Pattern Diagnosis: Qi Deficiency

Qi is the vital force that provides movement and function throughout the body. The Lung extracts it from the air, while the Spleen extracts it from the foods we eat.

Therefore the Spleen, in Chinese medicine, is a primary organ of digestion, and is responsible for turning food into usable fuel. By strengthening digestion, one also strengthens the body's ability to fight off pathogens and may reduce the frequency of illness.

Symptoms of generalized Qi Deficiency include weakness and fatigue.

Spleen Qi Deficiency will usually show signs of poor digestion, decreased appetite, and loose stools.

Spleen Yang Deficiency is a progression of Spleen Qi Deficiency. Patients will have more cold signs, such as cold limbs, feeling chilled, weakness of the limbs, diarrhea, and edema.

Since this is a cold-damp syndrome, patients with a deficient Spleen should favor warming foods, and avoid cold and phlegm-producing foods. The same goes for Lung Qi deficient patients.

The Lungs in Chinese medicine are strongly linked to the immune system. Signs and symptoms of Lung Qi Deficiency include shortness of breath on exertion, difficulty breathing, weak cough, weak voice, spontaneous sweating (daytime), aversion to cold, bright white complexion, and weakened immunity. 

Beneficial foods for Spleen Qi Deficiency:

  • Almonds
  • Anchovies
  • Astragalus
  • Barley
  • Barley malt
  • Beef
  • Black beans
  • Carrot
  • Cherries
  • Chestnuts
  • Chicken
  • Chickpeas
  • Cinnamon
  • Corn
  • Dates
  • Fennel
  • Fresh ginger
  • Garlic
  • Kidney
  • Lamb
  • Leek
  • Liver
  • Mackerel
  • Molasses
  • Nutmeg
  • Oats
  • Onion
  • Palm sugar
  • Parsnip
  • Peas
  • Pepper
  • Pumpkin
  • Rice
  • Rice syrup
  • Spelt
  • Squash
  • Stewed fruit
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tuna
  • Turnip
  • Walnuts
  • Yams

All of the above foods are also beneficial for Spleen Yang Deficiency, with the addition of:

  • Dried ginger
  • Prawn
  • Rosemary
  • Shrimp
  • Star anise
  • Turmeric

Foods to avoid with Spleen Qi Deficiency:

  • chard
  • cold or iced drinks
  • millet
  • raw fruit
  • raw vegetables
  • salads
  • salt
  • seaweeds
  • spinach
  • sprouts
  • tofu
  • tomato
  • wheat

Foods to avoid with Spleen Yang Deficiency include those listed above, with the addition of:

  • soy beans
  • soy milk
  • sweets (in excess)
  • vinegar

Beneficial foods for Lung Qi Deficiency include those listed above, with the addition of:

  • Cinnamon
  • Dried ginger
  • Mushrooms (maitake, reishi, shitake)
  • Peppers
  • Rice congee
  • Shark Liver Oil
  • Soups and stews
  • Tea (acrid, spicy types)

Foods to avoid with Lung Qi Deficiency include those listed above, with the addition of:

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Beer
  • Butter
  • Chocolate
  • Dairy
  • Dried fruit
  • Duck
  • Eggs
  • Fatty meat
  • Ice cream
  • Lard
  • Margarine
  • Nuts and seeds (in excess)
  • Pork
  • Soy milk
  • Sugar/sweeteners
  • Tempeh