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Spleen Qi Deficiency: What Is It And How Can TCM Help Overcome It?

Receiving a diagnosis of having Spleen Qi Deficiency might not sound as serious as the dreaded “C” word. (If you’re not sure what the “C” word is, it rhymes with ‘dancer.’) 

Out of any disease pattern in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Spleen Qi Deficiency (henceforth: SQD) would have to be at the top of the list. And the long laundry list of symptoms associated with it represent a significant percentage of the U.S. population.

Symptoms of Spleen Qi Deficiency

How do you know if you have this common TCM pattern? The following is just a partial list of the physical and emotional manifestations of SQD. 

  • Bloating
  • Constipation 
  • Dull complexion
  • Brain fog (inability to concentrate and think clearly)
  • Excess worry and anxiousness
  • Frequent fatigue
  • Food repeating (reflux)
  • Easy bruising
  • Sugar cravings
  • Swelling
  • Pale tongue
  • Frequent urination 
  • Organ prolapse

In addition to these symptoms, SQD has a related pattern, one in which Yang Qi is specifically lacking. Symptoms of Spleen Yang Deficiency also includes feeling cold and having cold limbs, being overweight or obese, loose stools, and sharp abdominal pain.

It’s most likely that nearly everybody you know, possibly yourself, has one or more of these symptoms. So why is SQD so prevalent? After all, a couple generations ago, many common, chronic conditions in Western medicine of today that are indicative of SQD, were quite rare. Is there a single underlying root cause for many of today’s maladies that have exploded in frequency? 

There just might be and SQD represents an underlying pattern in many health conditions—but it’s not the cause. 

What Is Spleen Qi Deficiency?

Before exploring the possible root causes of health conditions that suggest the presence of SQD, let’s take a step back and explore what this pattern indicates…

In TCM, Spleen isn’t only the physical organ, it’s also the energetic network (meridians) that run along the Spleen channel.

In TCM, Spleen isn’t only the physical organ, it’s also the energetic network (meridians) that run along the Spleen channel. Qi represents the energy and vitality in an organism. Having abundant Qi depends on just two sources: digestion and breathing, the latter of which is dependent, of course, upon the Lungs. (This is why if you’re not doing daily deep breathing exercises, you should start—today!) Qi is brought in by the Lungs during breathing and through the Spleen via digestion. But if your Spleen is lacking perfect Yin-Yang balance, Qi cannot be properly absorbed and SQD manifests. 

When SQD is present, food is unable to be efficiently transformed into nutrients for energy. If you’ve ever experienced unsightly loose stools with undigested food particles, this is an obvious sign of SQD. 

And if you’re not digesting your food properly, the indigestion carries over into the cognitive and emotional aspects of your being; you can’t think properly and your mood suffers, and you tend to worry more about things. 

Root Causes of Spleen Qi Deficiency

Pick a cause, any cause. There are so many of them, it’s impossible to list just one underlying reason. However, one theory could be that environmental toxins, antibiotics and other prescription drugs as well as everyday chronic stress (bills, traffic, politics, etc.) lead to gut dysbiosis. Simply put, gut dysbiosis means you have too many harmful bacteria in your gut and not enough friendly germs. 

It’s difficult to have strong digestion when you have gut dysbiosis. And there’s no one magic pill that can resolve gut dysbiosis. Probiotics may be helpful, but considering that many probiotic supplements may not be effective, it’s better to take a holistic approach to resolving gut dysbiosis, which in turn may help resolve SQD. 

How To Overcome Spleen Qi Deficiency

For starters, don’t go on a raw food diet. Although raw diets and juice cleanses are trendy, if you have SQD, they’re like pouring fuel on the proverbial fire. Or more appropriately, it’s like overflowing your cooler with ice. This is because uncooked food interferes with Spleen’s ability to transform nutrients. Simply put, according to TCM theory, raw foods are hard for Spleen to digest. 

To achieve a healthier microbiome, taking a probiotic supplement may help, provided it’s a soil-based one. 

And to invigorate your Spleen, our blend of 14 herbs called SpleenVigor may help. One internal condition that arises when SQD is present is excess dampness and heat. SpleenVigor removes both of these conditions and resolves food stagnation.

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