Night sweats are episodes of sweating that occur while a person is sleeping. The person affected by night sweats can wake up with their night-clothes and bedding damp with sweat. Some people can al-so sweat excessively during the day. Night sweats also involve the hypothalamus, but in this case, the kidneys and adrenals are also involved. In TCM, it can signal a depletion of the energy the Chinese call jing, which is our basic life energy.
The adrenal glands work with the hypothalamus to regulate inflammation and body temperature. They produce cortisol, a hormone which cools down inflammation and heat in the body. When the adrenals are weak or exhausted, levels of heat and inflammation can rise. The adrenal glands influence the kidneys and the kidneys influence the hypothalamus to help regulate water retention and loss.
Night sweats are a major symptom of adrenal fatigue. Other symptoms include moodiness (unreasonable anger or sadness), absent-mindedness, fatigue, anxiety and restless sleep. Due to excessive stress, sugar and caffeine consumption and nutritional deficiencies, many women’s adrenal glands are exhausted by the time they reach menopause, which is why adrenal fatigue can be a factor in hot flashes (and other menopausal symptoms).
Licorice root can be helpful here. Not only does it have a cortisol-sparing action, it also contains phytoestrogens. Licorice helps the body hold onto fluids better, thus reducing night sweats. When the adrenals are severely weakened, Adrenal Support may be helpful.
The Schizandra berries in Nervous Fatigue Formula are used in TCM to help the body conserve jing and prevent the loss of fluids. One of the indications for Nervous Fatigue Fromula is night sweats, so this blend may be helpful when night sweats are accompanied by a feeling of burn-out and nervous exhaustion.
Yin deficiency is also seen as a cause of night sweats in TCM. HY-C is designed to treat deficient yin. If you have night sweats along with excessive thirst, dryness of the mouth and a burning sensation in the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, this formula may also be helpful.
Another specific herb for night sweats is sage. Sage has the ability to help the hypothalamus regulate the sweat glands. Taken as a hot tea, it promotes sweating. Taken as a cold decoction it has the opposite effect and helps to reduce hot flashes, night sweats and excessive perspiration.
So, this summer, don’t sweat it! Figure out what remedies your body needs and keep cool instead.