Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang

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Pattern factsheet

Chinese name: 阳虚

Pinyin name: Yáng Xū

Associated TCM concepts: Yang Deficiency / Empty

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Edema Fatigue Pale face Impotence Frigidity and seventeen other symptoms

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

Tongue description: Pale, swollen and moist tongue with possible white or wet coating

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, hence the patient is tried and not willing to move.  Qi and Blood is more likely to stagnate in this case. 

Also, Body Fluids can accumulate and congest when Yang is insufficient, resulting in Oedema and puffiness in various parts of the body. This pattern differs from Yin Excess because Yang Deficiency also includes Coldness-related symptoms, such as fear of cold, chilliness, cold limbs and desire warmth. 

Since the root of Yin and Yang ‘resides’ in the Kidneys, if they become impaired from excessive standing, sex, activity or overwork, the weakened Kidney Yang has impacts on the rest of body Yang, representatively Spleen or Heart Yang Deficiency. Actually, Yang Deficiency is mostly related to Spleen Yang, Kidney Yang, Heart Yang or Lungs Qi

For instance. when Spleen Yang is Deficient, it fails to warm the muscles and to properly metabolize food, resulting in undigested foods in the stools and loose stools. It also causes Coldness and Deficient Blood and Grain Qi. 

Diagnosing Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang

'Yang' as a body pattern in Chinese Medicine is one of the so-called "Eight Principles". Learn more about Yang 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 Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang 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 or Empty Yang might experience symptoms like pale face, fear of cold, fatigue and low energy (full list here above).

Herbal formulas used to treat Yang Deficiency or Empty Yang

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 or Empty Yang, You Gui Wan is also used to treat Kidney Qi not Firm or Kidneys failing to receive Qi.

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 or Empty Yang, 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