Spleen-pancreas: Earth-energy yin organ

In Chinese medicine, the function of the spleen organ-energy system includes the pancreas.  Called the 'Minister of the Granary', the spleen and pancreas control extraction and assimilation of nutrients from food and fluids by providing the digestive enzymes and energy required by the stomach and small intestine.  They regulate the quantity and quality of blood in circulation and coordinate with the kidneys to control fluid balance throughout the system.  Spleen energy commands extraction of energy from stomach to lungs, where it is blended with energy from air to form True Human Energy.  The spleen directly influences and is reflected by the tone and condition of muscle tissue.  Weak limbs and muscular atrophy are indications of deficient spleen energy.

Spleen and pancreas condition is reflected externally by the color and tone of the lips: reddish moist lips indicate strong spleen function; pale dry lips are a sign of weak spleen function.  The mouth is the spleen's external aperture, and temperamental moodiness is its associated emotion.  The Chinese term for 'bad temper' is 'bad spleen energy', a psychophysiological association also reflected in the English term 'splenetic'.


Paired Organ Stomach
Color orange yellow
Peak Hours 9am-11am
Positive Emotions trust, honesty, openness, acceptance, equanimity, balance, and impartiality
Negative Emotions worry, excessive thinking, pensiveness, obsessiveness, remorse, regret, obsessions, and self-doubt
Physical Branches muscles, lips, mouth, saliva, lymphatic system
Functions cleanses and 'modifies' the blood, houses the body's Yi (wisdom mind).

Spleen: Psycho-Emotional Aspects

The Spleen houses the body's thoughts and intentions (Yi), and is responsible for analytical thinking, memory, cognition, intelligence, and ideas.  The Spleen is responsible for directing memories to the Kidneys for short-term memory storage.  The Kidneys will later transfer these memories to the Heart for long-term memory storage.  The Spleen's positive psycho-emotional attributes are trust, honesty, openness, acceptance, equanimity, balance, and impartiality; its negative attributes are worry, excessive thinking, pensiveness, obsessiveness, remorse, regret, obsessions, and self-doubt.

Note: From the clavicles, an internal branch of the Stomach channel descends through the upper torso, heart, lungs, and spirally wraps the spleen.  A close physical activity this mirrors are the two  major lymph canals which empty into the subclavian veins.  The lymph rich blood is then passed through the heart, through the lungs, and is gradually filtered through the Spleen, which modifies, cleanses and 'tones' the blood.  An excellent exercise for the Stomach/Spleen channels is to massage the ST-12 and SP-21 points on both sides.

The Spleen Channel Pathway, Acupuncture Points, and Internal Trajectories

Beginning on the inside tip of the big toe, the spleen channel follows the inner aspect of the foot to the arch, then turns up in front of the inner ankle to SP-6.  It continues up the leg, just behind the bone, crossing the knee and ascending the anterior thigh from the inner border of the kneecap.  From the groin it enters the lower abdomen, meets the conception vessel, then resurfaces briefly before penetrating the spleen and stomach.  The main channel then ascends through the diaphragm, over the chest, and crosses the lung channel at LU-1.  It continues up to the esophagus and under the tongue.  An inner branch from the stomach region transports qi up to the heart.

Internal Trajectories of the Spleen Meridian

The Spleen vessel comes into the abdomen, permeates the spleen, and spirally wraps the stomach, comes up past the diaphragm, surrounds the throat, makes contact with and disperses into the base of the tongue.

This passage is interpreted to mean that the spleen meridian rises up the leg to SP-12 on the abdomen, thence to SP-13, to CV-3, to CV-4, to SP-14, to SP-15, to CV-10, to SP-16, to GB-24 to LV-14, to CV-12.  There is also some suggestion of a downward connection to CV-10 from here, which would create a cyclic pattern.  Generally, however, the internal trajectory starts from CV-12, passes inside to and permeates the spleen, then comes to and spirally wraps the stomach.  There it comes up through or along the esophagus to the base of the tongue.  From this trajectory a branch passes to the heart.

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