Deficient Heat

Key Insight

from prolonged Yin deficiency

Physical connection
dry stoolsdark urinered-dry tonguethin pulserapid pulsemenopause
Physical Symptom

heat in afternoon, heat at night, dry mouth, dry throat, night sweating, heat in the chest, palms and soles (called 5-palm heat), restlessness, agitation, vague anxiety, pre and post-menopausal women, restless

Psych (excess)
Psych (deficient)
Related Principle
More specific principle
Look for

symptoms at night, heat in the afternoon, dry throat and mouth, night sweats, thin rapid pulse

Questions to ask
Pulse position

Deficient Heat comes from a deficiency of Yin. When yin is deficient it fails to balance yang and thus the person feels some yang signs. Most of the symptoms are noticeable at night (a yin time). It is characterised by feelings of heat in the afternoon or evening, dry throat and mouth, night sweating, heat in the chest, palms and soles (called 5-palm heat), dry stools, scanty-dark urine, a red-dry tongue and a deficient, thin and/or rapid pulse.

Deficient heat produces restlessness, agitation and vague anxiety. This pattern is very common in pre and post-menopausal women. There is an appearance of activity – ie. they are restless - but often not a lot is done because there is an underlying deficiency.

A feeling of heat in the afternoon or evening, a dry mouth with desire to drink in small sips, a dry throat at night, night sweating, a feeling of heat in the chest, palms and soles (five-palm heat), dry stools, scanty dark urine, Floating-Empty and Rapid pulse, Red tongue without coating

Again, these are only the general symptoms and signs; others depend on which organ is mostly affected. Empty-Heat frequently arises from deficiency of Kidney-Yin. Because Kidney-Yin is the foundation for all the Yin energies of the body, when this is deficient it can affect the Yin of the Liver, Heart and Lungs. A long-standing deficiency of Yin in any of these organs can give rise to Empty-Heat manifesting with various symptoms, such as mental restlessness and insomnia when Heart-Yin is deficient, irritability and headaches when Liver-Yin is deficient and malar flush and dry cough when Lung-Yin is deficient.

Aside from these manifestations, from a mental–emotional point of view Empty-Heat can often be recognized from a typical feeling of mental restlessness, fidgeting and vague anxiety. The person feels that something is wrong but is unable to describe what or how. Empty-Heat restlessness is quite different from that of Full-Heat and one can almost visually perceive the Emptiness underlying the Heat.

Full-Heat causes severe mental restlessness, agitation, anxiety, insomnia with agitated sleep

Empty-Heat causes a vague mental restlessness that is worse in the evening, an anxiety with Fidgeting, and waking up frequently during the night

Comparing Full heat and Empty Heat


Scarlet-red, not raised painless skin eruptions

Red, hot painful skin eruptions

Desire to drink in small sips

Desire to drink cold water

Dry stools, no abdominal pain

Constipation, abdominal pain

Malar flush

Whole face red

Red and Peeled

Red with yellow coating

Waking up frequently during the night or early morning

Dream-disturbed, very restless

Low-grade fever in the afternoon

High fever

Vague anxiety, fidgeting

Very restless and agitated



No bitter taste

Bitter taste

In the afternoon or evening

All day

Nourish Yin, clear Empty-Heat

Clear Heat

Thin red line inside eyelid

Red all over inside eyelid

Floating-Empty, Rapid