Kidney Yin Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 肾阴虚

Pinyin name: Shèn Yīn Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Kidneys Yin Deficiency / Empty Yin Deficiency

Related conditions: Diabetes Glossitis Stomatitis and seven other conditions

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Vertigo Itching Tinnitus Dry hair Dry skin and twenty four other symptoms

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

Tongue coating: Complete absence of coating

Tongue color: Red

Tongue shape: Cracked

Kidney Yin Deficiency causes false Heat symptoms, such as night sweats, thirst and five palm heat. These signs are from a depletion of Body Fluids and Essence. It can also lead to an insufficient amount of Marrow to fill the Brain, causing poor memory and dizziness. Yin Deficiency of the Kidneys is often paired together with Deficient Liver Yin and/or Deficient Lung Yin.

It can be caused by overwork over a period of several years. Another common cause is excessive sexual activity that consumes both Kidney Essence and Kidney Yin. Other causes include chronic long term illness, consumption of Body Fluids by Heat, prolonged blood loss, overdosage of Yang tonic herbs, smoking and Kidney-depleting foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar and fruit juices.

Related conditions

Abnormal vaginal discharge Irregular menstruation Prolonged periods Menopausal syndrome Trigeminal neuralgia Stomatitis Periodontitis Glossitis Diabetes Viral myocarditis

Diagnosing Kidney Yin Deficiency

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 Yin Deficiency will tend to exhibit rapid (Shu), empty (Xu) 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 Kidney Yin Deficiency might experience symptoms like tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness and night sweats (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Formula summary

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1119 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is also used to treat Blood Deficiency or Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1350 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Kidney and Liver Yin. Improves vision.

Formula summary

Qi Ju Di Huang Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1350 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Qi Ju Di Huang Wan is also used to treat Liver Yang Rising or Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Qi Ju Di Huang Wan

Er Zhi Wan

Source date: 1534 AD

Number of ingredients: 2 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Liver Yin. Nourishes Kidney Yin.

Formula summary

Er Zhi Wan is a 2-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Glossy Privet Fruits (Nu Zhen Zi) and Eclipta Herbs (Mo han lian) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1534 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Er Zhi Wan is also used to treat Kidney Deficiency or Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency causing Heat in the Blood.

Read more about Er Zhi Wan

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 with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

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

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan

Liang Di Tang

Source date: 1826 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Yin. Cools Blood. Stop bleeding.

Formula summary

Liang Di Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1826 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Liang Di Tang is also used to treat Heat in the Blood or Kidney Deficiency.

Read more about Liang Di Tang

Dang Gui Di Huang Yin

Source date: 1640 AD

Number of ingredients: 7 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes Blood. Tonifies Kidney and Liver Yin. Regulates the menstrual cycle.

Formula summary

Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is a 7-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Dong Quai (Dang Gui) and Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1640 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Blood.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Dang Gui Di Huang Yin is also used to treat Kidney-Deficiency or Liver Blood and Kidney Essence Deficiency.

Read more about Dang Gui Di Huang Yin

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Formula summary

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Ba Wei Di Huang Wan is also used to treat Yang Deficiency or Kidney Yang Deficiency.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Yu Nu Jian

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Drains Heat from the Stomach. Nourishes Yin.

Formula summary

Yu Nu Jian is a 5-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Gypsum (Shi Gao) and Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Heat from the Organs.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Yu Nu Jian is also used to treat Stomach Fire or Stomach Heat.

Read more about Yu Nu Jian

Zuo Gui Yin

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Tonifies the Kidneys.

Formula summary

Zuo Gui Yin is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

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

Read more about Zuo Gui Yin

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Source date: 2002 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Clears Liver Fire from Stagnant Liver Qi.

Formula summary

Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Mudan Peony Bark (Mu Dan Pi) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 2002 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that clear Liver-Heat.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San is also used to treat Stagnant Liver-Qi turning into Fire.

Read more about Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San

Diet recommendations

Same as Kidney Essence Deficiency pattern, it is recommended to eat a lot of whole grains with protein complement such as legumes or meat, cooked vegetables and greens to support the Kidneys. Pork, duck, milk and congee are especially useful. Avoid coffee and other caffeinated foods and drinks, alcohol, sugar and tobacco smoking.

Special highlight: the link between menopausal syndrome and Kidney Yin Deficiency

Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) is the key herb for Zuo Gui Yin, a formula used for menopausal syndrome caused by Kidney Yin Deficiency

Decreasing of Kidney Essence is the fundamental cause for all menopause-related ailments. It can take the form of Kidney Yin Deficiency, Kidney Yang Deficiency or a combination of these two patterns. 

The Kidneys govern the bones and generate the marrow. In case of Kidney Yin Deficiency,  the Yin and Essence fails to nourish the lower parts of the body properly, therefore the lower back and knees become weak and sore. It can even result in some atrophy of the lower extremities the most severe...Read more about menopausal syndrome

Special highlight: the link between prolonged periods and Kidney Yin Deficiency

Unprepared Rehmannia (Di Huang) is the key herb for Liang Di Tang, a formula used for prolonged periods caused by Kidney Yin Deficiency

Typical symptoms for prolonged periods caused by Kidney Yin Deficiency: Dry throat Dry stools Malar flush Night sweats Scanty periods

Recommended herbal formulas: Liang Di Tang, Er Zhi Wan

Having too many children too close to each other or prolonged overwork without proper rest can harm Kidney Yin. It can lead to Empty Heat if the Deficient condition is not addressed for a long time. Then the Blood get agitated by the Heat and leaks out of vessels continuously even when the periods should have ended. 

The treatment principle is to nourish Yin, consolidates the Kidneys, clear Empty Heat, stop bleeding and regulates the periods.

Read more about prolonged periods