The six external causes of disease: Dampness
Dampness represents a class of symptoms that are aggravated by damp weather and the intake of oily and fluidic foods. Symptoms of dampness include swelling and impaired fluid metabolism, such as edema, abdominal swelling, obesity, and the formation of cysts, tumors, and lumps. Dampness is also manifested with oozing sores and with damp or fluid discharges, described as damp heat. When dampness congeals, it causes phlegm, which affects the sinuses and upper-respiratory passages, including the lungs and bronchioles. Dampness is differentiated as external or internal and hot or cold. Swelling with characteristic oozing and weeping sores is described as external damp heat. Allergies with abundant mucous, vaginal, or other discharges are also a sign of external dampness, and they may represent either cold, if the discharge is clear or whitish, or hot, if it is thick and yellowish or blood tinged. Abdominal swelling, obesity, tumors, and cyst are described as internal dampness. Signs of dampness are a swollen appearance, edema with excessively moist and swollen tongue with scalloped edges, and a gliding or slippery-feeling pulse.
- WIND DAMPNESS: See External Wind.
- COLD DAMPNESS: Joint stiffness and pains, no perspiration, edema of the extremities, scanty and clear urine, sticky and muddy stool.
- SUMMER HEAT DAMPNESS: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, perspiration.
- DAMP HEAT: Inflammation, fever, yellowish discharges and appearance, pain and swelling of the extremities, thirst, depression, chest congestion, reddish and scanty urine, greasy tongue with a yellow coat, full and slippery pulse.
- INTERNAL DAMPNESS: Feeling of congestion and fullness, abdominal swelling, craving for hot drinks but little thirst (internal damp cold), tasteless but greasy sensation in the mouth, scanty and cloudy urination, scalloped and swollen tongue, gliding and slippery pulse, sticky, muddy, and loose stool.
Source: “The way of Chinese Herbs” by Michael Tierra – Pocket Books