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Herbs for a Kidney Yang Deficiency

author image Brian Connolly
Based in the Appalachian Mountains, Brian Connolly is a certified nutritionist and has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a licensed yoga and martial arts instructor whose work regularly appears in “Metabolism,” “Verve” and publications throughout the East Coast. Connolly holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and the University of Virginia.
Herbs for a Kidney Yang Deficiency
Reishi mushrooms growing on a farm. Photo Credit geargodz/iStock/Getty Images

Kidney yang deficiency is a diagnosis given in Traditional Chinese Medicine to individuals experiencing a variety of symptoms, including sore knees and lower back, aversion to cold, fatigue, urine incontinence, decreased libido, edema and sterility. Like other conditions in Traditional Chinese Medicine, kidney yang deficiency is often treated with a combination of diet changes, acupuncture treatments and herbal remedies. For best results, talk to your doctor before taking any herbs to reduce the risk of a negative reaction.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is a complete medical system that has been proven to treat a variety of illnesses, including obesity, high cholesterol, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, sinusitis and digestive disorders. The body’s organs are broken down into five different systems, each with corresponding qualities of yin and yang that are nourished by an interflowing energy called qi.

Kidney Yang Deficiency

The Shen-Nong website associates the kidney yang with the foundation of yang qi throughout the body. When a kidney yang deficiency occurs, the body’s organs and tissues become cold due to a lack of the yang qi created in the kidneys, leading to symptoms of declining libido, aversion to cold, cold sensations in the knees and back, fatigue, enuresis, impotence and female sterility. A TCM practitioner who diagnoses a kidney yang deficiency will search for physical symptoms such as a fine, deep pulse quality and a bulky, moist tongue that is covered with white fur. Yang vacuity internal cold is a condition commonly linked to kidney yang deficiency and includes symptoms such as cold skin and spontaneous sweating.

Herbs and Treatment

In addition to dietary and lifestyle adjustments, herbal formulas are frequently recommended for individuals with kidney yang deficiency. According to the Ageless Herbs website, herbs that nourish the kidney qi include rehmannia root, morinda root, cuscuta, fenugreek, cinnamon bark, water plantain root, reishi mushroom and a variety of Chinese herbs, including jiaogulan, bu gu zhi and shan zhu yu.

Dietary Adjustments

The East Mountain Clinic website recommends dietary adjustments for individuals with kidney yang deficiency. Whole grains, vegetables and lean proteins are highly recommended, including rice, oats, barley, spelt, parsnips, onions, leeks, pumpkin, carrots, peas, garlic, chick peas, black beans, walnuts, mussels, tuna, salmon, dates and fennel. Dairy, soy products, ice cream and raw vegetables are counter-productive and may deplete what TCM practitioners call kidney fire. Talk to your doctor before taking any herbs or making any drastic changes to your lifestyle.

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