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TCM Herbs That Warm The Interior On A Cold Winter’s Day

warm interior in TCM

Is it downright freezing at night where you live? The simple solution is to bundle up and crank up the heat. But not even doing that may prevent the TCM syndrome known as an “Internal Cold invasion.” 

All it takes is one minute of neglect for a cold invasion to strike: leaving the house to go get the mail without wearing a jacket. 

And even if you’re bundled up, maybe you forgot to wear a scarf, leaving your neck exposed. Many acupuncture points located in the neck area are vulnerable to wind. So forgetting to cover up your neck is an easy way to succumb to a cold invasion. 

But if Internal Cold Syndrome strikes, thankfully, there are TCM herbs and formulas that may help “Warm The Interior.” 

How Does Internal Cold Syndrome Develop in TCM?

When you get hit hard with internal cold syndrome, you need TCM herbs that expel the cold and warm the TCM organ systems. But we’ll get to the best herbs for that later on. For now, let’s find out how Internal Cold syndrome develops, from a TCM perspective.

There are two primary ways in which Internal Cold syndrome develops. The first way is the simple explanation described earlier. In TCM theory, the term for letting the elements get the best of you is “an invasion of exogenous pathogenic cold.” The cold and wind penetrate the skin and subcutaneous tissues, overwhelming the body’s Wei Qi—roughly the equivalent of the immune system in Western medicine. 

All it takes is one minute of neglect for a cold invasion to strike: leaving the house to go get the mail without wearing a jacket.


Once Wei Qi is overwhelmed, like a thief breaking into a home, free to wreak havoc, exogenous (external) Cold penetrates the TCM organ systems, traveling unobstructed along the highway of energetic points (meridians).

When this occurs, warming Yang energy is unable to spread through the meridians. The free-flowing movement of Qi and Blood also suffers and stagnation starts to set in, leading to low energy and poor circulation. 

These energetic blockages can eventually lead to the TCM condition, Bi syndrome. Bi syndrome manifests as achiness, soreness, pain, numbness, and stiff joints.

Warm The Interior By Watching What You Drink

In addition to internal cold developing because of the outside elements, there’s another simple reason why the syndrome may occur: consuming too much beer and soda. 

Sure, sugar and alcohol may weaken the immune system. But just the cold temperature of the drinks alone can cause “Cold” to enter the Stomach organ system. But it’s not just the physical stomach organ of Western anatomy that’s affected. It’s also the entire stomach meridian and the TCM area of the body called the “Middle Burner” (Middle Jiao), which is home to the body’s main digestion and absorption processes. 

An imbalance of the Middle Burner can cause a stomach flu or other gastric-related illnesses. 

Yang Deficiency Patterns That Cause Internal Cold Syndrome

As for which TCM herbs are best for warming the interior, that’s coming up soon. But first, it’s also important to note that internal cold syndromes are also caused by Yang deficiency. To put it simply, a Yang deficiency in the body is like a radiator or heating system that’s broken down. 

If you have Yang deficiency, your skin pores do not effectively close and retain body heat when it’s very cold.

In TCM theory, different organ systems may experience a yang deficiency. However, let’s briefly cover two primary Yang deficiencies: Kidney and Spleen.

Kidney Yang Deficiency primarily affects seniors due to the fact that the Kidneys are the storagehouse of Jing, or life essence. We only have so much Jing to burn, so to speak. Therefore, when Jing becomes depleted, so, too, does our body’s internal heating force. 

As for Spleen Yang deficiency, this pattern affects people with digestive problems. The Spleen is the TCM organ responsible for transforming nutrients from the stomach into Qi and Blood. However, if there’s a lack of Yang energy in the Spleen organ system, there won’t be enough nutrient-transforming power. Of course, deficiencies of Yang may manifest anytime of year, not just when the weather is cold. 

Finally, another major type of Yang deficiency that exacerbates Cold Invasion Syndrome affects the Heart organ system. One primary factor that leads to Heart Yang Deficiency is emotional stress and overwork.

TCM Herbs For Warming The Interior

The best TCM herbs that help warm the interior get the Qi flowing more optimally; improve the circulation of Blood; boost digestion and help metabolize water. 

Some of the best herbs for warming the interior and resolving Internal Cold Syndrome include:

Discontinue taking TCM herbs that warm the interior after symptoms resolve. This is important because the hottest TCM herbs, when taken for too long or in too high of a dosage may not only boost Yang, they can also burn up your Yin (cooling) energy. This results in dryness throughout the body. 

Got any questions about warming your interior? Post a comment below.