Yang Deficiency

Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 阳虚

Pinyin name: Yáng Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Yang Deficiency / Empty

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Edema Fatigue Pale face Low energy Cold limbs and four other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Empty (Xu), Slow (Chi), Weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Yang Deficiency is an Empty-Cold condition characterized by Coldness and Deficiency. If there is inadequate amount of Yang energy to warm the body or internal Organs, a general hypoactivity of the organic processes occurs and Qi and Blood is more likely to stagnate. Also, Body Fluids can accumulate and congest when Yang is insufficient, resulting in Oedema and puffiness. This pattern differs from Yin Excess because Yang Deficiency also includes Coldness-related symptoms.

Since the root of Yin and Yang ‘resides’ in the Kidneys, if they become impaired from excessive standing, sex, activity or overwork, the weaken Kidney Yang has impacts on the rest of Yang of the body. It creates Spleen or Heart Yang Deficiency. For instance. when Spleen Yang is Deficient, it fails to warm the muscles and to properly metabolize food, resulting in Coldness and Deficient Grain Qi and Blood. A Deficiency of Yang is mostly related to Spleen Yang, Kidney Yang, Heart Yang or Lungs Qi. 

Yang Deficiency can be caused by lack of activity or exercise, excessive sex, over-exposure to cold environments and climates, and excessive consumption of cold, raw foods and juices, sweets, alcohol, coffee, iced drinks and frozen foods such as ice cream and frozen yogurt. Congenital defects due to improper care after birth can also cause Yang Deficiency. 

Diagnosing Yang Deficiency

'Yang' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Yang in Chinese Medicine

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), empty (Xu), slow (Chi) or weak (Ruo)

Tongue color: Pale

Possible symptoms: Edema Fatigue Pale face Low energy Cold limbs Infertility Fear of cold Loose stools Abdominal pain

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 Yang Deficiency will tend to exhibit deep (Chen), empty (Xu), slow (Chi) or weak (Ruo) pulses as well as a pale tongue.

Practitioners also learn to read from a long list of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Here patients with Yang Deficiency might experience symptoms like pale face, fear of cold, fatigue and low energy (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Yang Deficiency

You Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 10 herbs

Key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.

Formula summary

You Gui Wan is a 10-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi), Cinnamon Bark (Rou Gui) and Deer Antler Glue (Lu Jiao Jiao) as principal ingredients. Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that warm Yang and tonify.

Besides Yang Deficiency, You Gui Wan is also used to treat Kidney Qi not Firm or Kidney Yang Deficiency.

Read more about You Gui Wan

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies Yang. Warms the Kidneys and lower extremities.

Formula summary

Ba Wei Di Huang Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula with Prepared Rehmannia (Shu Di huang) as a principal ingredient. Invented in 220 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Yang Deficiency, Ba Wei Di Huang Wan is also used to treat Kidney Yang Deficiency or Kidney Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Ba Wei Di Huang Wan