Yin Deficiency

At a glance

Key attributes

Chinese name: 阴虚      Pinyin name: Yīn Xū

Pattern nature: Empty

Pattern hierarchy: General pattern with specific forms like Kidney Yin Deficiency or Liver Yin Deficiency

Causes

Precursor patterns: Body Fluids Deficiency Yang Excess or Full Yang Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart and two other possible precursors

Common causes: 1. Overwork, 2. Lack of sleep, 3. Excessive sexual activity, 4. Chronic diseases, 5. Diet, 6. Over-exercising, 7. Emotional stress

Diagnosis

Common symptoms: Jumpy Thirst Anxiety Thin body Dry stools and seven other symptoms

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Empty (Xu)

Tongue description: Red or normal color without coating or with a thin shiny tongue body

Treatment

Treatment principle: Nourish Yin

Common formulas: Liu Wei Di Huang Wan Zuo Gui Wan

Pathology

In the case of Yin Deficiency, the body is lacking in its cooling, moistening and nurturing aspects. This leads to Heat and Dryness accompanied by weakness and lack of strength and resistance. The Heat of the Yang gets more obvious because Yin is lacking and it cannot control Yang. Fire gets out of hand because water cannot control it.

Empty-Heat, or "false Heat" are the name for these Heat symptoms, because they are not a true Yang Excess conditions. The result is signs of Heat, but without the Yang strength. For example, fever might appear, but it only happens in the afternoon. The feeling of Heat only occurs in the palms, soles and chest region. The patients may talk fast, but cannot maintain it. The Heat waves come and go, with an obvious underlying weakness and Deficiency. Signs of Yin Deficiency, such as night sweats, dry throat and mouth as well as insomnia, become more obvious during night because the Yin is the most active at the time.  

Yin Deficiency has some general symptoms, but the symptoms varies based on the Organs involved, such as the Kidneys, Heart, Liver and Lungs. Since the Kidneys are the root of Yin and Yang in the body, anything that impairs the Kidneys can consume their Yin, leading the rest of body Yin to become Deficient as well. When Kidney Yin Deficiency happens, low grade sore throats, dizziness, night sweating or poor memory might occur.

When the Heart Yin is Deficient, insomnia and mental agitation or restlessness can appear. Liver Yin Deficiency causes irritability and headaches. Lung Yin Deficiency leads to dry cough and malar flush.

Causes

Precursor patterns: Yin Deficiency can derive from Body Fluids Deficiency Yang Excess or Full Yang Phlegm-Fire harassing the Heart Phlegm Fire harassing the Pericardium Liver Fire insulting the Lungs

Overwork: Long term overworking depletes Yin.

Lack of sleep: Lack of sleep or sleep late over a long period of time consumes general Yin.

Excessive sexual activity: Excessive sexual activity consumes Yin, especially the Kidney Yin.

Chronic diseases : Chronic diseases consumes Yin.

Diet: Over-eating of dry and hot-natured foods deplete Yin.

Over-exercising: Over-exercising consumes Yin.

Emotional stress : Emotional stresses consumes general Yin.

Diagnosing Yin Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu) or empty (Xu)

Tongue description: Red or normal color without coating or with a thin shiny tongue body

Main symptoms: Jumpy Thirst Anxiety Thin body Dry stools Five palm heat Nocturnal emissions Sore throat at night Scanty dark urination Dry mouth and throat at night Desire to drink in small sips Pain relieved by pressure and cold

Diagnosis commentary: Key characteristic symptoms of this pattern are the general Dryness including dry mouth, throat, tongue, cough and stools, tongue without coating as well as thirst with desire to drink in small sips. Yin Deficiency can cause Empty-Heat, thus the above Dryness related features often happen in the afternoon or at night.

Treating Yin Deficiency

Treatment principle

Nourish Yin 

Herbal formulas used to treat Yin Deficiency

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Source date: 1119 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Nutritive tonic for the Liver and Kidney Yin Essence (nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system).

Formula summary

Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is a 6-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1119 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Yin Deficiency, Liu Wei Di Huang Wan is also used to treat Blood Deficiency or Liver Yang Rising.

Read more about Liu Wei Di Huang Wan

Zuo Gui Wan

Source date: 1624 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Nourishes the Yin. Strengthens the Kidneys. Fills the Essence. Augments the marrow.

Formula summary

Zuo Gui Wan is a 8-ingredient Chinese Medicine formula. Invented in 1624 AD, it belongs to the category of formulas that nourish Yin and tonify.

Besides Yin Deficiency, Zuo Gui Wan is also used to treat Kidney Essence Deficiency or Kidney and Liver Yin Deficiency.

Read more about Zuo Gui Wan

Consequence patterns

Empty-Heat

If the Yin energy is Deficient for a long period of time (like several years), the Yin is consumed and the Yang is relatively in Excess. It gives rise to Empty-Heat. 

Please be aware that prolonged Yin Deficiency may not necessary always cause Empty-Heat. 

Heat in the Blood

Yin Deficiency can cause Empty-Heat in the Blood. In this case, the bleeding produce scanty but bright red Blood  instead of profuse and dark color Blood in Excess Heat case. 

Loss of Blood

Yin Deficiency causes Empty-Heat in the Blood which then push Blood out of the vessels. In this case, the bleeding produce scanty but bright red Blood  instead of profuse and dark color Blood in Excess Heat case. 

Dryness

Body Fluids is part of Yin elements. It can also become Deficient due to Yin Deficiency. It causes general Dryness of the body.