Stomach and Spleen Qi Deficiency

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 脾胃气虚

Pinyin name: Pí Wèi Qì Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Stomach Spleen Qi Deficiency / Empty

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Tiredness Lassitude Weak Limbs Loose stools Poor appetite and four other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Empty (Xu)

Tongue description: Pale

It's very common for Stomach Qi Deficiency to be paired with Spleen Qi Deficiency since both Organs are so closely intertwined. The Stomach receives food and then sends the pure portion to the Spleen. Together they rule transportation of food essences.

Since they're the root of Grain Qi for the whole body, if Qi is deficient in those Organs, it ends up lacking everywhere. This is why fatigue is one of the main symptoms of this pattern.

It is also why patients feel a feeling of weakness of the limbs as the Stomach and Spleen are too weak to transport the food essences to the limbs.

The uncomfortable feeling in the epigastrium is due to Deficient Stomach Qi failing to descend. The fact it's a mere discomfort and not a feeling of pain is indicative that this is a Deficiency condition and not an Excess one.

Diagnosing Stomach and Spleen Qi Deficiency

The Stomach is a so-called "Fu" Organ. Learn more about the Stomach 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 Stomach and Spleen 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 Stomach and Spleen Qi Deficiency might experience symptoms like poor appetite, slight abdominal distension after eating, tiredness and lassitude (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Stomach and Spleen 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 Stomach and 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

Shen Ling Bai Zhu San

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Augments the Qi. Strengthens the Spleen. Leaches out Dampness. Stops diarrhea.

Formula summary

Shen Ling Bai Zhu San is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Ginseng (Ren Shen), Atractylodes Rhizomes (Bai Zhu), Poria-Cocos Mushrooms (Fu Ling) and Liquorice (Gan Cao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1107 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that tonify Qi.

Besides Stomach and Spleen Qi Deficiency, Shen Ling Bai Zhu San is also used to treat Small Intestine Deficient and Cold or Stomach and Spleen Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Shen Ling Bai Zhu San

Diet recommendations

Eat only cooked foods (nothing raw). Particularly beneficial ingredients include: rice, millet, meat (especially beef), winter squash, vegetables, azuki beans, congee and warm or room temperature drinks such as warm milk.

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.

Avoid strenuous exercise. Favor light activities such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, swimming, walking or bicycling.