Kidney Qi not Firm

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 肾所不固

Pinyin name: Shèn Suǒ Bù Gù

Associated TCM concepts: Kidneys Qi Deficiency / Empty


Common symptoms: Back pain Uterus prolapse Vaginal discharge Frequent urination Nocturnal emissions and four other symptoms

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

Tongue color: Pale

This pattern is also called ‘Lower Original Qi (元气 Yuan Qi) not Firm’, to show that it is also caused by a shortage of the Original Qi. When Original Qi is weak in the Lower Burner, Qi cannot hold Body Fluids and sperm which leads to many 'leaking' symptoms. This is one of the two typical characteristics of this pattern. The other typical characteristic is its 'Cold' symptoms (like lower back pain for instance), because it is also a type of Kidney Yang Deficiency (Qi is a Yang element).

When Kidney Qi and Original Qi are Deficient, the Kidneys cannot provide enough Qi to the Bladder, hence the urine cannot be held and this causes frequent urination, incontinence, enuresis, weak-stream urination and dribbling after urination. When Kidney Qi is weak, it cannot hold the sperm or vaginal secretions in women, which leads to spermatorrhoea, premature ejaculation, chronic vaginal discharge and nocturnal emissions without dreams.

The nocturnal emissions are without dreams because they are caused by a totally Qi Deficient situation, the sperm leaks out because Kidney Qi cannot hold it in. If nocturnal emissions happen at the same time as some vivid sexual dreams, this indicates some Heat Deficiency within the Kidneys arousing sexual desire.

Diagnosing Kidney Qi not Firm

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys 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 Kidney Qi not Firm will tend to exhibit deep (Chen) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Kidney Qi not Firm might experience symptoms like back pain, dribbling after urination, vaginal discharge and uterus prolapse (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Kidney Qi not Firm

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Formula summary

You Gui Wan is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi), Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) and Deer Antler Glue (Lu Jiao Jiao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm Yang and tonify.

Besides Kidney Qi not Firm, You Gui Wan is also used to treat Yang Deficiency or Kidneys failing to receive Qi.

Read more about You Gui Wan

Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan

Source date: 1682 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Stabilizes the Kidneys. Binds up the semen.

Formula summary

Jin Suo Gu Jing Wan is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Milkvetch Seeds (Sha Yuan Zi) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1682 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that secure Essence and stop enuresis.

Read more about Jin Suo Gu Jing 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.

Most important herbs used to treat Kidney Qi not Firm