Gallbladder Deficiency

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 胆虚      Pinyin name: Dǎn Xū

Pattern nature: Empty


Precursor patterns: Liver Qi Deficiency

Common causes: Emotional difficulties


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

Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo)

Tongue description: Pale or normal


Common formulas: Wen Dan Tang


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.


Precursor patterns: Gallbladder Deficiency can derive from Liver Qi Deficiency

Emotional difficulties: This can be the result of negative relationships during the childhood such as a bullied child or a child who was never encouraged and only reproached.

Diagnosing Gallbladder Deficiency

Treating Gallbladder Deficiency

Herbal formulas used to treat Gallbladder Deficiency

Wen Dan Tang

Source date: 1174 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

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

Formula summary

Wen Dan Tang is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. 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 Misting the Heart or Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart.

Read more about Wen Dan Tang

Consequence patterns

Heart Qi Deficiency

If left untreated Gallbladder Deficiency can lead to Heart Qi Deficiency

Liver Blood Deficiency

The Gallbladder represents the Yang aspect of the Liver so, when it is deficient, Liver-Qi is also deficient. And Liver-Qi deficiency usually will give rise to Liver-Blood Deficiency to some extent.