The Eight Syndrome Classification

Traditional Chinese medicine is a comprehensive medical system that has been used for thousands of years. One of the key concepts of traditional Chinese medicine is the classification of diseases into different syndromes based on their symptoms and characteristics. In this article, we will explore the eight syndrome classifications and their corresponding symptoms, pulse, and tongue diagnoses.

The Eight Syndrome Classifications

The eight syndrome classifications in traditional Chinese medicine are yang syndrome, yin syndrome, superficial syndrome, deep syndrome, cold syndrome, hot syndrome, deficiency syndrome, and excess syndrome.

Yang Syndrome

Yang syndrome refers to acute, active, forceful, and progressive diseases. Symptoms may include fever, love of cold, nervousness, and constipation. The pulse is typically superficial, big, rapid, slippery, and excessive, and the tongue is red in color with a yellowish and dry coating or prickles.

Yin Syndrome

Yin syndrome refers to chronic, weak, quiet, and inhibitive diseases. Symptoms may include fatigue, cold limbs, and shortness of breath. The pulse is normally deep, fine, slow, and weak, and the tongue is light in color and fat and tender, with a moist and sliding coating.

Superficial Syndrome

Superficial syndrome occurs in the skin and hair or in the external regions of the meridians.

Deep Syndrome

Deep syndrome occurs in the internal organs.

Cold Syndrome

Cold syndrome includes all diseases caused by cold pathogenic energy or by a decline in yang energy with yin excess. Symptoms may include low body temperature, pale complexion, fatigue, and sleeping with legs curled up.

Hot Syndrome

Hot syndrome includes all diseases caused by hot pathogenic energy or an excess of yang energy. Symptoms may include fever, depressed feeling, and constipation.

Deficiency Syndrome

Deficiency syndrome encompasses all diseases caused by a decline in body energy. Symptoms may include pale complexion, fatigue, and palpitations.

Excess Syndrome

Excess syndrome encompasses all diseases caused by an excess of pathogenic energy engaged in a violent struggle with body energy or an occurrence of energy congestion and blood coagulations due to an internal functional breakdown. Symptoms may include high fever, mental depression, and constipation.


Understanding the eight syndrome classifications is essential in traditional Chinese medicine for making accurate diagnoses and developing appropriate treatment plans. By identifying the unique symptoms and characteristics of each syndrome, practitioners can provide effective treatments that address the root cause of the disease.