Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

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At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 脾肾阳虚      Pinyin name: Pí Shèn Yáng Xū

Pattern nature: Empty combined pattern

Pattern(s) it combines from: Kidney Yang Deficiency Spleen Yang Deficiency

Causes

Precursor patterns: Spleen Yang Deficiency

Common causes: 1. Excessive consumption of cold and raw foods, 2. Excessive physical work, 3. Excessive sexual activity, 4. Chronic illness

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Apathy Diarrhea Weak legs Impotence Tiredness and nineteen other symptoms

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

Tongue description: Pale and wet.

Treatment

Treatment principle: Tonify and warm Spleen and Kidney Yang.

Common formulas: Li Zhong Wan

Pathology

The Spleen is the Organ that provides the material basis for our acquired constitution (Post-Heaven Essence), while the Kidneys provide the inherited constitution (Pre-Heaven Essence).

A Kidney Yang Deficiency contributes to a depletion of Spleen Yang and vice versa. This pattern results when Kidney Yang is insufficient to warm Spleen Yang or when a long-term Deficiency of Spleen Yang produces Dampness which can eventually injure Kidney Yang. This is always a chronic condition.

As the root of Grain Qi (Gu Qi), a Yang Deficiency in the Spleen leads to many Qi Deficiency (Qi is Yang in Nature) symptoms all over the body: lack of strength, tiredness, lassitude, feeling of cold and a desire to lie down.

Deficient Kidney-Yang cannot transform Water and Fluids accumulate, hence the edema and the abundant urination. It also cannot help the Spleen to transport and transform, resulting in chronic diarrhea and abdominal distension.

Causes

Precursor patterns: Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency can derive from Spleen Yang Deficiency

Excessive consumption of cold and raw foods: Excessive consumption of cold and raw foods may weaken Kidney Yang. Kidney depleting substances such as alcohol, coffee or sugar can also be factors.

Excessive physical work: Excessive physical work or exercise - especially lifting things - weakens Kidney Yang.

Excessive sexual activity: Excessive sexual activity in men, particularly masturbation, weakens Kidney Yang.

Chronic illness: A chronic illness, especially if it leads to Spleen Yang Deficiency, can over a long period of time lead to Kidney Yang Deficiency

Diagnosing Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen) or weak (Ruo)

Tongue description: Pale and wet.

Main symptoms: Apathy Diarrhea Weak legs Impotence Tiredness Lassitude Depression Loose stools Poor appetite Loss of libido Oedema of legs Lower back pain Feeling of cold Low sperm count Clear urination Urination at night Desire to lie down Cold and weak knees Cold and thin sperm Infertility in women Premature ejaculation Bright-white complexion Slight abdominal distention Sensation of cold in the back

Diagnosis commentary: Lower back pain, feeling of cold, loose stools and Deep-Weak pulse are enough in and of themselves to diagnose this pattern.

Treating Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

Treatment principle

Tonify and warm Spleen and Kidney Yang.

Herbal formulas used to treat Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency

Li Zhong Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Warms the Middle Burner. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Formula summary

Li Zhong Wan is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm the middle and dispel Cold.

Besides Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency, Li Zhong Wan is also used to treat Greater Yin stage.

Read more about Li Zhong Wan

Diet recommendations

Eat only cooked food (nothing raw) and favor foods that are warming in nature such as beef or lamb.

For exercising favor light activities such as walking, swimming, bicycling, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong.

Consequence patterns

Phlegm

When it persists for a long time, Kidney and Spleen Yang Deficiency frequently leads to the formation of Dampness and/or Phlegm.

Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing

If this combined pattern becomes chronic, it may lead to Kidney Yang Deficiency with Water overflowing