The Gallbladder and Bile in the Traditional Chinese Medical Science

The Gallbladder in the traditional Chinese medical science is similar to the gallbladder in the Western medical science. It stores bile which is secreted by the liver, and discharges bile for the digestion of food.

Bile originates from the liver. In the traditional Chinese medical theory, the liver transforms the surplus of the liver-Qi (肝气), the active substance of the liver, into bile. The book “Dong Eui Bo Kam” (东医宝鉴), a traditional Chinese medical work which was written by a Korean doctor Huh Jun (许浚), says, “The surplus of the liver-Qi is released into the gallbladder. It accumulates, and then gets concentrated.”

The functioning of the gallbladder is unblocked and smoothed by the liver. When the liver works well, bile is discharged smoothly by the gallbladder. The impaired functioning of liver can cause stasis of bile, and the person will suffer from indigestion, inappetence, unformed stool, the distending pain of abdomen. The serious stasis of bile may cause the bile to ooze abnormally, and even result in the sickly yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, which is the typical symptom of jaundice.

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