Spleen Yang deficiency: results in poor digestion

Herbs to assist
Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

Spleen yang is the active part of your Spleen, keeping things in place, digesting and absorbing what you eat, putting colour in your cheeks and bounce in your step.

So with Spleen Yang deficiency you get a range of symptoms showing that this process isn’t working properly.

That means that your Spleen, which is rather like a housekeeper,

  • allows rubbish to build up where it shouldn’t
  • can’t keep things tidy in your body
  • then your body begins to go to seed.
  • That means that your flesh loses tone and
  • you feel weak and, often, overwhelmed.
Rubbish builds up if Spleen yang is weak
Rubbish – Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

Symptoms of Spleen Yang deficiency

  • Poor circulation, meaning you feel cold with cold arms and legs
  • Distension after eating
  • Poor appetite
  • Weakness and Tiredness
  • Preference for lying or sitting down
  • Pale skin
  • Stools tend to be loose
  • Easily put on weight 
  • Easily become obese
  • Often oedema
  • Tongue: pale, wet, may be swollen if there is Damp
  • Pulse: weak, deep

Why do you get Spleen Yang deficiency?

The main causes are

  • diet
  • emotion
  • wet weather and
  • chronic disease.

Diet as a cause of Spleen Yang deficiency

  • Eating too much raw or cold food for your constitution
  • Eating too much at a time, even if the food is warm to the touch and not raw
  • Irregular eating habits, meaning too fast, or in a hurry, or when working, or at odd times, or snatching food as you drive. Nearly everyone who uses a computer is guilty! Also, eating while working is a major cause of this condition, and it’s really a way of life for many. So it’s very hard to get out of the habit! But it’s a bad habit!
  • Eating too little
  • Eating not enough of the main nutrients needed by your body. Of these, the main one is protein as far as the Spleen is concerned. Vegans should take this seriously.

Emotional causes of Spleen Yang deficiency

  • Over-thinking
  • Worry
  • Worrying too much for others

Damp and Spleen Yang deficiency

Umbrella in the rain
Damp weather enervates your Spleen Yang energy
  • Wet weather, especially cold, damp weather, is a major cause of this deficiency.

Chronic Disease as a cause of Spleen Yang deficiency

  • Any kind of long-term disease tends to lead to this deficiency. That’s because Spleen Yang needs movement and when ill for long you don’t usually move around much. The result of inadequate movement is that lymph doesn’t move and Damp and Phlegm collect, further weakening Spleen Yang. Also, muscle withers away.

What happens next?

Usually, the next symptoms come from the following, always assuming that the cause remains and nothing is done about it.

  • Appearance of oedema
  • Becomes obese and overweight
  • More susceptible to diseases such as coughs and colds
  • Takes on too much work, so always thinking/worrying
  • Sprains muscles trying to do too much or too quickly
  • Gets Qi Stagnation because easily frustrated
  • Nervous exhaustion: needs long periods of rest, sleep, unable to work
  • Gets symptoms of Damp
  • Gets Phlegm
  • You begin to get other, related syndromes, often to do with the Stomach energy organ. Later on, you’ll get syndromes involving your Lungs and Heart, see below.

What can you do about it?

Read again the causes of the problem, above then:


  • Get help to put your diet and eating habits right. See Nutrition.

Dress for Warmth and to avoid Damp and cold

Warm clothing helps Spleen yang
Winter clothing helps Spleen yang
  • Start dressing warmly so that you don’t get affected by cold, damp weather. If you cannot avoid the cold, try to take a warm bath after exposure to it. When you are fully warmed up and glowing again, what about this to lock in the benefits?
  • Find somewhere to live and work that doesn’t have damp or mould in the building.

Do Less!

With Spleen yang deficiency you really should try to do less, especially if you have taken on more than you can reasonably handle and 

  • are always thinking or worrying about something, or 
  • planning something, or 
  • being asked to read or consider something to make comments about, or 
  • just rushing from A to B to keep up with things, 
  • … even if you think all this is highly enjoyable and a great challenge … because it’s not doing you any good! What’s more, there’s too much of it and you’ll get sick, pull a muscle, get over-tired or similar. Then you may get more seriously ill.
  • Are you one of those people who can’t say no?
Sleep! Rest! Help Spleen Yang!
All Time Not Spent in Sleep is Wasted

Acupuncture can often ward off the serious developments but you’ve got to take yourself in hand. Even acupuncture isn’t perfect!

Other Spleen syndromes

Kidney Yang

Kidney Yang provides the support structure for Spleen Yang. If you have Spleen Yang deficiency for too long, you’ll probably get Kidney Yang deficiency as well.

And if you already have Kidney Yang deficiency, then you’ll start getting symptoms of this Spleen Yang deficiency syndrome.

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