Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 脾肝血虚

Pinyin name: Pí Gān Xuè Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Spleen Liver Blood Deficiency / Empty


Common symptoms: Cramps Insomnia Dry hair Dry skin Tiredness and nineteen other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Fine (Xi)

Tongue description: Pale dry body especially on the sides, which, in extreme cases, can assume an orange color

The Spleen is the origin of Blood because Grain Qi (Gu Qi) produced by the Spleen is Blood's key component. As a result if Spleen Qi is Deficient (an indispensable precondition for Spleen Blood Deficiency), not enough Blood is produced which is what leads to the Blood Deficiency. 

Quite a few of the symptoms here such as loose stools, poor appetite and weak limbs, are typical of Spleen Qi Deficiency which again is always a precondition for Spleen Blood Deficiency.

The Liver stores Blood. When Liver Blood is Deficient one gets symptoms like dizziness, blurred vision, numbness in the limbs, scanty periods or, in the worst cases, amenorrhea (a total absence of periods).

The slight depression and feeling of aimlessness are also due to the Liver Blood Deficiency. The lack of Blood prevents the Ethereal Soul (Hun) from being properly "rooted" in Blood.

Diagnosing Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen 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 Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency will tend to exhibit choppy (Se) or fine (Xi) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency might experience symptoms like poor appetite, slight abdominal distention after eating, tiredness and lassitude (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency

Gui Pi Tang

Source date: 1529 AD

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and nourish Qi and Blood. Tonifies Heart and Spleen.

Formula summary

Gui Pi Tang is a 12-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen), Milkvetch Roots (Huang Qi), Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu) and Liquorice (Gan Cao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1529 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi and Blood.

Besides Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency, Gui Pi Tang is also used to treat Qi Deficiency or Blood Deficiency.

Read more about Gui Pi Tang

Diet recommendations

Diet is an important cause of this pattern. Pay careful to eat nourishing foods, particularly grains and meats, and to avoid an excessive amount (or regular consumption) of cold and raw foods.

Most important herbs used to treat Spleen and Liver Blood Deficiency