Inspection of excretions

Traditionally, a practitioner would gather information about the appearance of saliva, mucus, vomitus, stools, and urine through an inspection. In most cases, however, this information will come from the practitioners’ questions to the patient regarding the appearance of these excretions.

(a) Saliva and mucus.
  (i) A bubbly foamy saliva could indicate the presence of Wind and Dampness.
 (ii) An excessive amount of watery saliva is a sign of Dampness or Cold.
(iii) A thick, colored, sticky phlegm is a sign of Phlegm Heat.
(b) Vomitus:
  (i) Watery vomitus without odor is an indication of Cold, especially if the patient has a desire to drink hot beverages.
 (ii) Sour-smelling vomitus together with a desire to drink cold beverages is a sign of Heat.
(iii) Slimy vomitus is a sign of Phlegm accumulation.
(iv) Presence of Blood in the vomitus can indicate ulcers or extreme Heat.
 (v) Intermittent vomiting can be a sign of food stagnation in the Stomach.
(c) Stools:
  (i) Watery stools, possibly containing undigested food, may be an indication of a Cold condition of the intestines.
 (ii) Stools that are not formed may indicate a weakness of Qi of the Zang–Fu responsible for digestion.
(iii) Hard, usually round, short stools indicate the presence of Heat.
(iv) The intensity of the odor can give additional information about the nature of the condition: A strong smell indicates the presence of more Heat.
(d) Urine:
  (i) The normal appearance of urine is light-yellow, with a rather faint odor.
 (ii) Pale-colored, copious urination may be an indication of the presence of Cold (Excess or deficiency).
(iii) Dark-colored, concentrated urine is more likely an indication of the presence of Heat.
(iv) A murky, cloudy appearance in the urine, sometimes described as “milky,” can be an indication of Phlegm-Dampness possibly combined with Heat.

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