December makes most of us think about snow and hot chocolate. The days grow shorter and the nights longer as winter starts to get settled in. The winter season is associated with Cold in TCVM and the element Water.
There are three important characteristics of Cold. 1) Cold can interrupt the balance between Yin and Yang by damaging Yang Qi. When this happens the body’s abilities to regulate temperature becomes affected. 2) Cold can also impair body functions by causing the body structures to close such as pores on the skin or tightening of muscles and tissues. The old adage is “Cold contracts”. 3) Pain is caused by Cold creating Stagnation in the flow of Qi. Pathological Cold invades the body when exposed to a cold environment for a long period of time or there is an overconsumption of Cold foods, drugs or herbal medicines.
Cold is a Yin Pathogen. Pathogens with a Yin nature tend to damage the Yang. This tends to result in Yang Deficiency. This is caused by the consumption of Yang and Qi from the constant Excessive Cold. If Cold blocks the Qi Flow then this leads to Qi Stagnation which soon after can lead to Blood Stagnation.
Deficient Cold comes from the Interior and is caused by Yang Deficiency. Due to long exposure from External Cold or a concurrent disease it may result in the Yang becomes depleted.
Cold Excess Patterns
- Cold attack of the Middle Jiao
- Wind Cold
- Cold in the Channels
Cold Deficiency Pathogens
- Kidney Yang Deficiency
- Spleen Yang Deficiency
Species: Equine, Quarter Horse Gelding (pasture kept)
Ear and body temperature: Cold
Tongue: Pale purple
Pulse: Deep and slow
Clinical Signs: Acute colic, spasmotic with a the first cold snap, acute abdominal pain, increased bororygmi, restless
TCVM Pattern: Stomach Cold
Acupuncture: ST-36, ST-42, SP-4, BL-20+ BL-20, BL-21+BL-21, TH-1, CV-12, Jiang-ya, Er-ding, Bai-hui (Moxa), GV-4 (moxa)
Herbal Formula: Ju Pi San: Dose: up to 150g PO BID. Equine GI formula (after colic resolves up to 6 months as needed) 15g PO BID
Foods to Supplement: oats, citrus, olive oil
Foods to Avoid: grass hay, barley, wheat.
Species: Canine, Austrialian Shepard
Tongue: Pale and wet
Pulse: Weak, Right weaker than Left
Clinical Signs: Diarrhea every morning, Fatigue, Ears three fingers cold, Some weakness in the rear limbs
TCVM Pattern: Spleen/Kidney Yang Deficiency, Diarrhea
Acupuncture: ST-36, (MOXA), BL-20, BL-23, BAI-HUI, GV-4, GV-3 (MOXA), GV-1, KID-3, KID-7
Herbal Formula: Four Immortals / 0.5g per 10lbs twice daily.
Food Therapy: chicken, white rice, sweet potato, ginger, pumpkin
Edited by Greg Todd, DVM, CVA. Hypothetical Cases by Greg Todd, DVM, CVA