Zang Organ – Spleen
Spleen, from western physiology point of view, is a lymphatic tissue full of blood vessels and with the function of storing and filtering blood. Chinese medicinal theory has a completely different point of view.
Key functions of spleen:
- Digests and transforms foods and water into Postnatal Jing.
- Produces blood by supplying Postnatal Jing to lung and heart for further transforming into blood.
- Governs blood to flow inside blood vessels.
- Regulates body fluid distribution.
- Lifts and positions body organs.
Attributes to human body & Mother Nature
|the Five Elements||earth|
|the five colors||yellow/brown|
|the five senses||mouth|
|the five lusters||lips|
|the five body constituents||muscles|
|the five fluids||thin saliva (for moisturizing mouth)|
|the five emotions||thinking|
|the five flavors||sweet|
|the five seasons||Long summer|
|the five seasonal chi(s)||wet|
Spleen transforms foods and water into Postnatal Jing.
The physiological activity of digesting, absorbing and transforming foods and water into Postnatal Jing relies on many organs to co-work including spleen、stomach、small intestine. Spleen takes the lead in this complicated process.
Stomach digests and decomposes foods into chyme; small intestine further digests and transforms chyme into food essence; spleen then digests and transforms food essence into Postnatal Jing.
If chi flows healthily and chi supply is sufficient, Postnatal Jing transformed by spleen is well enough to supply the production of chi and blood; on the contrary, if chi is in short supply and spleen’s digestion function is thereof obstructed and fails to conduct transformation and distribution, symptoms of indigestion such as lost appetite、stomach ache、bloating、diarrhea、fatigue and weak limbs etc. could occur.
Spleen produces blood.
After Postnatal Jing is transformed, spleen transports Postnatal Jing to lung; in lung, Postnatal Jing merges with fresh air and transforms into Postnatal Chi; lung then transports chi to heart; in heart, Jing transforms into blood and flows inside blood vessels. Postnatal Jing is the fundamental substance producing blood and spleen is the origin of blood production. In short words, spleen produces blood.
If spleen chi is healthy and strong and the blood transformation is also healthily processed, blood supply would be sufficient for body’s need, if not, spleen chi fails to conduct the transformation and Postnatal Jing is thus short supplied, insufficient blood would cause dizziness and pale in face、lips、tongue and nails.
Spleen restrains blood to flow inside blood vessels.
If spleen chi healthily flows, spleen can restrain blood to flow inside blood vessels; if not, spleen loses its restraint power, blood could outflow from blood vessels, and the situation could cause spitting blood、blood in stool、blood in urine、bleeding underneath the skin、excessive bleeding during menstruation etc.
Spleen chi lifts and positions organs in place.
Spleen chi mainly moves upward towards lung and heart. This upward movement lifts and positions body organs in place without sagging.
Spleen regulates fluid distribution.
Spleen cooperates with lung、kidney and bladder in transforming, regulating and distributing body fluid. Stomach and small intestine digest and transform foods and water we eat into food essence; spleen digests and transforms food essence into Postnatal Jing and fluid; spleen distributes fluid thru lung to heart and in heart, fluid flows in blood vessels nourishing and moisturizing body systems.
Spleen distributes waste water in food essence downwards to kidney and bladder for later processing as urine. Spleen plays an important function of transforming, regulating and distributing fluid in body fluid metabolism.
If spleen chi is sufficient, water distribution in body can function normally without unnecessary residuals in the body, otherwise, the water residuals could produce dampness、sputum etc and these by-products could bring health problems.
Mouth and lips reflect spleen health condition.
Spleen’s meridians link with tongue’s root and underneath the root. That is, spleen opens to mouth and relates to appetite and taste. The color of lips can reflect spleen health condition.
Muscles reflect spleen health condition.
When spleen functions well, its digestion and transformation mechanism will work well. Our limbs will be strong and agile. Vice versa, if spleen functions poorly, our muscles and limbs will be weak and thin.
Saliva reflects spleen health condition.
Saliva has two types – one to moisturize and lubricate mouth and the other to digest. Spleen is related to the first type. If a person has poor spleen and stomach, saliva usually will seep out from the corners of his mouth.
Overthinking can jeopardize spleen health.
Humans think. “thinking” is related to spleen. Overthinking could jeopardize chi’s normal movements rendering chi stagnancy and spleen malfunction.
Chi Transformation Chart