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