trample over it onward to the Qi or Nutritive levels.

Other pages to read:





Jonathan Brand colours

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