Dryness in Traditional Chinese Medicine

September 5, 2021
3 min

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the concept of "dryness" refers to one of the six pathogenic factors that can contribute to imbalances and illness in the body. Alongside factors such as wind, cold, and heat, dryness plays a significant role in TCM philosophy. In this article, we will explore the concept of dryness in TCM, its effects on the body, and how to address it for overall wellness.

The Impact of Dryness on our Health

Dryness is associated with the autumn season, the Lung organ, and the Metal element in TCM. Just like the dryness of autumn, internal dryness can affect our bodies, particularly the fluids that keep us balanced and healthy. When external dryness factors invade our bodies, it can lead to various symptoms such as dry mouth, nose, and throat, dull hair, dry stools, and scanty urine. The lungs, being a tender organ, are affected by dryness, causing symptoms like dry cough, sticky phlegm, gasping pain in the chest, and even bloody sputum. The connection between the lung and large intestine means that the lack of moisture can also result in dry stools and constipation.

Internal Dryness and its Manifestations

Apart from external dryness factors, there is also the concept of internal dryness, which arises from a deficiency of body fluids and yin. This deficiency can lead to symptoms related to the intestines, stomach, lungs, and other orifices like dry nose, dry throat, dry eyes, scanty urine, and dry feces. It is important to nourish the body with foods and herbs that replenish yin and blood to combat the effects of internal dryness.

Unveiling the Mystery of Autumn Dryness

In TCM, Autumn Dryness refers to the characteristic dryness that is prominent during the fall season. As nature presents a solemn and bleak scene, the climate becomes dry, lacking moisture. Autumn Dryness affects many people, causing symptoms like dryness in the nose and throat, dry cough with little phlegm, and dry skin. The lungs, which prefer moisture and despise dryness, are primarily affected by Autumn Dryness. Symptoms such as hoarseness of voice, dry skin, nasal sensitivity, constipation, and dry hair manifest when the lungs are impacted.

Internal Dryness and its Subtle Impacts

Internal dryness differs from external dryness as it stems from a deficiency of internal fluids, blood, and yin. This discrepancy means that internal dryness isn't necessarily induced by external weather conditions but rather by an innate imbalance. Therefore, addressing internal dryness requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on replenishing and nourishing the body with the necessary fluids and yin essence.

Signs of Autumn Dryness Invasion

When the body experiences an invasion of Autumn Dryness, several tell-tale signs manifest. These include hoarseness of voice, indicating dryness in the lungs and resulting in dry cough and phlegm. Dry skin can also arise, with associated itchiness and cracking due to the dry environment. Nasal sensitivity is common during autumn, as the delicate structures in the nose are susceptible to dryness. Additionally, constipation and dry, brittle hair can occur due to the overall dryness affecting the body.

With these insights into the concept of dryness in TCM, we can now delve into the methods of combating dryness and maintaining wellness. By understanding how dryness impacts our bodies and recognizing the signs of its invasion, we can take proactive steps to nourish and protect ourselves, particularly during the autumn season. In the following sections, we will explore the art of combating dryness through food and herbal remedies.

Nourishing the Body to Combat Dryness in TCM

When it comes to overcoming the effects of dryness in Traditional Chinese Medicine, incorporating certain foods and herbs into your diet can be incredibly beneficial. These natural remedies help replenish Qi (energy) and nourish the body to counteract the drying effects of external and internal dryness.

White Fungus (Tremella)

White Fungus, also known as Tremella, is a popular ingredient in TCM for moistening the lungs and relieving dryness and itchiness. It is rich in amino acids, which help moisturize the skin and improve hydration, giving it a radiant glow and elasticity. You can incorporate Tremella into your diet by adding it to sweet soups such as Longan Tremella Soup or Rock Sugar Pear with Tremella Soup, both of which are not only delicious but also highly beneficial for combating dryness.

Chinese Yam

Chinese Yam is another fantastic ingredient for nourishing the lungs and adjusting metabolism. It is a perfect example of food and medicine coming from the same source. Chinese Yam can be consumed raw or cooked in soups. It aids in nourishing the lungs, regulating metabolism, and the best part is, it is low in starch, so you don't have to worry about gaining weight while enjoying its wonderful benefits.

Lotus Root

Lotus Root is known for its ability to clear heat and nourish the spleen and stomach. In TCM, raw and cooked lotus roots have different properties. Raw lotus root can effectively cool the blood, disperse blood stasis, and clear internal heat, making it suitable for those experiencing dry mouth and excessive internal heat. On the other hand, cooking lotus root strengthens the spleen and stomach, nourishes Qi and blood, and stops diarrhea, making it a great option for those with weak digestion.


Pears have long been regarded as a beneficial fruit in TCM for moistening the lungs and stomach, as well as clearing heat and transforming phlegm. Ancient texts recommend pears for treating symptoms like dry cough with little phlegm, dry throat, and hoarseness. Fresh pear juice with honey is excellent for moisturizing the throat, while a stewed pear dish with rock sugar and Fritillaria can effectively alleviate coughs and promote throat health.


Lilies have remarkable properties for moistening the lungs, stopping coughing, calming the heart, and soothing the spirit. These slightly sweet and bitter-flavored flowers work wonders for maintaining respiratory health and treating coughs caused by dryness. For those who often suffer from insomnia and related symptoms, lilies can be highly effective in promoting restful sleep and calming the mind.

By incorporating these food and herbal remedies into your diet, you can help combat the effects of dryness and promote overall wellness. Remember, it's essential to nourish your body from within to counteract the drying effects of dryness in TCM. Embrace the richness of nature and allow these remedies to replenish your body's vital fluids and restore balance. Stay hydrated, maintain a wholesome diet, and experience the benefits of combating dryness in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Similar Articles

TCM 101

The Mystery of Qi: Unraveling the Essence of Life's Vital Force

Unraveling the Intricate Nature of Qi: A Fundamental Force in Our Universe and Bodies. Journey with us through Chinese philosophy and medicine to explore Qi, the vital energy that forms and sustains life.
July 21, 2021
2 min read

Discover how the Moxa App can bring balance to your life

Find a comfortable position and let's begin

By clicking Sign Up you're confirming that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By subscribing you agree to with our Privacy Policy and provide consent to receive updates from our company.
© 2023 Symposia Group Pte. Ltd. (Moxa). All right reserved.