The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Liver Qi is said to be rebellious when its horizontal movement is accentuated. This impairs the Spleen's function of transformation and transportation and prevents Spleen Qi from rising.
There are typically two types of presentations for this pattern.
The first is when the Excess of the Liver is more important than the Spleen's Deficiency. It is said that the Liver's overactivity invades the Spleen. In this presentation there is constipation (with stools that are dry, difficult and often in small pieces) more frequently than diarrhea and the abdominal distension and pain are quite marked.
In the second presentation the Spleen Qi Deficiency is more pronounced. This means the Spleen is weak and ‘allows’ itself to be invaded by the
Liver, even when the Liver Excess is relatively mild. In this scenario there are loose stools, even diarrhea, more often than constipation and the abdominal pain is only slight.
Those two presentations are the reason why the tongue can either be Red on the sides (first presentation) or normal coloured (second presentation).
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Weak (Ruo) or wiry (Xian)
Tongue description: Normal-coloured or slightly Red on the sides
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 Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Spleen will tend to exhibit weak (Ruo) or wiry (Xian) pulses.
Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Rebellious Liver Qi invading the Spleen might experience symptoms like irritability, abdominal distension, abdominal pain and alternating constipation and diarrhea (full list here above).
Source date: 1107 AD
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Key actions: Harmonizes the function of Liver and Spleen. Relieves Liver Qi stagnation. Nourishes the Blood.
Xiao Yao San is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Bupleurum Roots (Chai Hu) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that harmonize Liver-Spleen.
Adopting good eating habits are very important to prevent this pattern. Eat at regular intervals and take the time to eat. Avoid working or other stressful activities while eating.
To prevent or mitigate Spleen Qi Deficiency, it's also important to favor eating cooked foods only, including rice, meat (especially beef), vegetables, congee and warm or room temperature drinks such as warm milk. Avoid anything too cold in temperature (e.g. ice cream or cold drinks), raw ingredients and the excessive use of sugar and other sweeteners.
To calm the Liver work with the emotions of anger, frustration and resentment by finding constructive outlets to express and release them. Above all, do not repress or stuff your emotions. Avoid excessive physical activity, such as sex or exercise. Regularity of habits helps to regulate Liver Qi.