YK Chung, Chen J, Ko KM
Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear water bay, Hong Kong.
This article aims to illustrate the function of the Spleen in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the context of modern medicine. TCM has been practiced since ancient times in China for the prevention and/or treatment of diseases. Yet, the complete understanding of its theoretical basis in relation to clinical practice from the modern medicine perspective is still lacking. According to TCM theory, the Spleen, as one of the five Zang (i.e., visceral organs), plays an important role in various physiological functions, including digestion and absorption of nutrients, regulation of water retention and excretion, facilitation of blood perfusion to skeletal muscle and on the optimal functioning of the immune system. Clinical applications of herbal formulations for the treatment of Spleen dysfunction (i.e., Spleen deficiency—a decline in Spleen function) and their pharmacological activities are described. The view point of TCM on how emotions (or Qing Zhi) can influence the body function is introduced. The relationship between anxiety and Spleen function has been analyzed by reviewing relevant research studies in modern medicine. These findings suggest that the cause/consequence relationship between anxiety and Spleen function may be bi-directional.