'Deficient' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine

'Deficient' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine

Chinese: 虛      Pinyin:

Summary: Deficiency patterns refer to conditions where the balance between Yin and Yang is weak or when the body's capability to fight pathogenic factors is diminished.

One is typically Deficient in either Qi, Blood, Yin, Yang or Essence. The Deficiency manifests itself primarily in a hypersensitivity to stress and climatic factors as well as strong reactions to foods ingested.

The lack of vital substances usually results in less-than-ideal function of the internal Organs. Each Organ can manifest a variety of deficiency disorders, including functional.

It is impossible to generalize the clinical manifestations of Deficiency conditions as these depend on the Organ and the Vital Substance involved.

Generally, the most common manifestations are tiredness, loose stools, weak voice, desire to lie down, slightly pale tongue and weak pulse.

We can distinguish four types of Deficiencies: Blood Deficiency, Qi Deficiency, Yang Deficiency and Yin Deficiency.


The main symptoms of Blood Deficiency are a dull pale face, pale lips, blurred vision, dry hair, tiredness, poor memory, numbness or tingling, insomnia, scanty periods or amenorrhoea, a Fine or Choppy Pulse and a Pale-Thin tongue.

Those symptoms are due to dysfunction of various Organs. Deficiency of Liver-Blood causes blurred vision, tiredness, numbness or tingling and scanty periods. Deficiency of Heart-Blood causes pale face, pale lips, Pale tongue and insomnia. The organs which are most likely to suffer from Blood Deficiency are the Heart, Liver and Spleen.

Blood is part of Yin and a long-standing Deficiency of Blood gives rise to dryness, causing dry hair and nails.


The main symptoms are a pale face, a weak voice, slight sweating during daytime, slight shortness of breath, tiredness, lack of appetite and an Empty pulse.

Qi Deficiency is the most common and least severe deficiency from which patients typically suffer. Most of the above symptoms arise from weakness of Lungs-Qi failing to control breathing, and weakness of Spleen-Qi failing to transform and transport. 

Lungs and Spleen Qi Deficiency are most commonly taught, as it is the Spleen that produces Qi and the Lungs that govern Qi. However, there can be many other symptoms of Qi Deficiency, according to which Organ is involved, in particular Heart or Kidneys


The main symptoms are, in addition to those of Qi-deficiency: chilliness, a bright pale face, cold limbs, no thirst, a desire for hot drinks, loose stools, frequent pale urination, a Weak pulse and a Pale and wet tongue.

Qi is part of Yang, and Qi-Deficiency is similar in nature to Yang-Deficiency . In fact, the two are almost the same. The only difference is that in Qi-Deficiency, it is the Qi function of transformation that is mostly at fault, while in Yang-Deficiency, it is the Qi function of warming and protecting that is impaired.

The organs which most commonly suffer from Yang-Deficiency are the Spleen, Kidneys, Lungs, Heart and Stomach.


The main symptoms of Yin-Deficiency are a feeling of heat in the afternoon or evening, a dry throat at night, night sweating, thin body, a Floating-Empty pulse and a tongue without coating. Yin also moistens, hence the symptoms of dryness such as dry throat and tongue.

Again, the above are only the general symptoms of Yin-Deficiency, other symptoms depending on which Organ is mostly involved. The organs most likely to suffer from Yin-Deficiency are the Kidneys, Lungs, Heart, Liver and Stomach.

Other symptoms also depend on whether there is Deficient-Heat or not. If the Yin-Deficiency is severe, after some time, Deficient-Heat will develop, causing (in addition to the above symptoms of Yin deficiency) the following symptoms: a low-grade fever, a feeling of heat in the evening, five-palm heat and a Red tongue.