At Long Last-A Blog On The Kidney

Several weeks ago I started a blog series on the organs from a TCM perspective. I just realized that I left out (possibly) the most important one-the Kidney. Sorry to keep you all waiting...here we go! The Kidney is the organ of birth, death, and reproduction (See? I told you it was important!) It provides our basic essence of health-whether we are born healthy and meant to live a long, disease-free life, or we are born to a host of illnesses-it all depends on the Kidney. This organ is responsible for bone, teeth, and development-so people born with spinal or congenital issues are said to have weak Kidney energy.

The Kidney is also the organ that gives us our reservoir of energy. If it is weak, the patient will feel draggy and fatigued. If the Kidney energy is strong, the patient will be strong and full of vitality. As the Kidney essence declines throughout life, symptoms become more pronounced-that's why we start feeling less energetic as we get older. Due to its link with bone, declining Kidney energy also leads to low back, knee, and ankle pain. Since the Kidney rules the process of aging, you can lay the blame for that bald spot here. Lost teeth, missing hair, premature grays-this is all due to the Kidney. Hearing loss is also a sign of declining Kidney energy.

Long-lasting, chronic issues are connected to the Kidney. If someone has an issue that has been going on for years, it is linked to this organ. It also has a lot to do with reproduction, so if the energy is weak, the patient will have difficulty conceiving or be prone to frequent miscarriages (although both issues can stem from imbalances in other organ systems as well.) For the males, weak Kidneys can lead to impotence, or premature ejaculation. And excess Yang energy of the Kidney can have the opposite effect, leading to an excess sex drive. In the case of females, the loss of Kidney energy becomes more marked during menopause-the lack of Yin brings on the end of the period, and of the ability to conceive.

Two distinct signs that the Kidneys are out of balance are tinnitus and cock's crow diarrhea. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) that is low-pitched is related to the Kidney, while hearing a high-pitched sound points to an imbalance of the Liver. Cock's crow diarrhea is diarrhea that is only experienced early in the morning.