Qi level – Damp Heat in Stomach and Spleen

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With Qi level – Damp Heat in Stomach and Spleen, your body throws everything it can at the invader.

This means, at the least, a high fever. Here, your underlying susceptibility has put the disease process into your Stomach and Spleen.

When you know how your Stomach and Spleen work, you can almost predict how symptoms will turn out.

Main symptoms of Damp Heat in Stomach and Spleen at the Qi level

  • Uninterrupted fever which sweating relieves only temporarily
  • Nausea
  • Runny stools: diarrhoea
  • Body feels heavy and slow, tired even before you start doing anything
  • Mild depression
  • Likes receiving sympathy
  • Head feels fuzzy, foggy: can’t concentrate or focus
  • Increases in mucus, sometimes phlegm
  • Torso (chest and epigastrium) feels oppressed, heavy, stuck, sluggish
  • Oedema round the abdomen
  • Any rash is likely to be papular
  • Urine is scanty and dark
  • Tongue: red with sticky or greasy dark yellow or brown coating
  • Pulse: rapid and ‘soggy’


What this means – pathology of Damp Heat in Stomach and Spleen

When the Spleen fails to function properly, digestion suffers, energy diminishes and ‘stuff’ builds up, blocking the smooth passage of Qi. What that means is that fluids don’t move around properly, leading to an increase in mucus and the build up of phlegm.

Dampness appears, which you feel as heaviness, stiffness, slowness: it feels hard to start moving. This improves slightly if you keep moving, but is still exhausting. Usually warmth helps but here you already have a fever, so  you don’t welcome warmth.

(Click here for what Damp-Heat does in the body as a whole.)

Stomach energy should ‘descend’ if you’re healthy: here it ascends, giving nausea. Spleen energy should remove fluid from your stools, but here it doesn’t, so your stools are loose. The Heat makes them smell.

Damp? Normally a healthy Spleen descends fluid which you urinate away, but here is sticks around in the upper parts of the body, the chest, epigastrium and your head, leading to the inability to concentrate and focus. Thinking becomes very hard work, and it’s hard to remember things too. Besides, don’t forget you have a fever! Sweating doesn’t clear the Damp, which is at a more ‘internal’ level than the skin.


Aims of treatment

The aim, in Chinese medicine, is to

  • clear the Heat from the Stomach and Spleen and
  • transform the Damp into urine.

Help Yourself?

If you have Damp Heat, there are some ‘Damp-Heat’ foods which are best avoided, and others which might help. But changing your diet won’t make much difference overnight. You have to stick at it.

The effect of Suppression of damp heat in Stomach and Spleen

Suppression of damp heat in Stomach and Spleen

What happens if these symptoms of Damp Heat in Stomach and Spleen are suppressed, or at least, if you try to suppress them? (Click for what we mean by  suppression.)

For a start, the patient will almost certainly have been trying to help him or herself, with OTC medications at the least. The heavy, fuzzy feeling and sluggish metabolism and mild depression mean people look for help!

The fever and frequent sweating suggest to him he has something like ‘flu but perspiration doesn’t alleviate the fever! It is confusing – and exhausting.

This is because of the Damp aspect of the condition. Damp, once it enters, can be hard to shift by DIY methods. Sweating doesn’t clear this Damp because it’s too deep, not just under the skin but in the ‘organs’ and channels. Instead, think of it as being like a deep furnace, perhaps like a house’s gas boiler heating its radiators: whereas normal sweat comes from much nearer the outside of the walls and roof, this sweat Damp is in the radiators, not close to the outside. Really it needs good acupuncture and Chinese herbs, and avoidance of foods that make Damp worse. (Avoiding those foods won’t cure your problem, though it may help to stop it worsening!)


Probably the patient is taking NSAIDs and possibly stimulants like coffee, which may temporarily ameliorate, or herbs like ginseng. But stimulants like ginseng are not what the patient needs because once Damp is cleared, the body, with rest, can usually recover its energy without further help. Too many stimulants can actually worsen the Damp, like providing more heat for the boiler, which then increases the water temperature, heating the radiators and house more when it is already insufferable.

Sometimes the patient concentrates, wrongly, on the diarrhoea and tries to restrain it. This traps the Damp-Heat inside, increasing the heaviness and depression. Doing this may bring out a rash as the body tries to expel the heat in other ways, such a rash being probably papular.

Don’t suppress the diarrhoea!

Suppressing the stools will probably increase the nausea too. The point is that the runny stools are the body’s way of exteriorising its Damp-Heat: the correct treatment clears Heat, transforms Damp (by making you urinate it out) and then regulates the Stomach and Spleen (your digestion) to get it working properly.

If symptoms at this Qi level are suppressed, the disease process proceeds down to the next level, the Nutritive or Ying level. Here the most obvious symptoms are that there is a deterioration at the mental level, with restlessness, incoherence, delirium: also red tongue body without coating, and replacement of papular rashes by a more serious macular rash.


Other reactions at this Qi level of the Four Levels

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