6 Evils and 7 Emotions in Chinese Medicine

The cause of diseases can often be categorized into 6 evils and 7 emotions according to Chinese medicine theory. Six evils include Wind, Cold, Heat, Damp, Dryness and Fire. Seven emotions include Joy, Anger, Worry, Over-thinking, Sadness, Fear and Shock. When the six external evils and seven emotions are out of balance, the pathogenic Qi can invade our body and cause illness.

Six Evils

The six evils are related to five element theory and its corresponding season as the following.

1. Wind - Wood - Spring

Wind Evil can bring cold and flu like symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing, running nose.

2. Cold - Water - Winter

Cold slows down Qi and blood circulation. Its symptoms include chill, pale face, cold hands and feet and so on.

3. Heat - Fire - Summer

Heat dries up body fluid, causing redness, sweating, fever, and irritability.

4. Damp - Earth - Later Summer

Dampness can cause edema, heaviness, and phlegm.

5. Dryness - Metal - Fall

The symptoms of Dryness include dry skin, dry throat, dry tongue, and constipation.

6. Fire / Summer heat - Fire - Summer

Fire or summer heat is the extreme heat that can cause profuse sweating, dizziness and even heat stroke. 

All six evils can be combined or transformed into one another as disease progress. The combination makes diagnosis and treatment more complicated. When the weather gets extreme, and our protective Qi is not strong enough, we will get sick. Building up our own Qi helps fighting off disease and stay healthy.

Seven Emotions

These are seven emotions we all experience sometimes. When normal emotion becomes overwhelming and out of control, we can make ourselves sick.

Each emotion is related to five element theory, body organs, and the possible symptoms.

1. Joy - Fire - Heart

When overjoyed or overexcited, one can get palpation, insomnia, and agitation.

2. Anger - Wood -Liver

Too much anger cause Liver Yang rising and headache, dizziness, or high blood pressure.

3. Anxiety / Worry - Metal - Lung

Too much anxiety might cause short of breath or other breathing problems.

4. Pensiveness / Over-thinking - Earth - Spleen

Too much thinking might cause fatigue, tiredness and reduced energy.

5. Sadness / Grief - Metal - Lung

Chronic grief and sadness slow down the Qi circulation, causing lung problems.

6. Fear - Water - Kidney

Too much fear can injure kidney, causing urination problems.

7. Shock / Fright - Wood - Gallbladder

Sudden fright might affect Gallbladder and scatter the Qi. One can become confused and indecisive.

These are the basic ideas explaining the cause of disease in Chinese medicine theory. There are other reason for illness, such as insect bite, accidents, or contagiousness diseases. 

If we can adjust ourselves to the external weather and internal emotions, and strengthen our Qi through proper diet, exercise and lifestyle change, we can reduce the chance of disease to a minimum.