Home > Basic Principles > How TCM Kidneys Affect Other Organs > The kidneys' relationship with the spleen
I. Lungs | II. Spleen | III Heart | IV. Liver | V. Fu-organs

II. The kidneys' relationship with the spleen

The kidneys are regarded as the congenital foundation and the spleen is regarded as the acquired foundation of life.
While the kidneys are regarded as the "congenital foundation" and origin of life, the spleen is regarded as the "acquired foundation" and source of blood and qi production. The two organs mutually nourish and promote each other.

The spleen rules transformation and transportation. That means it is the primary organ for digestion, absorption and distribution of nutrient essences to the entire body. The nutrient essences are the material basis for fundamental substances like blood, qi and body fluids. That is why the spleen is regarded as the "acquired foundation" and source of blood and qi production. In order to work properly, the spleen depends on the warming and propelling activities of kidney-yang. Yimen Banghe (Medical Alarms) states: "The transformation and transportation functions of the spleen and stomach are actually motivated by the kidney yang's warming and propelling energy." The statement implies that the congenital foundation supports the acquired foundation, which enables the spleen and stomach to work properly. As a result, food and drink are digested and nutrient essences are produced, ensuring the replenishment and nourishment of the body.

Formation of acquired jing (essence) that is used to support life functions.

Once the kidney yang is deficient and fails to warm and propel the spleen, the transformation and transportation processes become abnormal, and problems such as diarrhea may occur. In the Chinese medicine classic Jingyue Quanshu (Jingyue's Complete Works), it notes: "The kidneys act as the gate of the stomach; they open into the anterior and posterior orifices; therefore, urination and defecation processes are controlled by them. If a kidney yang deficiency is present, then the fire of the vital gate is diminished...... the body's yin energy will be in extreme, which leads to uncontrollable diarrhea." Clinically, in cases of senile degeneration or long-term illness, individuals usually suffer from a kidney yang-qi deficiency and the spleen loses warmth. Diarrhea is a common symptom among them. For those people who present with constant diarrhea before daybreak, a common TCM therapeutic approach is to warm the kidneys and spleen.