Kidney Essence Deficiency

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 肾精虚      Pinyin name: Shèn Jīng Xū

Pattern nature: Empty

Causes

Precursor patterns: Kidney Yang Deficiency Liver Blood Deficiency Kidney Yin Deficiency

Common causes: 1. Poor constitution, 2. Excessive sexual activity, 3. Loss of Blood, 4. Childbirth

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Deafness Hair loss Sterility Dizziness Retardation and nine other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Red and peeled tongue

Treatment

Treatment principle: Nourish the Essence, tonify the Kidneys

Common formulas: Zuo Gui Wan Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

Pathology

Kidney Essence (Jing 精) Deficiency usually involves Deficiency of Kidney Yin and, to some extent, Kidney Yang. Its signs manifest in relation to growth, development, reproduction, sexuality, bones, marrow, the brain, teeth, memory and hair.

Poor hereditary constitution in children, aging, excessive sexual activity and Kidney Yin or Yang Deficiency over a prolonged time may lead to the decreasing of Kidney Essence.

In children, this pattern is almost always caused by a hereditary weakness. It can be due to parents being too old or in poor health at the time of conception. The typical manifestation is poor bone development and late closure of fontanelle. It is because the Essence is essential in generating Marrow and nourish the bones. For the same reason, this pattern can lead to bones softening as well as knees and legs weakness for adults. 

The Deficient Kidney Essence fails to fills the brain with Marrow, hence the symptoms of retardation for kids as well as poorer memory and decreased mental sharpness for adults. 

The Essence is also responsible for the hair growth. Therefore the lacking of Essence gives rise to hair lose or premature greying of hair. 

Finally, the Kidney Essence is the essential element in term of healthy sexual function. Therefore this pattern causes all kinds of sexual inability for both women and men as well as infertility and sterility. 

Causes

Precursor patterns: Kidney Essence Deficiency can derive from Kidney Yang Deficiency Liver Blood Deficiency Kidney Yin Deficiency

Poor constitution: In children, hereditary weakness is almost the only reason for this pattern. If often happens if the parents are too old or in poor health at the time of conception.

Excessive sexual activity: Excessive sexual activity consumes Kidney Essence.

Loss of Blood : For women, prolonged loss of blood over many years can lead to this pattern. It often happens to these suffering often from heavy periods.

Childbirth: This pattern can be caused by having too many kids too close together without proper recovery in between.

Diagnosing Kidney Essence Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu) or floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Red and peeled tongue

Main symptoms: Deafness Hair loss Sterility Dizziness Retardation Infertility Blurred vision Absentmindness Mental dullness Lower back pain Softening of bones Primary amenorrhoea Decreased mental sharpness Loss of hearing or deafness

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the poor bone development for children as well as weak knees, falling hair, weak sexual activity for adult.  If the pattern is due to Kidney Yin Deficiency, there won't be any coating. If it is caused by Kidney Yang Deficiency, the tongue will be pale.

Treating Kidney Essence Deficiency

Treatment principle

Nourish the Essence, tonify the Kidneys

Herbal formulas used to treat Kidney Essence Deficiency

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Formula summary

Zuo Gui Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Kidney Essence Deficiency, Zuo Gui Wan is also used to treat Yin Deficiency or Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

Source date: 1550 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Kidney Yang. Strengthens the Essence.

Formula summary

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1550 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm Yang and tonify.

Besides Kidney Essence Deficiency, Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is also used to treat Kidney Yang Deficiency.

Read more about Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

Diet recommendations

Eat a balanced diet of all cooked foods and those with a warm energy such as whole grains, legumes (especially aduki beans), meat (especially lamb, beef and pork), cooked vegetables and greens. Drink walnut tea or use walnuts in cooking. Asparagus, black cherry juice, raspberries and millet all aid Kidney Qi.

Avoid any intake of cold and raw foods and drinks, frozen yogurt, ice cream, popsicles, iced and refrigerated drinks, juices, sodas, coffee and other caffeinated foods and drinks, sugar, alcohol, soy milk and tofu.

Avoid excessive sexual activity, exposure to cold (especially over the lower abdomen and back), and excessive use of hot tubs and saunas, being sure to dunk or thoroughly rinse in cool water after they are used.

Wear a harimaki to protect the abdomen from the external Coldness. Apply moxibustion or ginger fomentations over the lower abdomen and Kidney regions. Try also breathing exercises. 

Get plenty of physical exercise as appropriate for your body's capability. Do the Four Purifications and Ujjayi (in the Winter) and the Eight Brocades, especially exercise numbers 7 and 8.

Consequence patterns

Liver Blood Deficiency

The Liver and Kidneys share a very close physiological relationship. One of the Liver's main function is to store Blood and it plays an important role in forming Essence which are mainly stored in the Kidneys. 

Therefore, Kidney Essence Deficiency can cause lacking of Blood in the Liver or vice versa, especially for women. 

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Kidney Yin or Yang Deficiency over a prolonged time may leads to Kidney Essence Deficiency and vice versa. 

Kidney Yin Deficiency

Kidney Yin or Yang Deficiency over a prolonged time may leads to Kidney Essence Deficiency and vice versa.