We speak of the Heart as an emotional state of love, joy, sadness or from an anatomical perspective, a vital organ that pumps blood containing oxygen for our body and mind to function normally. From Chinese medicine perspective, the Heart have similar attributes to both as an emotional and functional organ. This dual ability of the Heart is often treated in the clinic for problems such as insomnia, irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, infertility and etc. The Heart:
Governs Blood - The relationship between Blood and the Heart determines a person’s vitality and strength. If the Heart is strong with ample supply of Blood and circulation is good - this will produce a robust person with good constitution. However, if the Heart is deficient and there is low supply of Blood (low iron or aneamic), this will often equate to a weak constitution with lack of strength and vitality. The quality of the Heart can also be seen in the complexion. Where there is abundance of Blood and the Heart is strong, the complexion is rosy and lustrous. However, if there is deficiency of Blood and the Heart is weak, the complexion will be pale or dull white.
House the Mind - For the Heart to house the Mind, it needs adequate nourishment from Blood and conversely, the Heart’s function in governing the Blood depends on the Mind. There is a mutual dependence between the Heart and Blood for the vitality of mental activities and consciousness. Therefore, the state of the Heart (and Blood) will affect the mental activities such as consciousness, memory, thinking and sleep. The Heart is called the ‘Emperor’, ‘Ruler’ or ‘Monarh’ of Internal Organs because of it’s ability to control all mental activities of the Mind that other organs do not have. For example, if the Heart-Blood is deficient, it does not anchor the Mind resulting in mental restlessness, depression, anxiety and insomnia. Blood deficiency can manifest from low iron, aneamia, diet lacking in Blood nourishing foods or over exercise.
Influence Menstruation - We often speak about Heart-Blood indirectly influencing menstruation. This is because the Heart controls the downward flow of Qi and Blood that makes menstruation occur. In other words, when there is emotional disturbances such as depression, over worrying, anxiety etc. it can affect the ability of the Heart to govern blood thus causing disruption to the menstrual cycle. In fertility, we often treat the Heart-Blood to assist in regulating menstrual cycle by calming anxiety, over thinking and worrying by nourishing the Heart.
These are the three attributes of the Heart that we commonly treat in the clinic. We often asked about emotional state in every consult as the health of the Heart, the ‘Emperor’ and ‘Ruler’ of all Internal Organs, is a vital organ to keep the body system and Mind functioning at an optimal level. This in return rewards us with the vitality, emotional balance and mental sharpness in every aspect of life.