Liver stores blood in Chinese medicine

In modern medical science, the liver is the largest digestive gland and can store abundant blood for keeping normal blood circulation. In traditional Chinese medicine, the liver also has the function of storing blood. And liver is called the sea of blood.

Storage of blood in liver

In the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the activity or inactivity of a person leads to the reallocation of the body’s blood. When a person is quiet or sleeping, a lot of blood is stored in the liver. When the person starts being physically active, the liver releases blood for satisfying the needs of the body.

The blood in the liver can nourish the liver and the organs which are related to the liver. The eyes, tendons, ligaments, fingernails and toenails are related to the liver, and all of them are nourished by the blood which is stored in the liver.

Su Wen, one of theoretical books of traditional Chinese medicine, says, “The liver receives blood, so eyes can see. Feet receive blood, so they can walk. A palm receives blood, so it can hold. Fingers receive blood, so they can grasp.”

If the blood in the liver is deficient, the person may suffer from dry eyes, dim eyesight, brittle nails, muscle spasm, or convulsion of limbs.

The blood in the liver is the source of menstrual blood of a woman. The deficiency of blood in the liver leads to the decreased menstrual discharge or amenorrhea.

The disorders of liver and hemorrhages

The moving direction of liver-Qi is upward. Meanwhile, liver-Qi makes the running of the Qi of the body smooth and unobstructed. Qi pushes blood forward to flow, and keep blood in vessels. Therefore, when liver functions normally, the Qi of the body controls blood normally.

The excess of liver-Yang and the deficiency of liver-Yin are two of common disorders of the liver. Liver-Qi and liver-Yang always become excessive together. There are two kinds of pathogenic fire, which are called external fire and internal fire. The excess of liver-Yang or the deficiency of liver-Yin causes the fire of liver, which belongs to internal fire.

The moving excessively of liver-Qi and liver-Yang, or the spread of liver-fire, can cause various kinds of hemorrhages, like cerebral hemorrhage, vomitting blood, nasal bleeding, or uterine bleeding.

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