Kidney Yin Deficiency

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 肾阴虚      Pinyin name: Shèn Yīn Xū

Pattern nature: Empty

Pattern hierarchy: Specific pattern under Yin Deficiency

Common combinations: Kidney Yin Deficiency With Empty-Heat Blazing Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency Kidneys And Heart Not Harmonized Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency

Causes

Precursor patterns: Kidney Essence Deficiency Liver Blood Deficiency Liver Yin Deficiency and four other possible precursors

Common causes: 1. Overwork, 2. Excessive sexual activity, 3. Loss of Blood, 4. Chronic disease, 5. Loss of Body Fluids, 6. Over dosage of Chinese herbs, 7. Diet, 8. Physical over-exertion

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Anxiety Sweating Back pain Tiredness Lassitude and fourteen other symptoms

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

Tongue description: Red tongue without coating, cracked in severe cases

Treatment

Treatment principle: Nourish Kidney Yin, clear Empty Heat

Common formulas: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Zuo Gui Wan Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Pathology

This pattern often accompanies Kidney Essence Deficiency, as Kidney Yin includes Essence. When both element are depleted in the Kidneys, not enough Marrow is generated to fill the Brain, thus the symptoms of dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo and poor memory. The dizziness is mild and the tinnitus is often gradual and slow, like a rushing water sound. Marrow is also essential for nourishing the bones, thus the pattern also leads to symptoms like back and bone pain. 

Essence Deficiency also gives rise to symptoms like nocturnal emissions, infertility or little sperm. 

Body Fluids is also a form of Yin, therefore Yin Deficiency causes some degree of Dryness, resulting constipation, scanty dark urine as well as a dry mouth and throat, especially at night. 

When Kidney Yin Deficiency proceed for a long time without being treated properly, it can develop some Empty Heat symptoms such as night sweats, five palm heat, feeling of heat or fever in the afternoon or evening, malar flush, thirst but only with desire to drink in small sips and anxiety in the evening. 

Causes

Precursor patterns: Kidney Yin Deficiency can derive from Kidney Essence Deficiency Liver Blood Deficiency Liver Yin Deficiency Lung Yin Deficiency Stomach Yin Deficiency Stomach and Spleen Yin Deficiency Damp-Heat in the Bladder

Overwork: Prolonged overwork without proper resting, such as several years, can severely consume Kidney Yin.

Excessive sexual activity : Both Kidney Yin and Essence can be largely depleted due to excessive sexual activities.

Loss of Blood : According to TCM, the Liver and the Kidneys share the same rote. It is because the Liver stores the Blood and the Kidneys store Essence and both Elements are inter-transformable. Therefore, prolonged Loss of Blood, such as heavy periods, can cause Liver Blood Deficiency, which eventually develops to Kidney Yin Deficiency.

Chronic disease: Chronic diseases, especially these related to the Liver, Heart and Lungs, can give rise to Kidney Yin Deficiency.

Loss of Body Fluids: A febrile disease consumes Body Fluids, especially in the Heart. It can potentially give rise to Kidney Yin Deficiency.

Over dosage of Chinese herbs: If a patient is given over dosage of Kidney Yang tonifying TCM herbs, Kidney Yin Deficiency can occur.

Diet: Kindy Yang can be depleted due to long term smoking or excessive consumption of foods such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, and fruit juices.

Physical over-exertion: Physical over-exertion consumes Yin as well.

Diagnosing Kidney Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), empty (Xu) or floating (Fu)

Tongue description: Red tongue without coating, cracked in severe cases

Main symptoms: Anxiety Sweating Back pain Tiredness Lassitude Depression Infertility Malar flush Constipation Five palm heat Lower back pain Evening anxiety Diminished hearing Scanty dark urination Premature ejaculation Menopausal hot flushes Dry mouth and throat at night Feeling of heat in the evening Thirst with desire to drink in small sips

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the sweating and back pain.

Treating Kidney Yin Deficiency

Treatment principle

Nourish Kidney Yin, clear Empty Heat 

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. 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

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

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1584 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yin. Drains Fire.

Formula summary

Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1584 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Kidney Yin Deficiency, Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan is also used to treat Kidney Yin Deficiency With Empty-Heat Blazing or Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Zhi Bo Di Huang Wan

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.

Rest is one of the best and most important ways to replenish Yin. Any exercises evolving sweating such as aerobics, should be avoid. Try mild and gentle  sport such as swimming, walking, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. It is also recommended to try cupping over the back and breathing exercises. 

Balance life style and avoid late eating or sleep, overwork, Mental-excertion and excessive sexual activities. Avoid sauna and hot tubs. 

 

Related conditions

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

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

Consequence patterns

Kidney Yin Deficiency With Empty Heat Blazing

Kidney Yin Deficiency With Empty Heat Blazing always derives from Kidney Yin Deficiency

Kidneys And Heart Not Harmonized

If left untreated Kidney Yin Deficiency can lead to Kidneys And Heart Not Harmonized

Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency

If left untreated Kidney Yin Deficiency can lead to Kidney and Lung Yin Deficiency

Liver Yin Deficiency

Kidney Yin Deficiency facilitates the development of Liver Yin Deficiency on top of Liver Blood Deficiency. The Liver stores the Blood and the Kidneys stores the Essence. Both elements are interdependent. Prolonged Kidney Yin Deficiency can lead to lack of Liver Yin. 

Liver Yang Rising

The Liver and the Kidneys are closely related. Kidney Deficiency, especially the Yin of the Kidneys, can easily effect Liver Yin. If it is not treated for a while, Liver Yang Rising happens. 

Kidney Essence Deficiency

Kidney Essence (Jing 精) Deficiency usually involves Deficiency of Kidney Yin and, to some extent, Kidney Yang as well. Vice versa, Yin or Yang Deficiency of the Kidneys can also cause the lacking of Essence. 

Heart Yin Deficiency

Kidney Yin Deficiency can cause general Yin Deficiency as well as in other Organs, especially the Liver, Heart, Lungs and Stomach.

According to the Five Phases Theory, the Kidneys are water while the Heart is Fire. In case of Kidney Yin Deficiency, the water fails to rise to control and cool the Fire, resulting in flaring up of the Empty-Heat of the Heart. 

Lung Yin Deficiency

Kidney Yin Deficiency can cause general Yin Deficiency as well as in other Organs, especially the Liver, Heart, Lungs and Stomach

Stomach Yin Deficiency

Kidney Yin Deficiency can cause general Yin Deficiency as well as in other Organs, especially the Liver, Heart, Lungs and Stomach