Gallbladder Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 胆虚

Pinyin name: Dǎn Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Gallbladder Deficiency / Empty


Common symptoms: Timidity Dizziness Indecision Nervousness Easily scared and six other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue description: Pale or normal

This is really the description of a personality rather than a pattern: that is, when a person lacks courage and initiative and is very shy and timid.

The Gallbladder is the Yang aspect of the Liver so this pattern goes together with Liver Qi Deficiency (Qi is Yang in nature).

Although the pattern of Liver-Qi Deficiency is not often mentioned, it does exist and its clinical manifestations include some Liver-Blood Deficiency symptoms such as dizziness and blurred vision (which are also present in the pattern of Gallbladder Deficiency).

Essentially, the pattern of Gallbladder Deficiency occurs together with that of Liver-Qi Deficiency, which itself gives rise to Liver Blood Deficiency. Normally, Liver-Blood Deficiency gives rise to anxiety and insomnia. However, when it is combined with Liver-Qi and Gallbladder Deficiency, it gives rise to fear, lack of courage, indecision and often depression.

Diagnosing Gallbladder Deficiency

The Gallbladder is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Gallbladder in Chinese Medicine

Diagnosing a pattern in Chinese Medicine is no easy feat and should be left to professional practitioners.

In particular one has to know how to differentiate between different types of pulses and tongue coatings, shapes and colors. Here patients with Gallbladder Deficiency will tend to exhibit weak (Ruo) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Gallbladder Deficiency might experience symptoms like timidity, easily scared, lack of courage and indecision (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Gallbladder Deficiency

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Hot-Phlegm. Clears Gallbladder heat. Regulates Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Formula summary

Wen Dan Tang is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Crow-Dipper Rhizomes (Ban Xia) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1174 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that dry Dampness and transform Phlegm.

Besides Gallbladder Deficiency, Wen Dan Tang is also used to treat Phlegm or Phlegm-Heat.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang

Most important herbs used to treat Gallbladder Deficiency