How the spleen affects your digestion and overall health 脾脏如何影响消化及总体健康

Updated: Feb 28


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The Spleen may be one of the lesser known organs in our body. However, in TCM, it actually plays a crucial role in our health. While in modern science, the spleen is more involved in regulating one’s immune system and blood, in TCM, it is said to have multiple major functions, some of which include digestion, water metabolism, control of blood, etc.

> Read: Why are organs in TCM described so differently

In this article, we focus on the 2 most important roles the spleen play in our body.

1. The spleen's role in digestion

The director of digestion

The spleen is important in our digestion as it is involved in almost all aspects of the digestive system in TCM.

It can be seen as the director of the digestive department as it stimulates the stomach and intestines to cause digestion and absorption. The spleen then transports the absorbed nutrients to other organs. These nutrients are eventually used to form Qi and Blood.

A weak spleen is a major cause of digestive problems

Since the spleen plays such a vast role in digestion, a large number of digestive issues can be associated with a weak spleen (also called insufficient spleen Qi). This can lead to symptoms such as bloating, loose stools, poor appetite, indigestion, weakness, fatigue etc. Sometimes, a weak spleen may also lead to more serious cases such as stomach ulcers etc.

2. How the spleen affects your overall health

The spleen forms Qi and Blood

As discussed above, the spleen turns food into nutrients which are then used to produce Qi and Blood. This is an essential process because Qi and Blood are the basic substances that nourish and run one’s entire body. Qi does more than simply provide “energy”, as it is also involved in many aspects of our health, such as basic functioning of organs, immune system, blood circulation etc. This function is so crucial to our bodies that in TCM texts, the spleen is often touted as “the root of survival after birth”.

Weak spleen ➙ insufficient Qi and Blood ➙ potentially many different ailments


A weak spleen may lead to many health complications

Since all organs require ample Qi and Blood to function well, a weak spleen that causes insufficient Qi and Blood can lead to many health complications in the long run. The symptoms of Qi and Blood deficiency may include insomnia, heart palpitations, forgetfulness, shortness of breath, weak immune system, menses problems, urinary incontinence, weakness in limbs etc., depending on which organ is affected. This is why many patients with ailments that seem unrelated to digestion may still be given herbs to strengthen the Spleen, so as to produce enough Qi and Blood to support the other organs.

3. How to protect the spleen

The spleen is easily damaged by a poor diet and poor eating habits. Apart from imbalanced nutrition, eating habits such as irregular eating times, skipping meals and over-eating can also harm the spleen.

Some ways to protect the spleen include:

  • Eat in moderation, avoid food that are excessively oily, sweet, etc.

  • Avoid cold drinks, as the spleen needs to be kept warm to function well

  • Eat on time whenever possible

  • Do not engage in other activities while eating (e.g. working)

  • Do not engage in physical activities right after eating (including taking a shower)

  • Maintain a positive outlook and do not worry or overthink, as excessive worrying or thinking can harm the spleen


虽然在一般人的眼里, 脾脏对健康的影响并不显著。但从中医的角度, 脾脏却是人体重要器官之一。

现代医学认为脾脏与免疫系统及血液关系较密切,但中医认为脾的功能广泛,且对消化系统,水液代谢,血液之流动等都有关。

>请阅读:了解中医脏腑

此文章将讨论关于脾脏在消化系统及全身总体健康之功能。

一,脾于消化系统

脾在消化系统中之功能

根据中医学,脾脏在消化系统里扮演了非常重要的角色,因为在消化运作上的各层面都必须藉着脾脏才能操作正常。

脾脏似乎是消化系统主任,它促进肠胃消化食物及吸收营养成分,并把营养输布到其他脏腑。这些营养(也被称为水谷精微)将被用于产生气与血。

消化系统疾病多为脾虚

因为脾 在消化系统中的功能较多,所以许多消化病变都于脾虚(脾气不足)有关。症状可包括腹胀,大便稀溏,食欲减退,消化不良,疲乏无力等。

有些疾病如胃溃疡等也能因脾虚而造成。

二,脾脏如何影响全身总体健康

气血之来源

如上论,脾能把食物化为营养,而营养成分将被用于产生气血。此过程对于人体健康非常重要,因为气与血是充养人体并维持人体生命活动的基本物质。“气”不只供给人体能源,它更是关联到内脏器官, 免疫系统及血液循环等之正常运作。

中医把脾 称为“后天之本”(就是出生后维持生命的根本)。可见这功能对人体健康何其大。


脾虚 ➙ 气血不足 ➙ 造成许多并发症


脾虚能造成许多并发症

若脾脏虚弱,气血产生将衰退。因体内各脏腑都赖于气血之充养,所以气血不足将影响各脏腑,造成许多病变。

气血虚之症状则会根据所受影响之器官而出现以下不同的病变, 如失眠,心悸,健忘,气短,免疫力下降,月经不调,遗尿,四肢无力等。

因此许多病人虽患有与消化似乎无关的病变,但还需健脾以产生足够的气血来维持其他脏腑的正常功能。


三,如何养护脾脏

脾易被不良的饮食习惯损伤。除了营养不平外,不按时用餐,绝食,进食过饱等都能伤脾。

养护脾脏的做法包括:

  • 饮食平衡,勿食过油腻,过甘甜等食物

  • 避免冷饮,因脾喜温而误寒

  • 尽量按时用餐

  • 不要边进食边工作或从事其他活动

  • 饭后不要立刻活动 (例如:洗澡)

  • 避免思虑过多,因思虑易伤脾