In Chinese medicine, pathogens are things or conditions that make you sick or produce symptoms. Pathogens are a little like bad weather in your body. They can come from outside (like a cold or flu) or from the inside and affect your organs.
The common pathogens are:
Heat: Heat can take the form of inflammation, infection, fever, and restlessness. Some signs that heat may be present include a thirst for cold drinks, irritability, sweating, and a rapid pulse.
Cold: The opposite of heat, cold is usually manifested as feeling cold, but can also produce certain pain conditions, sluggish metabolism, and a slow pulse. Joint pain that is aggravated in the cold weather is an example of a cold condition.
Dryness: Often the result of heat or a prolonged illness, dryness indicates a lack of fluids in your body. Manifestations include thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, and an unproductive cough.
Dampness: The result of poor water metabolism in your body, dampness is like a field that doesn’t drain well after a rainfall and pools in different parts of your body. It can be difficult to resolve. Symptoms of dampness include a lack of thirst, a heavy feeling, edema, yeast infections, and in some instances diarrhea or loose stools.
Phlegm: Often caused by dampness congealing, phlegm can be visible or invisible. Visible phlegm collects in your lungs after a cold, but invisible phlegm can cause a host of symptoms from nausea to lumps and even mental problems.
Summerheat: A pathogen that’s unique to the warm weather, summerheat can manifest in a couple of ways. One form is caused by exposure to intense heat in the summer, and its symptoms are very similar to those of heat stroke. The other form comes from a combination of hot weather and humidity, with symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and dizziness combined with symptoms of dampness.
Wind: This is a pathogen having many characteristic of the wind, but manifesting in your body. The onset of wind is usually sudden with rapid changes; it comes and goes, and usually affects the upper part of your body. Some of the symptoms of wind include tremors, shaking, dizziness, itching, “wandering” pain and numbness. External wind is also a player whenever you have a cold or the flu.
Excerpted from Simple Steps: The Chinese Way to Better Health