Heart Yang Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 心阳虚

Pinyin name: Xīn Yáng Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Heart Yang

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Fatigue Cold hands Palpitations Feeling of cold Bright-pale face and four other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Knotted (Jie), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue description: Pale, slightly wet, sometimes swollen

Some of the symptoms are the same as for Heart Qi Deficiency (palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue, sweating and pale face): this is because Heart Qi Deficiency could be considered as included within Heart Yang deficiency. In other words, it is not possible to have a Deficiency of Yang without a Deficiency of Qi.

Feelings of cold and cold hands are due to Heart Yang not transporting Blood to the extremities to warm them. The slight feeling of stuffiness in the heart region is due to Heart-Yang not moving Qi in the chest and hence leading to a slight Qi Stagnation in the chest.

The bright-pale face is typical of Yang Deficiency (in Blood Deficiency the face would be dull-pale). The lips are slightly dark because deficient Heart Yang fails to move Qi and Blood and this may cause a slight Blood Stasis. Please note that this sign would appear only in severe and advanced cases of Heart Yang Deficiency.

The tongue is Pale because Heart-Yang cannot transport enough Blood to it, and it is slightly wet because Heart-Yang cannot transform the Fluids, which therefore accumulate on the tongue.

Diagnosing Heart Yang Deficiency

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

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), knotted (Jie) or weak (Ruo)

Tongue description: Pale, slightly wet, sometimes swollen

Possible symptoms: Fatigue Cold hands Palpitations Feeling of cold Bright-pale face Slightly dark lips Spontaneous sweating Shortness of breath on exertion Slight feeling of stuffiness in the heart

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 Yang Deficiency will tend to exhibit deep (Chen), knotted (Jie) or weak (Ruo) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Heart Yang Deficiency might experience symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath on exertion, fatigue and spontaneous sweating (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Heart Yang Deficiency

Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Rectifies relationship between Yin and Yang. Harmonizes Heart and Kidney. Stabilizes and secures Essence.

Formula summary

Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) and White Peony Roots (Bai Shao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Yin and Yang.

Read more about Gui Zhi Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang

Diet recommendations

In terms of diet it is essential to only eat cooked foods and warm drinks. Lamb and beef are beneficial as are spicy foods. Avoid cold, refrigerated, raw and iced drinks and foods, including salads. Do not skip meals.

It is important to work on and resolve any emotional issues that might have caused Heart Qi Deficiency, especially sadness and grief. 

Avoid excessive work and excessive sexual activity and get plenty of rest.

Most important herbs used to treat Heart Yang Deficiency