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IBS due to Kidney Yang Deficiency
There are quite a few symptoms associated with a deficiency of Yang in the body. Basically, Yang (rhymes with "song") is all of the warming activities in your body. It is metabolic heat, it is the sympathetic nervous system that gets everything up and running, it is adrenaline, thyroxin, serum glucose.
The Yang deficiency tongue is likely going to be big, flabby, wet, and pale. People with Yang deficiency can also get to looking big, flabby, wet and pale. This is supposed to be funny, but it is true also.
If you're deficient in Yang you're going to be cold all the time. Now mostly, when we think about a typical Yang deficiency, we think in terms of the functions of the Kidneys since they are said to be the source of Yang in the body according to Chinese medicine. This is interesting since the adrenal glands, the source of the adrenaline necessary for the fight or flight instincts, both very Yang qualities, are found sitting right on top of the Kidneys. That isn't a rationalization of the fact that Yang comes from the Kidneys, but if that helps you understand, I'm glad.
Anyway, there are a few organs that rely on the Yang that comes floating up from the Kidneys. One is called the Spleen in Chinese medicine. That may be better translated to pancreas, but its too late for that now, we're all calling it the Spleen. Anyway. Should the Spleen not be getting enough warmth from the Kidneys we can find a Spleen that just isn't warm enough to do its job and that leads us to the Irritable Bowel Syndrome that you may have.
Specifically there is one symptom in particular that is often indicative of a Kidney and Spleen Yang deficiency. We call it "Cock's Crow Diarrhea." No, it isn't a bowel movement that sounds like a cock's crow, but rather it is early morning diarrhea. The name comes from the fact that cocks crow in the early morning. Not something you'd know off hand, unless you lived in a place where there was a cock near your bathroom window, I guess.
Besides the early morning diarrhea, you'll find other symptoms of coldness in the body such as cold hands and feet, chronic low back pain, frequent urination and low libido or impotence. And you thought the diarrhea was a curse.
So what should you do if you've got the dreaded Kidney and Spleen Yang deficiency? Well, informed TCM doctors everywhere reach for Li Zhong Wan (Regulate the Middle Pills). The name implies that this formula is used to make the organs in the middle of the body work better. These are the digestive organs that sit in the center of everything.
I've mentioned the formula "Li Zhong Wan" as an example only. There are many formulas, many herbs that can be chosen in the treatment of your IBS that is due to a deficiency of Kidney Yang. For instance in the case of diarrhea due to Kidney Yang deficiency, you might want to think about Si Shen Wan. But in the end its going to require much more questioning and factoring in of other data to determine for sure if your condition truly is a deficiency of Kidney Yang. An herbalist trained in traditional Chinese medicine can easily make that determination. I encourage you to locate one in your area if you 'd like to pursue herbal medicines in the treatment of your IBS.
Acupuncture for Kidney Yang deficiency is especially effective and just plain feels good. One tool that we often use to warm the Kidneys and Spleen is called "Moxibustion." We often simply refer to it as "Moxa" since that's about 50% less syllables and we like to be efficient. Anyway, moxa is a Chinese herb called Ai Ye rolled up into a cigar, or other shape. Ai Ye is Mugwort, incidentally. We light it like incense and then hold it close to specific acupoints on the body that are said to communicate with the Kidneys or Spleen. We sometimes burn this herb on top of a slice of raw ginger atop the belly button too, to warm up the Spleen and the digestion.
Kids, don't try this at home. It hurts when you mess up. Licensed practitioners of Chinese medicine can make mistakes too, but we're trained how to do this safely, for what its worth.
So, we have acupuncture with moxabustion to fix this problem from the outside in and herbal medicines to work from the inside out. Its a good thing. It may not be an overnight success since any deficiency syndrome is said to take longer to fix than those problems that are excess in nature, meaning too much of something. This is a problem of not enough Yang in the body. Give it some time, hang in there, get treatments, take your medicine. You'll feel better.
All of the formulas mentioned in this article are widely available at Chinese medicine pharmacies, though the so-called patent medicines that you'll find there aren't always as strong as they could be. These formulas come in a variety of different forms and strengths and your friendly neighborhood herbalist can assist you in obtaining them as is appropriate.
You can purchase any of the formulas mentioned in this article by simply clicking on their names. Another option is to obtain this formula modified for your unique situation from Beyond Well Being.