Qi Deficiency

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 气虚      Pinyin name: Qì Xū

Pattern nature: Empty

Pattern hierarchy: General pattern with specific forms like Kidney Qi not Firm or Spleen Qi Deficiency

Common combinations: Qi and Blood Deficiency

Causes

Precursor patterns: Phlegm Misting the Heart Spleen not controlling Blood

Common causes: 1. Weak constitution, 2. Overwork, 3. Chronic diseases

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Fatigue Weak voice Listlessness Loose stools Poor appetite and five other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue description: Pale tongue

Treatment

Treatment principle: Tonify general body and Organs

Common formulas: Si Jun Zi Tang Liu Jun Zi Tang

Pathology

When Qi is Deficient, it typically appears as tiredness or weakness in the body. Since Qi is lacking, it is unable to perform any of its functions. Some of the symptoms for Qi Deficiency also commonly apply for other conditions. 

This may apply to any of the different types of Qi, including the Qi in Organs. For instance, if Defensive Qi is insufficient, the person may be prone to frequent colds and flu and spontaneous sweating. If Spleen Qi is Deficient, the Uterus or Bladder may prolapse or the appetite may be poor and digestion sluggish. Kidneys Qi Deficiency may cause poor Body Fluids regulation and thus leads to edema, frequent urination or incontinence.

The most common types of Qi Deficiency are Lungs and Spleen Qi Deficiencies. This is because the Lungs 'govern Qi' and the Spleen is the source of Qi through its activity of transformation and transportation. Heart or Kidneys Qi Deficiency is also fairly common. 

Causes

Precursor patterns: Qi Deficiency can derive from Phlegm Misting the Heart Spleen not controlling Blood

Weak constitution : If patients have some inherited conditions, they are prone to have weaker constitutions then others. This can be a cause of general Qi Deficiency.

Overwork : Prolonged working without proper rest can consume general body Qi.

Chronic diseases: Long term sickness consumes general body Qi.

Diagnosing Qi Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu) or weak (Ruo)

Tongue description: Pale tongue

Main symptoms: Fatigue Weak voice Listlessness Loose stools Poor appetite General weakness Aversion to speak Shortness of breath Spontaneous sweating Frequent Colds or Flu

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the general weakness and fatigue.

Treating Qi Deficiency

Treatment principle

Tonify general body and Organs

Herbal formulas used to treat Qi Deficiency

Si Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach.

Formula summary

Si Jun Zi Tang is a 4-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi.

Besides Qi Deficiency, Si Jun Zi Tang is also used to treat Stomach Qi Deficiency or Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency.

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang

Liu Jun Zi Tang

Source date: 1107

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Qi. Strengthens the Spleen and Stomach. Clears Phlegm and mucus. Promotes appetite.

Formula summary

Liu Jun Zi Tang is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1107, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi.

Besides Qi Deficiency, Liu Jun Zi Tang is also used to treat Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency or Phlegm.

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang

Diet recommendations

Balance diets and try these foods that rich in nutrition but also easy to digest such as rise, meat, fish, shrimps. Avoid cold, raw, spicy or greasy foods. 

Special highlight: the link between abnormal uterine bleeding and Qi Deficiency

Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) is the key herb for Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a formula used for abnormal uterine bleeding caused by Qi Deficiency

The pathology of abnormal uterine bleeding is a bit similar to that of spontaneous flow of breast milk. A key cause is that Qi is not strong enough to hold Body Fluids - be they breast milk or menstruation blood - so the Fluids flow out unwantedly. Since this is an Deficient type of bleeding, it is characterized by flooding at the beginning of the period, which then stops and continues with dripping after the periods end. A pale red blood color is a typical symptom. 

The Spleen is the major...Read more about abnormal uterine bleeding

Special highlight: the link between heavy menstruation and Qi Deficiency

Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi) is the key herb for Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, a formula used for heavy menstruation caused by Qi Deficiency

Typical symptoms for heavy menstruation caused by Qi Deficiency: Tiredness Weak Limbs Palpitations Shortness of breath Pale menstrual blood Thin and watery periods

Recommended herbal formulas: Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang, Gui Pi Tang, Ju Yuan Jian

Qi Deficiency is a key cause of heavy menstruation and abnormal uterine bleeding. The way it works is that Qi is not firm enough to hold Blood in the vessels and it therefore flows out unwantedly. The Directing and Penetrating Vessels are also too weak to contain Blood. 

The Spleen is the major Organ involved in this pattern because its role is to 'transform and transport' food and drinks, extracting Grain Qi (Gu Qi) out of them, and distributing it to other Organs and Blood vessels....Read more about heavy menstruation

Consequence patterns

Qi Collapsing or Sinking

When the Qi get Deficient for a long time without being adjusted, Qi collapses or sinks. 

Qi Stagnation

The Deficient Qi fails to support the normal Qi circulation and thus the Stagnation pattern. 

Blood Stagnation

When Qi is Deficient for a long period of time, it fails to move Blood and hence the Blood Stagnation pattern. 

Loss of Blood

The Deficient Qi is so weak that it fails to hold Blood in the vessels. Then the Blood get pushed out by the Blood Heat