Organ Network Heart Small Intestine

"Ruler and Godlike Emperor" The heart represents all the emotional, mental, and spiritual abilities and activities that make up the unique personality of a person. It is the seat of consciousness and mental vitality.

Role in TCM:

  • Governs blood (xue) and blood vessels
  • Governs circulation of blood
  • Houses spirit (shen)
  • Opens at the tongue and governs speech, sense of taste

Association with the five phases:

  • Emotion: Joy
  • Climate factor: Heat
  • Season: Summer
  • Direction: South
  • Color: Red
  • Flavor: Bitter
  • Time of day: 11 a.m.-l p.m.
  • Houses spirit (shen)

Shen comprises spirit or "consciousness" in its broadest sense: The mental, intellectual, emotional and spiritual abilities of a person. TCM believes that these are closely connected to heart, blood, and yin. Blood is a material anchor for shen. Disturbances of the spirit (insomnia or confusion; shen pi, or lassitude of spirit and lack of strength) can be associated with material aspects such as heart blood vacuity. The spirit can be calmed by avoiding energetically very hot foods (garlic, ginger, alcohol). Often these dietary measures are in keeping with religious or spiritual dietary recommendations intended to calm the mind. Strengthening blood can cure certain types of insomnia.

• Governs blood

The heart is responsible for anchoring qi extracted from food (gu qi) in the blood and for circulation of blood in the body.

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