Blood and Body Fluids

The blood, the body fluids (such as Jing, Shen, and Jin-Ye) and qi are the "fundamental substances" that are essential for life. All are interrelated and can be nourished by the use of herbs. Herbs to norish and tonify blood also help to norish Qi.

The circulation of blood in the vessels serves to provide nutrients and moisture to the organs. This maintains normal physiological activities. A glowing complexion, glossy hair and firm muscles indicate a healthy blood circulation. The reverse will be manifested in symptoms such as giddy spells, a sallow complexion, dry hair, dry skin, forgetfulness and unconsciousness.

The body fluids comprise fluids from the various organs and normal body secretions. These fluids keep the internal organs moist and may also transform into blood. Hence, an excessive expenditure of body fluids will lead to weak qi, poor blood circulation and blood stagnation. Certain conditions like vomiting, diarrhoea and profuse perspiration will also lead to the depletion of body fluids. At the same time, shortness of qi, a pallid complexion and heartburn may manifest


like blood, jin-Ye (body fluids) are yin in character. The name is derived from jin ("clear fluid") indicating the clear aspect of fluid and Ye ("turbid fluid") suggesting the turbid or cloudy component. Jin-Ye includes saliva, gastric juices, phlegm, tears, mucus, and sweat: all are seen as derived fram our food and water and are converted in the spleen and stomach into the jin and Ye.

jin fluids are carried partly in the blood and also manifest as sweat. The thicker Ye fluids nourish the inner parts of the body such as joints, body orifices, brain, and bone marrow. Jin-Ye circulate through the body largely under the control of the spleen, lungs, and kidneys, so weaknesses in any of these organs may also be blamed for a resulting fluid deficiency or dysfunction.


Although Qi is more familiar to Westerners, the Chinese jing or "essence" is even mare important. It is the fundamental substance - the source of living organisms and the most important of this group of life materials.

Jing is stored in the kidney and comes in two types: congenital or innate essence inherited from our parents, and the acquired essence that is produced by the spleen from food, air, and water. The congenital essence controls both reproduction and creativity, while the "acquired" jing reflects the quality of nutrition and lifestyle. The congenital essence is fixed when we are born and gradually runs down over our lifetimes - its loss is associated with the physical signs of ageing. Acquired essence - from a good diet and healthy lifestyle - can help compensate for weaknesses in our inherited jing.


Shen is generally translated as "spirit", the inner strength behind both essence and energy. It is sometimes described as "awareness" and is also closely linked to lifestyle and creativity.

If Shen is damaged in any way then the person may be forgetful, slow-thinking, or suffer from insomnia.

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