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Home > Education > Zang Fu > Spleen Yang Deficiency

Spleen Yang Xu - (deficiency)

From "Zang Fu Syndromes," by McDonald and Penner


Irregular eating patterns damage SP Qi, hence SP Yang.

Over indulgence in cold or raw food and drink damages SP Yang.

Excessive use of herbs with cool or cold nature depletes SP Yang.

Protracted, chronic disease injures SP Qi, hence SP Yang.

SP Yang Xu closely resembles SP Qi Xu in etiology but Cold influences such as excessive cold herbs or cold (raw) food and drink will damage SP Yang directly. SP Yang Xu is like SP Qi Xu but is more severely Xu and has additional Cold signs and symptoms. (Yang Xu is a Xu Cold condition).

Clinical Manifestations
Sallow complexion Abdominal and epigastric distention after eating
Fatigue Maybe acid regurgitation or vomiting
Anorexia (maybe with vomiting) Loose stools or watery stools containing undigested food
Four limbs feel tired and heavy Shortness of breath
Pain in the epigastrium with cold sensations (pain is relieved by warmth) Cold limbs
Feeling chilled Mental fatigue
Maybe scanty urine with edema (Sp Xu Edema) Maybe clear, watery vaginal disharge

T: Pale
C: Thin and White
P: Deep and weak


SP Yang Xu can lead to KI Yang Xu, creating SP and KI Yang Xu, particularly in relation to edema or chronic diarrhea.

SP Yang Xu indicates poor transformation and transportation of Fluids leading to Damp Stagnation. Hence, SP Yang Xu can contribute to many Damp or Phlegm conditions such as:

  • Phlegm-Damp Obstructs LU.
  • Cold-Damp Distresses SP.
  • Damp-Heat in SP / ST.
  • Damp-Heat in LIV / GB.

SP Yang Xu can be involved with various SP Xu conditions which are all related to either SP Qi Xu or SP Yang Xu, namely:

  • SP Xu Edema.
  • Central Qi Sinking.
  • SP Not Governing Blood.
Associated Western Conditions
Gastric or duodenal ulcer Chronic dysentery
Chronic gastritis Chronic hepatitis
Chronic enteritis Chronic glomerulonephritis
Cirrhosis of the liver  

Differential Diagnosis

The differences between SP Yang Xu and Cold-Damp Distresses SP are fairly subtle. This is because Cold-Damp Distresses SP is basically SP Yang Xu with Damp Stagnation. The signs and symptoms are very similar, however Damp Accumulation should be detectable in the pulse and tongue coating.

Spleen Yang Xu: Cold-Damp Spleen
T: Pale T: Pink
C: Thin and white C: White and greasy or sticky
P: Deep and weak P: Deep and slow
Treatment Principle

Warm the Center and Dispel Cold.

Common Acupuncture Points

Select from the same points as given for SP Qi Xu. Warm needle, moxa cones on ginger or other moxibustion techniques combined with reinforcing needle technique are effective.

Common Herbal Formulae

Li Zhong Tang / Decoction to Regulate the Center

Fu Zi Li Zhong Wan / Prepared Aconite Pill to Regulate the Middle

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