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Dryness In The Lung



To understand “dryness in the Lung" we need to make a short review of the concept of Yin and Yang in traditional Chinese medicine.

Since Yang in nature represents activity, light, warmth it logically represents energy/warming faculty in the human body. Since Yin in nature represents stillness it translates into the material aspect of the human body. In other words Yin represents matter, blood, body fluids, while Yang is the force that makes them come to live.

There is good health when Yin and Yang are in balance (i.e. energy and matter are in balance). When there is deficiency of Yang Yin instantly becomes excessive and vice versa – when there is deficiency of Yin Yang becomes excessive. Yang deficiency means that the energy/warming principle of the organ is deficient leading to “excess matter”, i.e. sluggishness, lethargy, overflow. Vice versa – Yin deficiency means that the matter of the organ is deficient leading to excess energy.

Yin represents matter and substance in the human body thus Yin deficiency of a certain organ means that the organ’s substance is diminished. In the case of Lung Yin deficiency there is no sufficient body fluids in the Lung, making the Lung “dry”. Thus “dryness in the Lung” manifests.

Lung Yin deficiency is a chronic condition, it cannot happen overnight. Causes for Lung Yin deficiency are chronic Lung infection or inflammation of the Lung.

Another cause for Lung Yin deficiency is Kidney Yin deficiency. In Chinese medicine the Kidney is considered “the root organ”, which sends nourishment and energy up to the remaining body organs. Thus chronic Yin or Yang deficiency in the Kidney will eventually manifest in Yin/Yang deficiency in one or more of the other organs (for more on Kidney pathology please review the materials about the Kidney in the Physiology chapter)

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




  • dry cough
  • dry throat
  • dry mouth
  • dry skin
  • hoarse voice


  • Lung yin deficiency symptoms - night sweats, feeling hot in the afternoon and evening


As the term “dryness in the Lung” suggests the majority of Lung Yin deficiency symptoms manifests in “dryness” such as dry cough, dry throat, and dry mouth. As the Lung governs the skin there will be dry skin. As the throat is dry there is hoarse voice; as the mouth is dry there is thirst. (1)

Since the underlying condition leading to “dryness in the Lung” is Lung Yin deficiency there will be typical “Yin deficiency” symptoms such as night sweats, and feeling hot in the afternoon and evening. The evening and the night are governed by Yin, thus Yin deficiency will manifest as discomfort felt predominantly in that period of time. Fever may also be present.




White Roosters


To nourish yin (whether it is Kidney or Lung Yin) it is useful to consume more fatty “matter producing” foods. 


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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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