Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency

TCM Education Center > Patterns of disharmony > Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency

Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 心肾阴虚

Pinyin name: Xīn Shèn Yīn Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Heart Kidneys Yin Deficiency / Empty

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Anxiety Insomnia Tinnitus Dizziness Poor memory and five other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Red, Red tip

Tongue shape: Cracked

Also called "Kidneys and Heart not Harmonized", this pattern occurs when Kidney Yin is Deficient and cannot nourish the Heart Yin which thus becomes Deficient. It results in a flaring up of Empty-Heat in the Heart with accompanying symptoms such as mental restlessness, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep and nocturnal emissions. The other symptoms like poor memory, dizziness or tinnitus are due to the Kidney Yin failing to nourish the brain and opening into the ear.

This disharmony between the Heart and the Kidneys can be caused by protracted overwork or overactivity, excessive sexual activity, long term chronic illnesses and emotional shocks or prolonged emotional problems such as anxiety, sadness or depression.

Diagnosing Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency

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

Pulse type(s): Overflowing (Hong), rapid (Shu) or empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Red, Red tip

Tongue shape: Cracked

Possible symptoms: Anxiety Insomnia Tinnitus Dizziness Poor memory Palpitations Night sweats Restlnessness Dream disturbed sleep Spontaneous and nocturnal emissions

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 Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency will tend to exhibit overflowing (Hong), rapid (Shu) or empty (Xu) pulses as well as a red, red tip tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency might experience symptoms like palpitations, insomnia, poor memory and night sweats (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Source date: 16th century

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic: Nourishes Yin, Blood and Vital Essence of the Heart and Kidney. Clears away pathogenic Heat, clears Deficient Heat. Sedative.

Formula summary

Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is a 14-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 16th century, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish the Heart and calm the Mind.

Besides Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency, Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is also used to treat Heart Yin Deficiency or Disharmony between Heart and Kidneys.

Read more about Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Jiao Tai Wan

Source date: 1522 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Restores the functional communication between the Heart and the Kidneys.

Formula summary

Jiao Tai Wan is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Goldthread Rhizomes (Huang Lian) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1522 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish the Heart and calm the Mind.

Besides Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency, Jiao Tai Wan is also used to treat Disharmony between Heart and Kidneys caused by Kidney Yang Deficiency.

Read more about Jiao Tai Wan

Diet recommendations

Same as Kidney Essence Deficiency pattern, it is recommended to eat a lot of whole grains with protein complement such as legumes or meat, cooked vegetables and greens to support the Kidneys. Pork, duck, milk and congee are especially useful. Avoid coffee and other caffeinated foods and drinks, alcohol, sugar and tobacco smoking.

Avoid spicy foods. If digestion is good, fruit is beneficial, especially berries and purple grapes. If digestion is impaired, eat all cooked foods. Sufficient protein at each meal is important. Do not skip meals. Include black and aduki beans, soya, tofu and milk in the diet.

Most important herbs used to treat Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency