The analysis of disease in oriental medicine is based on a concept called ‘zangfu’. The zang are solid and the fu are hollow organs. The focus of Chinese medicine on the different organs reflects the increased reliance on concepts therein. Other major concepts are ‘yin yang’ and the ‘5 elements’.
The heart is considered as the emperor among the organ in Chinese medicine. The inner-outer relationship is with the small intestine, and they are both part of the fire element. The heart is also responsible for governing the blood (xue) and is in charge of the blood vessels. The wellness of the heart is said to reflect in one’s facial colour and expression. The functionality of the heart is exceedingly strong between 11am and 1pm. A malfunctioning heart is characterized by insomnia, poor memory, arrhythmia, palpitations, and restlessness among others.
The small intestine is considered to be a fu organ, in line with the zang fu theory. It’s most important responsibility is the management of the separation of the clear food essences from the turbid. The essence of grain and water, and a large amount of fluid is termed as “the clear”. The body will assimilate this part as energy by the spleen. From there it is distributed throughout the whole body. At the same time, the turbid is transferred downwards to the large intestine while the useless water is directed towards the bladder. A slight disorder in the small intestine is mainly characterized by failure to separate the clear from the turbid. The disorders associated with such a failure include urinary and stool disturbances, scanty urine, diarrhoea, and abdominal pain among others. The fire element (manifesting as those two organs) is associated with the emotion of joy.
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