Sore Throat


Sore throat is commonly seen. It can be divided into two types: excess and deficiency.

Etiology and Pathogenesis

The throat communicates with the stomach and the lung through the esophagus and the trachea respectively. Sore throat of excess type (excess of heat) is due to exogenous pathogenic wind heat that scorches the lung system or due to the accumulated heat in the Lung and Stomach Meridians that disturbs upward. Sore throat of deficiency type (deficiency of yin) is due to the exhaustion of the kidney yin that fails to flow upward to moisten the throat, while the asthenic fire flares up instead.


a) Syndrome of excess of heat:

Main manifestations: Abrupt onset with chills, fever, headache, congested and sore throat, thirst, dysphagia, constipation, reddened tongue with thin yellow coating, superficial and rapid pulse.

Analysis: Exogenous pathogenic wind heat invades the exterior portion of the body, leading to chills, fever and headache. After having been transmitted to the lung system the pathogenic wind heat causes sore throat and dysphagia. The lung is exteriorly - interiorly related with the large intestine. Since the pathogenic heat consumes the body fluid, there are symptoms of thirst and constipation. Reddened tongue with thin yellow coating, superficial and rapid pulse are signs of the pathogenic wind heat invading the lung.

b) Syndrome of deficiency of yin:

Main manifestations: Gradual onset without fever or with low fever, slightly congested throat with intermittent pain or pain during swallowing, dryness of the throat, more marked at night, feverish sensation in the palms and soles, reddened and furless tongue, thready and rapid pulse.

Analysis: The Kidney Meridian of Foot - Shaoyin travels to the throat. Because the kidney yin is insufficient to run up to moisten the throat, the throat is slightly congested with mild pain on and off and with dryness more marked at night. Feverish sensation in the palms and soles, red tongue, thready and rapid pulse are signs of deficiency of yin that causes yang preponderance.


a) Syndrome of excess of heat:

Method: To disperse wind and eliminate heat by puncturing the points of Hand - Taiyin and Foot - Yangming Meridians with the reducing method.


  • [LU11 - LI4 - ST44 - SI17].

Explanation: Pricking LU11 to let a few drops of blood out is used to clear off the heat from the lung and relieve pain. LI4 disperses exterior pathogenic factors from the Lung Meridian and the accumulated heat from the Yangming Meridians. ST44, the ying-spring point of the Stomach Meridian, reduces heat in the stomach. SI17 is a local point used to ease the pain of a sore throat.

b) Syndrome of deficiency of yin:

Method: To nourish yin and descend fire by puncturing with the reinforcing method at points of Shaoyin Meridians of Hand and Foot as the principal points.


  1. [KI3 - LU10 - RN23]
  2. [KI6 - LU7 - LI18].

The above two prescriptions may be used alternatively.

Explanation: KI3 is the yuan-primary point of the Kidney Meridian which runs up to the throat. LU10 is the ying-spring Point of the Lung Meridian. Combination of the two points nourishes yin and reduces the fire. KI6 and LU7, a pair of the Eight Confluent Points, relieve sore throat by leading the asthenic fire downward. LI18 and RN23 are local points for relieving pain.


Sore throat as described here is involved in acute tonsilitis, acute andchronic pharyngitis.