Influence of kidneys on bones, teeth and hair in Chinese medicine

In Chinese medicine, bone marrow, spinal marrow, and brain tissue are called Sui. As Su Wen and Ling Shu, which are the books about the basic theory of Chinese medicine, says, all kinds of Sui are connected to brain, and brain is the sea of Sui. Sui originates from kidney Jing, and bones and teeth are nourished by Sui, so the health of bones and teeth depend on the state of kidneys.

Influence on the health of bones and teeth

Su Wen says, “Bones and Sui originate from kidneys.” The bone development depends on the nourishing of kidney Jing and the activating of kidney Qi. In Chinese medicine, teeth are the extensions of bones. When kidney Jing is sufficient, bones are strong, and teeth are firm. The deficiency of kidney Jing may cause delayed closure of fontanelle, the softening and weakness of bones, osteoporosis, delated tooth eruption, loose teeth, and tooth loss. In Chinese medicine, a common method to improve osteoporosis is to nourish kidneys for reinforcing kidney Jing, and to nourish Sui for strengthening bones.

Source of blood and health of hair

In Chinese medicine, the forming of blood has two sources. Spleen transports essential substances absorbed from water and food to heart and lungs, and the substances become a source of blood. Sui in bones originates from kidney Jing and forms blood, so kidney Jing is the other source of blood. The deficiency of kidney Jing may cause the deficiency of blood. This is why in Chinese medicine a common method to improve blood deficiency is to nourish kidneys and reinforce kidney Jing.

According to the theory of Chinese medicine, hair is the extension of blood and is nourished by blood. When kidney Jing is sufficient, hair is strong, thick, smooth, and shiny. So, Su Wen says, “Hair shows the state of kidneys.” From middle age to old age, kidney Jing gradually weakens, so hair gradually becomes grey. If a young person has the deficiency of kidney Jing, he may have grey and withered hair, or suffers from hair loss.

Keeping kidney Jing by swallowing thick saliva

Su Wen says, “Five internal organs form liquid. Sweat is from heart, nasal mucus is lungs, tears are from liver, Xian is from spleen, and Tuo is from kidneys.” Xian and Tuo are two kinds of saliva. The thin saliva is called Xian, and the thick saliva is called Tuo. The thick saliva is transformed from kidney Jing. Therefore, in the practice of Qi Gong which is used for keeping health, swallowing the thick saliva is a method to keep kidney Jing.

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