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I. Lungs | II. Spleen | III Heart | IV. Liver | V. Fu-organs

IV. The kidneys' relationship with the liver

The liver stores blood and the kidneys store essence. The liver promotes flowing and releasing movements, while the kidney promotes storing and sealing up actions. The two organs both belong to the lower burner (part of the triple burner), which is said to be from the same origin. They are correlated with each other both in physiology and pathology.

1. Water can nourish wood.

According to the five elements theory, the liver belongs to wood and kidneys belong to water. The liver promotes flowing and releasing qi movements, and its other function is to store the blood and regulate the supply, which ensures proper blood circulation and bodily adjustment. The water element generates the wood element in the five elements theory. This is sometimes referred to as a mother-child relationship because only a mother
The kidneys can nourish the liver.
can give birth to a baby. The kidneys enhance and nourish the liver so it can function normally. One of the related illustrations is the relationship between kidney-yin and liver-yin. Kidney-yin nourishes liver-yin so it makes the liver-yang unlikely to be hyperactive, and therefore, creates unrestrained conditions for flowing and releasing movements. On the other hand, liver-yin contributes to the regeneration of kidney-yin. Among them, kidney-yin is predominant. Abundance in kidney-yin is crucial in retaining the dynamic balance between them. If kidney-yin is deficient, then the water element fails to nourish the wood element and leads to a yin deficiency in both of the liver and the kidneys and also hyperactivity of liver-yang. Then, excessive fire evils accumulate inside the body. Symptoms like headaches and pain on the sides of the ribs will occur.

2. Essence and blood transform each other mutually.

Acquired essence and blood come from the same source. They are transformed from the nutrient essence that is produced during digestion and absorption by the stomach and the spleen. The blood is then stored in the liver and the essence is stored in the kidneys. Under normal biological conditions, blood stored in the liver relies on the nourishment of kidney essence; on the contrary, kidney essence also depends on persistent complement from the liver blood. They mutually transform and nourish each other.

3. Both of them possess prime minister-fire.

The prime minister-fire has its origin from the vital gate, which is located in the liver and kidneys. It is relative to the monarch-fire(heart fire) and the two work together to coordinate functioning of all the organs like a kingdom that promotes healthy functioning of the whole body.

4. Their functions are opposite but complementary.

The liver promotes the flowing and releasing movements while the kidneys promote storing and sealing up actions. Proper flowing and releasing in liver-qi movement ensures that kidney-qi works within its normal capacity so it does not become hyperactive. On the other hand, proper storing and sealing up actions of kidney-qi restrict the liver so it does not hyper or under function. Those actions are opposite but complementary. This special relationship is illustrated when looking at male ejaculation. For example, if the liver fails to regulate flowing and releasing movements and the kidneys cannot store essence, the liver-yang will become hyperactive and the fire elements cannot be contained. When the excessive fire overwhelms the leaked out essence, it will give rise to nocturnal emission or spermatorrhea (involuntary discharge of semen without orgasm).

The liver promotes the flowing and releasing movements while the kidneys promote storing and sealing up actions.