Heart Yin Deficiency

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At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 心阴虚      Pinyin name: Xin Yin Xu

Pattern nature: Empty

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Yin Deficiency

Common combinations: Kidneys And Heart Not Harmonized

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Night sweats Five palm heat Feeling of heat General sensation of unease

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu), Fine (Xi), Floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Red or normal tongue with no coating, redder tip with swollen red pointes on tip, deep midline crack

Treatment

Treatment principle: Nourish Heart Yin, calm the Mind, clear Empty-Heat.

Common formulas: Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Pathology

This pattern often derives from Heart Blood Deficiency. Both patterns share similar symptoms such as palpitations, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, easily scared, poor memory, restlessness and anxiety.

Blood is a type of Yin element. If Heart Blood get insufficient over a long period of time without being treated, it can eventually develop to the Yin Deficiency. Therefore, middle-aged or elderly patients have more tendency to have Heart Yin Deficiency, while Heart Blood Deficiency is more seem among younger patients, especially young women.

Heart Yin Deficiency may also evolve to Empty-Heat pattern, with typical manifestations of malar flush,  five-palm heat and feeling of heat especially in the afternoon or evening.

Diagnosing Heart Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), empty (Xu), fine (Xi) or floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Red or normal tongue with no coating, redder tip with swollen red pointes on tip, deep midline crack

Main symptoms: Night sweats Five palm heat Feeling of heat General sensation of unease

Diagnosis commentary: The key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the palpitations, mental restlessness, night sweating and tongue without coating.

Treating Heart Yin Deficiency

Treatment principle

Nourish Heart Yin, calm the Mind, clear Empty-Heat.

Herbal formulas used to treat Heart 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. Invented in 16th century, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish the Heart and calm the Mind.

Besides Heart Yin Deficiency, Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is also used to treat Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency or Kidneys And Heart Not Harmonized.

Read more about Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Diet recommendations

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 adzuki beans, soya, tofu and milk in the diet.

As for other therapies, try oil massage, breathing exercises and cupping over the upper back to relieve Stagnation and Deficient Empty-Heat. Try go to bed as early as 9.30 PM and sleep for at least 8 hours. Try work out the emotional stress by taking some hobbies or works that are interesting and fulfilling. 

As for sports, avoid intense aerobic exercises. It is better to do light sports such as Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong. It is because they invite the Mind to participate in the Qi and Blood circulation of the body. Other than that, stretching, walking or swimming can be also beneficial. 

Special highlight: the link between absence of menstruation and Heart Yin Deficiency

Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) is the key herb for Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, a formula used for absence of menstruation caused by Heart Yin Deficiency

Typical symptoms for absence of menstruation caused by Heart Yin Deficiency: Anxiety Insomnia Tinnitus Dizziness Back pain Dry mouth Depression Dry throat Malar flush Poor memory Palpitations Night sweats

Recommended herbal formula: Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

The Heart's main function in Chinese Medicine is to govern the flow of Blood, the Blood vessels and to house the Spirit/ Mind. It can be greatly influenced by emotional stress such as sadness, worry, grief and guilt. 

The Heart connects to the Uterus and the Kidneys. These three Organs are closely related. Since Blood is a Yin elements, Heart and Kidney Yin Deficiency together can dry up the Blood and thus lead to an absence of menstruation. 

The treatment principle is to nourish Heart and...Read more about absence of menstruation

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

Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) is the key herb for Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan, a formula used for postpartum depression caused by Heart Yin Deficiency

If Heart Blood Deficiency is untreated for a while, it can worsen into Heart Yin Deficiency combined with Empty Heat. It is more common among mothers who had a pre-existing Yin Deficiency pattern. Liver and Kidney Yin Deficiency are commonly associated patterns.

Under this pattern, the degree of postpartum depression symptoms are much more severe than in the case of Heart Blood Deficiency. The include strong anxiety, mental restlessness, exhaustion and agitation. Insomnia can be especially...Read more about postpartum depression