Heart (Chinese medicine)

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The Heart (, pinyin: xīn) is one of the zàng organs stipulated by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is a functionally defined entity and not equivalent to the anatomical organ of the same name.

In the context of the zang-fu concept[edit]

As a zàng, the Heart is considered to be a yin organ. Its associated yang organ is the Small Intestine. Both Heart and Small Intestine are attributed to the Fire element.

Regarding its stipulated functions, the Heart

  • ‘’stores‘’ (藏, pinyin: cáng)[1] the shén (神, ‘’Aggregate Soul‘’, usually translated as mind)
  • governs xuě (blood) and vessels/meridians
  • opens into the tongue
  • reflects in facial complexion
  • governs joy (喜, pinyin: )[2]

The Heart's function is said to be strongest between 11am and 1pm. Disturbed function of the Heart typically presents as palpitations, arrhythmia, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, poor memory, restlessness, or even delirium.[3]


  1. ^ 中医世家 2006, chapter 1.2.2.
  2. ^ 阵雨 (15 December 2009). 中医理论:基础理论:第二节 内伤病因:一、七情:(二)七情与脏腑气血的关系 [TCM theory - Basic theory - Chapter 2: Internal causes of disease - 1. The Seven Emotions - 1.2. The relations between the Seven Emotions, the zang-fu, and qi and blood] (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  3. ^ Cultural China 2007


Further reading[edit]

  • Val Hopwood (1997). "Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory". In Val Hopwood; Maureen Lovesey; Sara Mokone (eds.). Acupuncture and Related Techniques in Physical Therapy. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 8. ISBN 9780443055935.
  • Yanhua Zhang (2007). Transforming Emotions with Chinese Medicine. SUNY Press. p. 39. ISBN 9780791469996.