Heart Blood Deficiency

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 心血虚      Pinyin name: Xīn Xuè Xū

Pattern nature: Empty

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Blood Deficiency

Common combinations: Spleen and Heart Blood Deficiency Liver and Heart Blood Deficiency

Causes

Precursor patterns: Liver Blood Deficiency Spleen Qi Deficiency Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency and one other possible precursors

Common causes: 1. Diet, 2. Emotional stress, 3. Loss of Blood

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Easily scared Excessive dreams

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue description: Pale thin and slightly dry tongue

Treatment

Treatment principle: Nourish Blood, tonify the Heart, calm the Mind.

Common formulas: Si Wu Tang Gui Pi Tang Shen Qi Si Wu Tang

Pathology

This pattern is manifested by a pale face, pale lips and a pale tongue due to lack of Blood supply. Heart Blood Deficiency may eventually cause Heart Yin Deficiency because Blood is a Yin element. Dizziness is also a symptom because not sufficient Blood is able to nourish the Brain. 

Heart Blood Deficiency hurts the Mind (神 Shen) which resides in the Heart. Therefore, it causes symptoms such as insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, anxiety, poor memory and tendency to be scared.

Another typical symptom is palpitation due to Heart Qi Deficiency which is a result of Heart Blood Deficiency. Blood is the mother of Qi. It often happens in the evening and at rest, often with a feeling of anxiety or uneasiness in the chest. 

Causes

Precursor patterns: Heart Blood Deficiency can derive from Liver Blood Deficiency Spleen Qi Deficiency Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency Lung and Heart Qi Deficiency

Diet: A diet that is not rich in nourishment or in Blood-producing foods such as red meat, can give rise to Spleen Qi Deficiency and it causes Heart Blood Deficiency eventually.  It is because the Food Qi (Gu Qi) produced by the Spleen is the origin of Blood, a poor diet over a long period of time can cause general body Blood Deficiency, especially in the Heart.

Emotional stress: Long-term anxiety, sadness, grief and worry disturb the Mind and suppress the Heart function of governing Blood.

Loss of Blood: A serious loss of blood such as hemorrhaging during childbirth can give rise to general Blood Deficiency. It develops to Heart Blood Deficiency eventually as the Heart governs Blood.

Diagnosing Heart Blood Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se) or fine (Xi)

Tongue description: Pale thin and slightly dry tongue

Main symptoms: Easily scared Excessive dreams

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the palpitations, insomnia, poor memory and pale tongue.

Treating Heart Blood Deficiency

Treatment principle

Nourish Blood, tonify the Heart, calm the Mind.

Herbal formulas used to treat Heart Blood Deficiency

Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation.

Formula summary

Si Wu Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 846 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Blood.

Besides Heart Blood Deficiency, Si Wu Tang is also used to treat Blood Deficiency or Blood Stagnation.

Read more about Si Wu Tang

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Formula summary

Gui Pi Tang is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1529 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi and Blood.

Besides Heart Blood Deficiency, Gui Pi Tang is also used to treat Qi Deficiency or Blood Deficiency.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang

Shen Qi Si Wu Tang

Source date: 846 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Restores and nourishes Blood. Stimulates Blood circulation. Tonifies Qi.

Formula summary

Shen Qi Si Wu Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 846 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Blood.

Besides Heart Blood Deficiency, Shen Qi Si Wu Tang is also used to treat Pericardium Blood Deficiency.

Read more about Shen Qi Si Wu Tang

Diet recommendations

Eat a balanced diet including lamb, Dang Gui and ginger soup, bone marrow soup, milk, black and adzuki beans, congee. Eat only cooked foods; do not skip meals.

As for sports, do light aerobic or stretching exercises such as Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. 

As for other therapies, try moxibustion over the lower abdomen, meditation and breathing exercises. 

Special highlight: the link between postpartum depression and Heart Blood Deficiency

Ginseng (Ren Shen) is the key herb for Gui Pi Tang, a formula used for postpartum depression caused by Heart Blood Deficiency

Typical symptoms for postpartum depression caused by Heart Blood Deficiency: Fatigue Anxiety Insomnia Tearfulness Poor memory Palpitations Loss of libido Feeling of guilt

Recommended herbal formula: Gui Pi Tang

The most common reason for a new mother to contract Blood Deficiency is when she experienced a large blood-loss during childbirth. That being said, some women have pre-existing Blood Deficiency which can worsen postpartum even though they didn't lose a large amount of blood when giving birth.

The Heart is the most affected Organ by a general Blood Deficiency because it governs the Blood. The Mind, which is housed in the Heart, gets weakened and lose stability as a consequence of Heart Blood...Read more about postpartum depression

Consequence patterns

Pericardium Blood Deficiency

Pericardium Blood Deficiency is an obvious consequence of the mentioned pattern. 

Blood Deficiency

The Heart is the place where the Grain Qi (Food Qi) from the Spleen is transformed into Blood. When the Heart Blood is lacking, there is likely a general body Blood Deficiency. 

Heart Yin Deficiency

Blood is a Yin element. Therefore, prolonged Heart Blood Deficiency can eventually evolve to Heart Yin Deficiency. 

Spleen Blood Deficiency

From mental emotional point of view, Heart Blood Deficiency have influence over the Spleen. According to the Five Phases Theory, the Heart is the mother of the Spleen.