Introduction to TCM

Basics of TCM

  • Yin-Yang | Five Elements

Zang-Fu Theories

  • Zang Organs | Fu Organs

Classification of Antineoplastic Herbal Medicines

Characteristics of Herbal Medicines


  • By Auscultation & Olfaction
  • By Inspection


Theories of Channels (Meridians) and Collaterals

Reference: A Modern View of the Immune System

Differentiation of Syndromes

  • 8 Principles
  • 6 Channels 4 Stages
  • Syndromes of Zang-Fu Organs


  • Exogenous | Pestilential
  • Pathogenic Factors
  • Emotional

Materia Medica

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Differentiating Syndromes of the Liver

Syndromes of liver blood insufficiency

Dizziness and vertigo, distending pain, redness of the eyes and face, anxiety and hot temper, dryness of the eyes, blurred vision, night blindness, numbness of the limbs, spasm of the tendons and muscles, scanty menstrual flow or amenorrhea, pale tongue proper, and thready pulse

Insufficiency of liver blood brings about malnutrition of the head and eyes, and manifests as dizziness, dryness of the eyes, and blurred vision. Consumption of liver blood causes malnourishment of the tendons, manifested by numbness of the limbs, and spasms of the tendons and muscles. The chong channel's "sea of blood" dries up due to an insufficiency of liver blood, so scanty menstrual flow or amenorrhea appears. Blood insufficiency also causes a pale tongue proper and a thready pulse.

Liver fire flare up syndromes

Dizziness, distending pain redness of the eyes and flushed face, irritability and irascibility, dryness and bitter taste in the mouth, deafness, ringing in the ears, burning pain of the costal and hypochondriac regions, yellowish urine, constipation or vomiting blood (hematemesis), and nose bleeds (epistaxis), red tongue proper with yellow coating, wiry and rapid pulse.

Liver fire flares up to attack the head and eyes causing dizziness, distending pain, redness of the eyes and flushed face, bitter taste and dryness in the mouth, deafness and ringing in the ears. Fire injures the liver causing a dysfunction of the qi flow and since the liver is related to emotional activities, depression and anger can result. As the liver channel passes through the costal and hypochondriac regions, it causes pain in these areas.

Liver fire exhausts the blood and injures the vessels, so hematemesis and epistaxis occur. Yellowish urine, constipation, yellow tongue coating, and a rapid pulse are also signs of excessive liver fire.

Liver qi stagnation syndromes

Fullness of the chest, mental depression, sighing, distending pain of the chest and hypochondrium, irascibility, anorexia, belching, abnormal bowel movements, irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, premenstrual distending pain of the breasts, thin and white tongue coating, and wiry pulse.

Stagnation of liver qi leads to the dysfunction of the liver causing an unrestrained flow of qi, so symptoms such as mental depression, fullness of the chest, irascibility, and sighing appear. Liver qi can also flow transversely to attack the stomach and spleen, causing disorders of the ascending and descending stomach and spleen qi. Symptoms of belching, anorexia, and abnormal bowel movements result. The liver stores blood, so liver qi stagnation will certainly affect menstruation causing irregularity, dysmenorrhea, or pre-menstrual distending pain of the breasts. A wiry pulse is also caused by liver qi stagnation.

Liver wind stirring syndromes

There are three conditions commonly seen in the clinic: (1) Extreme heat stirring up endogenous wind, manifesting as high fever, convulsion, neck rigidity, contracture of the four limbs, opisthotonos, red tongue proper and a wiry rapid pulse. (2) Yin deficiency leading to yang preponderance, this extreme yang then turns into wind and manifests as sudden temporary loss of consciousness (syncope), convulsion, deviated mouth and eyes, tongue rigidity, hemiplegia, wiry, slippery, and forceful pulse. (3) Insufficiency of liver blood causes the malnutrition of tendons and muscles, and produces wind, manifesting as numbness of the limbs, tremor of muscles or spasms of the extremities, tremor of the hands, pal tongue proper, a wiry and thready pulse, etc.

The first condition is a group of shi syndromes caused by extreme heat producing wind, the wind and fire then stir each other. The second condition originates from a loss of liver and kidney yin which leads to liver yang preponderance and an upward flow of qi and blood. The root of this disease is therefore xu, but symptomatically the syndromes appear as shi type. The third condition is also a xu condition due to insufficiency of blood which leads to malnutrition of the tendons and muscles.

Stagnation of cold in the liver channel syndromes

Distending pain of the lower abdomen, swelling and distension of the testis with a bearing down pain, pain and contracture of the scrotum referring to the lower abdomen, a white slippery tongue, and a wiry slow pulse.

The liver channel curves around the external genitalia and passes through the lower abdominal region. Pathogenic cold is characterized by contraction and stagnation when it inhabits the liver channel. This results in the stagnation of qi and blood and causes the above symptoms.

Related Subjects

Read more on description of the main syndromes of other zang-fu organs: Heart, Spleen, Lung, Kidney, Small Intestine, Large Intestine, Urinary Bladder, Stomach, and Gall Bladder.

Traditional Chinese Medicine pages by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH

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With over 3000 years of experience, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has remain one of the many fascinating areas in ancient Chinese culture. First known to be documented in the Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine, TCM is believed to have been practised in as early as 475 to 221 B.C. The field of working knowledge of TCM stretches from anything related to general healthcare practice to the philosophy of the mind, the logic of life, religion, and even to as far as cosmology and astronumerology. This is why in order to thoroughly understand the concepts behind TCM, one must be comprehensive in learning and embracing the Chinese culture as a whole.

Just as Douglas Hoff put it when he explained about accupuncture, "The systems of TCM uses the concepts of elements and meridians and are completely immersed in the Asian cosmology which takes shape through the religions." The meridian-brain mechanism, the fundamental working concept of acupuncture, in which the pain block from the message that the needle or burning cone of herbs gives to the point of stimulus, was only found centuries later by the West through science and technology.


Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA Thank you for visiting this TCM and acupuncture information website. If you have previously been to this website, you might have noticed that some of the pages on ancient historical ideas and holistic thinkings related to Chinese metaphysics are temporarily taken offline. This is because I will be revamping the whole website and be moving those information into a new \"Ancient Chinese Culture\" section so as to reflect a more current perspective on the interpretation of some of the fundamental concepts as well as to include some of the latest information in the area. But if you have just found this website for the very first time, I welcome you again and wish you could find what you require and, hopefully, you could also be benefitted from reading the articles I published on this website.

Please be patient and do come and check out this website frequently as it's being revamped.

Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH

March 28, 2020.


This website is published, edited and designed by Raymond Cheng, and reflects only and only his personal views and opinions in his individual capacity. The information available at this website is not intended directly or by implication to either diagnose or treat any medical, emotional, or psychological condition or disorder. It is also not intended to create a physician-patient relationship between you and I or between you and Wyith Institute™ and The Office of Dr Raymond K K Cheng. The information here is not a substitute for advice and treatment provided by your physician or by another healthcare professional. It is always recommended that consultation with local healthcare providers be obtained for any of your specific health or medical concerns. Furthermore, any products that can be purchased (yet you can see I don't have much to sell here) through advertisers' banners or through links to other websites are not either explicitly or implicitly given any warranty or endorsement by me, my colleagues, Wyith Institute™ or any of its associated businesses.