Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 脾肺气虚

Pinyin name: Pí Fèi Qì Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Spleen Lungs Qi Deficiency / Empty

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Obesity Coughing Tiredness Lassitude Weak Limbs and ten other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue description: Pale

The Spleen and the Lungs are both involved in the production of Qi. They're respectively the source of Grain Qi and Clean Air which merge together to make Gathering Qi (also called True Qi). As such they have a strong inter dependence and influence over each other.

There is a saying in Chinese medicine: "The Spleen is the source of Qi and the Lungs are the pivot of Qi."

One key aspect of this interdependence is that if Lung Qi is deficient, or if there is not enough deep breathing or exercise to bring in sufficient Clean Air, the Spleen is affected and can't function well in transporting, distributing and transforming nutrients or in performing Fluids metabolism.

On the other side, an impairment of Spleen Qi or a diet high in cold raw foods leads to Deficient Qi of the Lungs and creates Dampness in the Lungs with symptoms of cough, excessive mucus and asthma. That is why one major way to treat Lung Dampness is to warm, strengthen and dry the Spleen.

Diagnosing Spleen and Lung Qi 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 Lung Qi Deficiency will tend to exhibit empty (Xu) pulses.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Spleen and Lung Qi 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 Lung 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 with Ginseng (Ren Shen) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi.

Besides Spleen and Lung Qi Deficiency, Si Jun Zi Tang is also used to treat Qi Deficiency or Stomach 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 with Ginseng (Ren Shen) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 1107, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi.

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

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang

Diet recommendations

To treat this pattern, it is particularly important to eat at regular time a diet made of real nourishing foods, particularly meats and grains.

A sedentary lifestyle is also very damaging. Get regular exercise and don't spend too much time stooping over a desk.