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Deficiency Of Lung Energy



Note: To understand the term "Qi", thus to get a better grasp about the following pathology, we encourage our readers to review the short material "What is Qi" in the Vitality chapter.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are two causes, which lead to deficiency of Lung Qi.

The first cause are destructive chronic Lung diseases, which in long run consume the energy and substance of the Lung. Acute diseases, which are not properly addressed, or are treated with improper methods, also lead to Lung Qi deficiency. In both cases the pathogenic factor is not sufficiently removed and remains in the Lung consuming its energy.

The second cause for Lung Qi deficiency is general Qi deficiency. General Qi deficiency is often rooted in the Spleen.

Note: In Traditional Chinese Medicine the concept of the Spleen largely differs from Western medicine understanding of this organ. The symptoms of an imbalanced Spleen in TCM point to imbalance in the digestion. So in order to avoid confusion whenever we refer to the Spleen in this project we will think about the collective work of some organs and systems that participate in the digestion rather than what we know about the spleen from Western science. We have discussed this in more detail in the material “The Spleen in Traditional Chinese medicine” in the Physiology chapter.

The Spleen has the difficult and very complicated task to transform the food into food essence, Qi and blood. This process takes a lot of energy on its own to take place. Improper diet, late night eating, overwork, and overthinking consume the Qi and make the Spleen deficient. A deficient Spleen then cannot properly carry out its functions to transform and transport, thus cannot sufficiently nourish the remaining organs. Eventually the overall body energy becomes deficient.

General Qi deficiency may be also rooted in the Kidney. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Kidney is viewed as the “root organ”, which sends energy and nourishment to the remaining organs. A chronic deficiency of Kidney Qi will eventually lead to Qi deficiency in one or more other body organs.

Grief and sadness, especially if they are chronic, can also cause the Qi of the Lung to become deficient.

If you want to learn more about the Lung and its functions from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine go to "The Lung in Traditional Chinese Medicine" in the Physiology chapter.




  • shortness of breath
  • cough
  • prone to common colds and flu
  • spontaneous sweating
  • weakness
  • fatique
  • dislike to speak


The Lung governs the respiration thus the main symptom of Lung Qi deficiency is shortness of breath. The breathing is shallow and short especially on exertion. Cough may also be present.

The Lung governs “the protective Qi” of the body. Weak “protective Qi” will lead to weak immunity and one may become prone to common colds and flu.

The “protective Qi” is also responsible for the opening and closing of the pores (the Lung governs the skin). (1) Therefore another typical symptom for weak Lung Qi, i.e. weak protective Qi, is spontaneous sweating.

Weakness, fatigue and dislike to speak are the other symptoms of Lung Qi deficiency (1) as there is not sufficient energy to stimulate the vitality and the speech.




To treat deficiency of any kind it is useful to select warm and slightly sweet foods as warm temperature and sweet taste promote energy.


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1) Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Nanjing: Harcourt Publishers Limited

(2) Pitchford, Paul (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books


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