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Yin Organs Overview


The yin organs produce, transform,                              and store qi, or energy flow.
The yin organs produce, transform, and store qi, or energy flow.

The yin organs, in traditional Chinese medicine, produce, transform, and store qi, blood, bodily fluids, and essence. The five yin organs are the lungs, spleen, heart, liver, and kidneys. The pericardium is sometimes considered a sixth yin organ.

Traditional Eastern organ theory was developed during Confucian times (559-479 b.c.), when it was considered a violation of the sanctity of life to perform dissections.

Instead of using surgical approaches, the Taoists developed their understanding of human physiology based on careful observations of how the body functions.

For this reason, Chinese medical theory tends to focus more on the relationship of one organ to another. The lungs, for instance, "open to" the nose: when the lungs are healthy, the sense of smell is acute, and the nasal passages remain open. While this approach has some analogues to the Western understanding of internal organs, it is important to view the Eastern tradition on its own terms.

Find out more about the role of the lungs in traditional Chinese medicine on the next page.

For more about traditional Chinese medicine, treatment, cures, beliefs, and other interesting topics, see: