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Chinese medicine views the organs not as separate entities, but as connected physical, chemical, and energetic networks. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the Chinese medicine concept of the Conception Vessel and how we can use herbal medicine to boost our health.
Unlike the main yin organ systems in the body (such as the Liver or the Spleen), the Conception Vessel has a channel and acupoints, but no corresponding organ. Instead, the Conception Vessel interacts with all the yin organs of the body and links with the Du, or Governing vessel.
Body Region: front
Paired Channel: Du/Governing Vessel
Western Associations: uterus, pelvic region, abdomen, chest, perineum.
Other Associations: all yin elements of the body.
Common Conditions: anxiety, chest pain, asthmas, abdominal pain, sore throat, menopause symptoms, infertility, reproductive issues.
Not all energy flow in the body happens through the main organ system channels. In fact, some of the most influential channels are deeper vessels that have no organ association. These are the extraordinary vessels.
The Ren and Du are the only two extraordinary vessels with points of their own. The Ren channel is attributed to yin, while the Du channel is attributed to yang. Together, they form what is called the “microcosmic orbit”: a connected circle of energy that connects yin and yang throughout the body.
The Ren channel is a deep source of the body’s yin energy and is even called the “sea of yin.” It travels up the front of the body along the pelvic region, abdomen, and chest, to connect with all the yin organs (Lung, Spleen, Heart, Pericardium, Kidneys, and Liver).
As the body’s main reserve of yin energy, the Ren channel restores the body’s fluids, cools the body from excess heat, and nourishes the tissues. It activates our “rest and digest” and helps us maintain calm, inward, and restorative energy. The Ren also controls reproduction and is particularly important during menstruation, conception, pregnancy, the postpartum period, and menopause.
Each organ in Chinese medicine is associated with an energetic channel where qi travels along the body, closer to the surface of the skin. These channels create a web of connections and are how acupuncturists “tap” into the body’s energetic system to stimulate change.
The Ren channel begins in the pelvic cavity. For females, this starts in the uterus. In males, it starts in the lower abdomen. The external pathway at the perineum, then moves up the front of the abdomen along the midline, passing the belly button, up to the chest. It continues up along the sternum to the throat and jaw and ends just below the lower lip.
An internal pathway branches off from here to encircle the mouth, then connect with the final point of the Du channel, right above the upper lip. Another internal branch begins back in the pelvic cavity. Here, it connects with the Du channel to travel up the spine to the skull and jaw.
The Conception Vessel has a powerful influence over the health of many internal organs, particularly the reproductive organs, the digestive organs, and the lungs and heart. Herbal medicine is particularly well-suited to improve conditions related to yin and can be used to restore the Conception Vessel’s yin reserves to help with a wide range of conditions.
Zuo Gui Wan is a famous formula that nourishes and supports the body’s yin. It can be used to counterbalance issues like dryness, heat, and irritability by supporting the Kidney and Conception Vessel. Use this formula for menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, to restore yin after childbirth, or for a dry, lingering cough.
Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan is a classic formula for soothing the Heart and easing issues like anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. This formula uses herbal medicinals that restore a healthy balance of yin and calm the mind.
Yin is what keeps our bodies moisturized, supple, and flexible. When we have a yin deficiency, we cannot properly nourish our tissues and we experience dryness, rigidity, and too much heat. As a result, issues like cough, dizziness, or skin conditions arise. Formulas like Mai Wei Di Huang Wan help to restore yin with a blend of nourishing herbs.
A healthy and abundant Conception Vessel is necessary for a healthy balance of yin and yang. Shop our full collection of Chinese herbal formulas and find balance today!