Fire is one of the six climatic pathogenic factors (ie a quality in the environment or climate which can cause disease). It is of the same nature as Heat with many of the same manifestations, only more extreme in nature.

It also forms part of the cycle of the Wu-Xing or 5 Elements.

Although sharing similarities with Heat, Fire in TCM is considered more “solid” with a more drying nature. 

The nature of Fire is to move upwards towards the head, therefore drying fluids and injuring Blood and Yin. In turn it will deplete Qi and affect the mind. It also affects the mind more than Heat, causing anxiety, insomnia, mental agitation or mental illness. 

Fire can be classified as:

  • Excess Type: – Clinical manifestations include high fever, red face & eyes, dry mouth, thirst, dark-scanty urine and mental agitation. The tongue is usually red with a yellow coating. The pulse will be Full-Rapid.
  • Deficient Type: – This arises from Yin Deficiency manifesting with night sweating, heat in the chest, palms and soles, dry mouth and afternoon fever. The tongue is red and ‘peeling’ with a Floating-Empty and Rapid pulse.

The organs most affected by Fire are the Heart, Liver, Stomach, Kidneys, Lungs and Intestines.