Heart Yin Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 心阴虚

Pinyin name: Xin Yin Xu

Associated TCM concepts: Heart Yin Deficiency / Empty

Related conditions: Postpartum depression Absence of menstruation

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Anxiety Insomnia Tinnitus Dry mouth Dizziness and eighteen other symptoms

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

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

This pattern developed from Heart Blood Deficiency. Both patterns share similar symptoms such as insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, easily scared, poor memory and anxiety, but with also has additional Empty Heat symptoms such as malar flush, mental restlessness and night sweats. Middle-aged or elderly people have more tendency to have Heart Yin Deficiency while Heart Blood Deficiency is often seem more among younger people, especially young women.

Heart Yin Deficiency is often caused by or come together with Kidney Yin Deficiency since Kidney Body Fluids cannot rise to nourish and cool the Heart and prevent the flaring up of Empty Heat. Other factors can also leads to Heart Yin Deficiency, such as keeping too busy, staying up too late, getting up too early, excessive study, working and talking. Finally, long term anxiety or worry and excessive exposure to Exterior Heat deplete Body Fluids, which also play a role in causing Heart Yin Deficiency. 

Diagnosing Heart Yin Deficiency

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

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 Yin Deficiency will tend to exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu), fine (Xi) or floating (Fu) pulses as well as a red tongue with complete absence of coating.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Heart Yin Deficiency might experience symptoms like palpitations, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep and easily scared (full list here above).

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

Read more about Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

Source date: 1742 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Nourishes Yin.

Formula summary

Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen) and Dong Quai (Dang Gui) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1742 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Read more about Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang

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.

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