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Wood (wuxing)

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In Chinese philosophy, wood (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), sometimes translated as Tree,[1] is the growing of the matter, or the matter's growing expanding stage.[2] Wood is the first phase of Wu Xing when observing or discussing movement or growth. Wood is the lesser yang character (yin within yang) of the Five elements, fuelling Fire. It stands for springtime, the east, the planet Jupiter, the color green, windy weather, and the Azure Dragon (Qing Long) in Four Symbols. Blue and cyan-type colors also represent wood.



In Chinese Taoist and Traditional Chinese medicine thought, Wood attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of warmth, generosity, cooperation, and idealism. The Wood person will be expansive, outgoing and socially conscious and courageous but when feeling confined, held back, or misunderstood by others can become easily frustrated and angry. The wood element is one that seeks ways to grow and expand. Wood heralds the beginning of life, dawn, springtime and buds, sensuality and fecundity. Wood needs moisture from Water it preceding phase element to thrive.

In Chinese medicine, wood is associated with negative feelings of anger, hopelessness and positive feelings of optimism, courage, patience and the Virtue of benevolence (Ren 仁). The soul associated with wood is the Hun (魂).

Organs associated with this element are the Zung organ the liver (yin), and the Fu organ the gall bladder (yang), the taste sour, the rancid smell also the eyes and tendons.



In Chinese astrology, wood is included in the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms), which combine with the 12 earthly branches (or Chinese signs of the zodiac), to form a 60 year cycle.

  • Yang wood year (e.g. 1974).
  • Yin wood year(e.g. 1975).

Wood governs the Chinese zodiac signs Tiger and Rabbit.[Needs Source]

Cycle of Wu Xing


In the regenerative cycle of the Wu Xing, water engenders Wood, "as rain or dew makes plant life flourish"; Wood begets fire as "fire is generated by rubbing together two pieces of wood" and it must be fueled by burning wood. Since wood also represents wind, it also nourishes fire with the flow of oxygen.

In the conquest cycle:

Wood overcomes earth by binding it together with the roots of trees and drawing sustenance from the soil;

Metal overcomes Wood, as the metal axe can topple the largest trees.[3] In the less figurative sense, the dryness and coldness of Metal causes wood, like the trees to loose their leaves by the sap going inwards and returning to the roots in Autumn or in the fall.


  1. ^ Franglen, Nora (2013). The Simple Guide to Five Element Acupuncture. Jessica Kingsley Publishers | Singing Dragon. ISBN 9781848191860.
  2. ^ 千古中医之张仲景. Lecture Room, CCTV-10.
  3. ^ Theodora Lau, The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, pxxix-xxx, Souvenir Press, London, 2005