Objective: To explore the analysis methods for composite traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) constitutions.
Methods: The epidemiological data of TCM constitutions were collected from 974 volunteers via a cross-sectional survey. The samples were classified into 9 constitution types according to the maximal standardized scores of imbalanced constitutions. The correlation matrix of 9 constitutions was computed. The standardized scores of 9 constitutions of all the volunteers were ranked respectively, and the composite status of every two constitutions was observed using cross tabulation. The constitution types of all the volunteers were transformed into ternary code of 9 digits, and the composite status of 3 or more than 3 kinds of constitution types was analyzed.
Results: According to the maximal standardized scores of imbalanced constitutions, of 974 volunteers, 227, 148, 218, 102, 31, 81, 44, 97 and 26 volunteers had balanced constitution, qi-deficiency constitution, yang-deficiency constitution, yin-deficiency constitution, phlegm-dampness constitution, heat-dampness constitution, blood stasis constitution, qi-stagnation constitution, and inherited special constitution, respectively. The standardized scores of balanced constitution were negatively correlated with those of imbalanced constitutions, while there was a positive correlation between the standardized scores of every two imbalanced constitutions. Among the 8 imbalanced constitutions, one kind of imbalanced constitutions was usually complicated with another kind of imbalanced constitutions. The number of qi-deficiency constitution complicated with yang-deficiency constitution, qi-deficiency constitution complicated with yin-deficiency constitution, and yin-deficiency constitution complicated with yang-deficiency constitution ranked the top three. The constitution types of 974 volunteers were transformed into a total of 465 ternary codes, showing a total of 465 kinds of constitution types; the simplex constitution, the approximately simplex constitution, and the composite constitution of two or more than two types were found in 259, 130, and 585 volunteers, respectively.
Conclusion: Cross tabulation can show the composite status of every two constitutions, while the ternary code can show the composite status of three or more than three constitutions.