What Are The “6 Evils” In Traditional Chinese Medicine?

The “Six Evils” in TCM

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes “Six evils”六邪 that can affect the energetic and physical systems of our bodies and create imbalances. They are namely:

  • Wind
  • Cold
  • Heat
  • Damp
  • Dryness
  • Fire

The Six Evils can come from both external and internal sources such as the choice of food, the seasons and weather, a person’s internal body constitution, our lifestyle and more. For example, exposing the skin to wet weather conditions, and frequent showering in cold water late night can lead to dampness and cold in the body.

1. Wind 风邪

Nature and characteristics: Illnesses caused by wind tend to happen fast and rapidly, and symptoms tend to be shifting or changing.

Common symptoms of wind: Tremor, convulsions, numbness, itchiness, dizziness.

2. Cold 寒邪

Nature and characteristics: Cold is a yin pathogenic factor and has a tendency to damage the “Yang” energy. It is stagnant, and attracts other illnesses.

Common symptoms of cold: Cold body and limbs, poor blood circulation, pale face, vomiting and diarrhea, cold painful joints, vaginal discharge and feces are thin, menstrual pain and disorder for female.

3. Heat 暑邪

Nature and characteristics: High in temperature, body can become bloated as gas gets trapped.

Common symptoms of heat: Heat, thirst, sweating, fatigue, yellow urine, yellow tongue, or sudden fainting.

4. Damp 湿邪

Nature and characteristics: It is heavy and sticky, and stays onto the body for a long time. This is known as stagnation. Dampness makes the body susceptible to many diseases. It easily harms the “Yang” energy.

Common symptoms of dampness: Head pain, chest tightness, sluggishness, sore or swollen joints, poor flexion and extension of limbs, sticky phlegm, and cloudy urine. Over time, dampness cause the body to be less efficient at removing fluids, leading to water retention and weight gain. The accumulated dampness in the body also congeal into phlegm and become fatty tissues leading to obesity.

5. Dryness 燥邪

Nature and characteristics: Dryness consumes the body fluids and it is especially damaging to the lungs.

Common symptoms of dryness: Dry tongue, dry skin, dry hair, dry cough with little or no phlegm, less sweat or no sweat, chapped lips and constipation.

6. Fire 火邪

Nature and characteristics: Fire can burn out and hurt the body fluid. Its violent nature is characterized by inflammation. It accelerates the blood flow, and can even burns the veins, causing symptoms such as nose bleeding, vomiting blood, blood in the pee, hematuria and purple blood spots on the skin.

There can also be internal fire caused by the dysfunction of the organs such as the liver fire, gall fire, heart fire, stomach fire and so on.

Common symptoms of fire: Fever, red face, red tongue, red eyes, sore throat, gum swelling and pain, toothache, constipation, hot odor, short urine, Red tongue, restlessness and easily getting irritated.

TCM treatments to get rid of 6 Evils

One person’s body constitution is very different to another. Hence TCM treatments are personalized to the specific needs of that person. Commonly known techniques such as Gua Sha can be used to stimulate blood flow and remove internal heat and toxic from the body.

TCM Herbal bath can be used to heal the body and remove dampness especially.

Tuina and acupuncture techniques are very comprehensive to treat the different symptoms based on what the body needs. Chinese herbs also has a variety of therapeutic effects to restore the body to achieve internal balance and health.