Cold Illness or Thermal Nature


Cold people get cold problems more often, but you can have a hot problem that is temporary, even if you’re a cold type person.

Cold as a Temporary Condition

If your problem is acute, short-lived and intense, cold can produce varied symptoms depending on where it is. When the cold is located superficially, it can look exactly like the common cold. Cold=cold. That’s easy, right? Another indication of cold located superficially (or on the “exterior” as we say) is chills.

Discharges that are clear or white suggest cold too. This would include symptoms such as nasal discharge, phlegm, and clear-to-milky vaginal discharges.

Cold can also be located internally. There, it can cause gripping, spasmodic and intense pain that causes one to double over, sometimes actually gripping their abdomen. Men can get cold in their testicles too, which can feel like something is suddenly pulling or twisting down yonder – very uncomfortable, not to mention difficult to tactfully investigate on a first date. Cold can also be found in the uterus which can cause excessive menstrual pain which is alleviated by a hot bath, equally problematic on a first date.

Cold as a Thermal Nature

In English, we can talk about a person being hot, warm, neutral, cool, or cold. These have widely varied meanings, none of which apply to one’s thermal nature in Chinese medicine. So if you’re cool or cold, it doesn’t mean that you like jazz or are difficult to make friends with.

However having a cold nature does make you more susceptible to problems that are aggravated by cold weather. When it comes to choosing an herbal formula, people with a cold or cool thermal nature can benefit from hot and warm herbs such as baked ginger (gan jiang) or aconite root (zhi fu zi). On the other hand, cold herbs such as gypsum (shi gao) or rhubarb root (da huang) can cause a cold person’s problems to get worse.

So, if you’re looking for an herbal formula to address long-standing chronic conditions that run in your family (thermal natures can be somewhat hereditary) then you’ll want to pay special attention to the recommended body temperatures.

However, if you’re hoping to address something more acute that hasn’t been around for long such as some ingrown toenail or other heat condition, it is okay to take cold formulas, but not for any longer than is absolutely needed to address the health concern.