Spleen Qi Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 脾气虚

Pinyin name: Pí Qì Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Spleen Qi Deficiency / Empty

Related conditions: Anemia Ulcers Anorexia and ten other conditions

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Fatigue Pale face Weak Limbs Weak voice Loose stools and four other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

Spleen Qi Deficiency is one of the most commonly seen disharmony. Nowadays our diets are rich in sugars, fats, iced drinks, junk food and cold raw foods. This harm the Spleen function of transformation and transportation and leads to Spleen Qi Deficiency. Other bad eating habits also impair Spleen Qi, such as inconsistent meals, eating standing up or on the run, eating while reading or discussing business over meals, eating too little or too much food, or eating a protein-deficient diet.

Besides dietary habits, others causes for Spleen Qi Deficiency include emotional strain such as pensiveness and worry, extensive mental activity in work and study or an excessive exposure to dampness (in one's home or workplace for instance). Furthermore any long-term illness tends to weaken the Spleen, causing Deficient Spleen Qi.

When Spleen Qi is Deficient, it cannot transform food and fluids to create Grain Qi and Blood, and this ultimately causes a Deficiency of Blood and Qi in the body.

Spleen Qi Deficiency is the central pattern to all other Spleen disharmonies. For example, Spleen Yang Deficiency is just a further stage of Spleen Qi Deficiency. Spleen Qi sinking is a type of Spleen Qi Deficiency with sinking Qi. The pattern of Spleen not holding Blood is almost the same as Spleen Qi Deficiency when Deficient Spleen Qi fails to hold Blood in the vessels. Lastly Spleen Blood Deficiency indicates that the Spleen Blood making function is impaired due to insufficient Spleen Qi. 

Related conditions

Chronic gastritis Peptic ulcers Irritable bowel syndrome Chronic hepatitis Nosebleed Anemia Neutropenia Anorexia Acid reflux Hepatitis Nervous exhaustion Habitual miscarriage Ulcers

Diagnosing Spleen Qi Deficiency

The Spleen is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue color: Pale

Possible symptoms: Fatigue Pale face Weak Limbs Weak voice Loose stools Poor appetite Poor digestion Pale complexion Weakness in the limbs

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 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 Spleen Qi Deficiency might experience symptoms like poor appetite, fatigue, loose stools and pale face (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Spleen Qi Deficiency

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 Qi Deficiency, Liu Jun Zi Tang is also used to treat Qi Deficiency or Phlegm.

Read more about Liu Jun Zi Tang

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

Read more about Ba Zhen Tang

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 Qi Deficiency, Si Jun Zi Tang is also used to treat Qi Deficiency or Stomach Qi Deficiency.

Read more about Si Jun Zi Tang

Diet recommendations

Eat only cooked foods, including rice, millet, meat (especially beef), winter squash, vegetables, greens, aduki beans, congee and warm or room temperature drinks such as warm milk with ginger, cinnamon or cardamom and honey. Avoid cold, raw vegetables and fruits, juices, iced drinks, ice cream and frozen yogurt, salads, uncooked foods and the excessive use of sugar and other sweeteners.