Influence of spleen on conditons of mouth in Chinese medicine

Ling Shu, one of theoretical books of traditional Chinese medicine, says, “The spleen-Qi opens to the mouth. When the functions of the spleen are harmonious, the mouth correctly distinguishes different kinds of grains.”

The article explains how to know the health of spleen from the conditions of mouth, such as the gustatory sensation, the smell, the color of lips and the amount of thin saliva.

Spleen and the gustatory sensation

According the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the gustatory sensation is related to the spleen. When spleen-Qi is sufficient, the gustatory sensation is normal, and the appetite is good. If spleen-Qi is deficient, the gustatory sensation will be abnormal, and the appetite will be lost.

Disorder of spleen causes bad flavor or bad smell in the mouth

The deficiency of spleen-Qi may lead to the disorder of the spleen’s function for delivering water to other organs and parts of the body. The pathologic dampness that is from the nature may also disturb the spleen’s function for delivering water. The disorder of the function causes the formation of pathologic fluids as dampness and phlegm. The person feels there is sticky and greasy fluid in his mouth.

The disorder of the spleen also disturb food digestion. The retention of food in the stomach may generate the pathologic heat, leading to bad breath.

The color of lips shows the status of the spleen

The lips are also related to the spleen. When the spleen works normally, Qi and blood of the body are sufficiently formed, so the lips are ruddy. If the functions of the spleen are weakened, the Qi and blood of the body will be deficient, so the lips will be pallid. Because the mouth and lips are all related to the spleen, so the book “Ling Shu” says, “The mouth and lips are the organs of the spleen.”

Thin saliva is from spleen

According the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, there are two kinds of saliva. The thin saliva is from the spleen, and the thick saliva is from the kidneys.

The thin saliva is transformed from spleen-Yin and delivered by spleen-Qi. The functions of the thin saliva are to moisten the oral cavity for protecting oral mucosa, to wet food for chewing and swallowing, and to promote digestion.

When spleen-Qi and spleen-Yin are sufficient, thin saliva is formed and delivered normally, and it is well controled so it doesn’t flow out over the mouth.

The disorder of spleen or the deficiency of spleen-Qi may cause the thin saliva increase pathologically and flow out over the mouth.

The deficiency of spleen-Yin will reduce the formation of thin saliva, leading to dry mouth and dry tongue.

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