Lung Qi Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 肺气虚

Pinyin name: Fèi Qì Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Lungs Qi Deficiency / Empty

Related conditions: Anemia Ulcers Hepatitis and two other conditions


Common symptoms: Coughing Pale face Tiredness Weak voice Low energy and five other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

The Lungs govern Qi and respiration. Therefore there will be shortness of breath in case of Lung Qi Deficiency. However the condition is not severe as it is mostly on exertion and not full-blown symptoms of bronchitis or asthma. Symptoms like coughing can also appear if Lungs' Qi downwards directing function is impaired. 

In case of Lung Qi Deficiency, Qi's protecting, dispersing and descending function can not be performed properly and thus patients feel tired, weak and experience spontaneous sweating. 

Causes are various. One is when External Pernicious Influence such as Coldness stay long term in the Lungs and harm Qi there. Excessive use of antibiotics may block Cold in the Lungs further. Also, hereditary weakness from parents can be a reason behind this pattern. Finally, excessive leaning or stooping over desks or a diet rich in cold or raw food also have a big influence. 

Related conditions

Anemia Hepatitis Nervous exhaustion Habitual miscarriage Ulcers

Diagnosing Lung Qi Deficiency

The Lungs is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Lungs 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 Lung Qi Deficiency will tend to exhibit empty (Xu) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Lung Qi Deficiency might experience symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, weak voice and spontaneous sweating (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Lung Qi Deficiency

Ba Zhen Tang

Source date: 1326 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and augments Qi. Tonifies and augments Blood.

Formula summary

Ba Zhen Tang is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen) and Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1326 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi and Blood.

Besides Lung Qi Deficiency, Ba Zhen Tang is also used to treat Spleen Qi Deficiency or Spleen and Stomach Qi Deficiency.

Read more about Ba Zhen Tang

Diet recommendations

It is recommended to eat only cooked foods and not iced drinks. Eat sufficient protein at each meal, black bean, soup with ginseng, garlic and onions, cooked vegetables and greens and plenty of grains, especially rice. Avoid cold or raw foods as well as drinks, salads, fruit, juices, alcohol and caffeine. 

Most important herbs used to treat Lung Qi Deficiency