Chinese Med 101: Kidney/Bladder System, Urinary

In order for our patients to receive more information on the fundamentals of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and associated western symptoms, we are putting together a series of very basic information of each system.  It is not meant to be all inclusive or include every combination or possibility of a diagnosis from a TCM perspective, that is up to your practitioner to figure out. Your practitioner will help you understand your specific diagnosis.


We are also including some common foods that a patient can eat in order to assist in balancing their energy and associated patterns.

Kidney Meridian

The Kidney Meridian travels from the soul of the foot (grounding point), up the inner side of leg as shown in the picture.

Kidney Syndromes

The Kidney System in TCM is different in many ways than what we think of as the circulatory system in western medicine.  The heart element has the following correspondences:

  • Yin  associated Yang organ is the Bladder
  • Color: Black
  • Flavor: Salty
  • Emotion: Fear
  • Tissue: Bones, teeth, marrow and nerves
  • Sense: Hearing
  • Element: Water


The Kidney Qi in TCM has the following etiology and associated pathology signs/symptoms:

  • Dominates water metabolism – Edema, dysuria, urinary incontinence, dysentery
  • Produces marrow – Brain (Cerebral hypoplasia)
  • Nourishes bones – Osteomalacia, Loose or loss of teeth
  • Houses Zhi (Will Power) – Concentration, thinking and focus
  • Stores Jing (Essence) – Infertility, slow development, early senility
  • Opens into the ear – Tinnitus and deafness
  • Lumbar is the house of the Kideny – Soreness, pain or weakness of the lumbar area and spine
  • Dominates the reception of Qi – Asthma
  • Warms the Spleen to promote Spleen Function – Diarrhea at dawn
  • Dominates the fire at the gate of vitality – Prospermia, impotence, yin deficiency, yang hyperactivity, nocturnal emissions, hypersexuality

Kidney Qi deficiency:

  • Impaired hearing
  • Low back and knees achy and weak
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Spermatorrhea
  • Dribbling after urination
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent urination
  • In Women: Infertility, Clear/cold leukorrhea, Vaginal discharge, prolapse of uterus

Western symptoms: Chronic nephritis, Diabetes insipidis, Enuresis, Incontinence of urine, Neurasthenai

Dietary recommendations:

Corn, Oats, Quinoa, Potato, Sweet Potato, Watercress, Yam, Cherry, Grape, Mulberry, Chestnut, Pistachio, Walnut, Carp, Eel, Oyster, Shrimp, Chicken, Duck, Goose, Lamb, Mutton, Pork, Venison, Cinnamon bark, Fennel seed, Licorice, Sage, Black Cohosh, Bushu, Geranium, Ginseng (American), Heartsease, Kava Kava, Microalgae, Mugwort, Pollen, Rue, Saw Palmetto, White Deadnettle, Molasses

Kidney Yin Deficiency.

  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus or deafness
  • Aching, soreness of low back
  • Spermatorrhea or premature ejaculation
  • Bones ache in heals and legs
  • Dry mouth, thirst
  • Night sweats
  • Malar flush
  • Low grade fever in afternoon
  • Dry stools or constipation
  • Dark, scanty urine
  • Heightened libido

Western symptoms: Chronic hearing problems, Chronic low back pain, Chronic nephritis, Diabetes mellitus, Essential hypertension, Pulmonary TB

Dietary recommendations:

Kamut, Millet, Wheat, Alfalfa Sprout, Asparagus, Potato, Seaweed, Sting bean, Sweet Potato, Yam, Kelp, Nori, Wakame, Mulberry, Raspberry, Black bean, Kidney bean, Soybean (black), Sesame, Abalone, Clam, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Oyster, Chicken, Pigeon, Pork, Black Cohosh, Borage, Ginseng (American), Red clover

Kidney Yang Deficiency:

  • Low back feels cold and achy
  • Feeling chilled with aversion to cold
  • Bright-white facial complexion
  • Frequent urination that is clear
  • Nocturia
  • Lassitude, apathy
  • Withdrawn
  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Impotence
  • Low libido
  • Female infertility

Western symptoms: Chronic lumbago, Hypoadrenocorticism, Neurasthenia, Depression, Prostate issues, Sexual Dysfunction

Dietary recommendations:

Jasmine Tea, Star Anise, Saw Palmetto, Pine needle, Horny Goat Weed, Damiana, Aconite, Winter Savory, Savory, Horseradish, Fennel seed, Clove, Dill seed, Clove, Cinnamon bark, Chive seed, Basil, Aniseed, Beef (kidney), Goat, Lamb (kidney), Lamb, Mutton, Venison, Lobster, Crawfish, Mussel, Shrimp, Chestnut, Pistachio, Walnut, Quinoa

Kidney Essence (Jing) Deficiency:

  • Dizziness
  • Tinnitus
  • Low back and weak knees

In adults:

  • Loss of head hair
  • Graying or whitening of the hair
  • Weak sexual function
  • Atrophy of the feet and difficulty walking
  • Poor memory
  • Senility
  • Tinnitus
  • Brittle bones
  • Loose teeth or bad teeth

Western symptoms: Congenital mental retardation, Dementia, Osteoporosis

Dietary recommendations:

Sesame, Walnut, Oyster, Mussel, Beef (kidney), Chicken, Lamb (kidney), Pork (kidney), Nettle, Micoalgae, Pollen, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Zinc, Algae, Royal Jelly, Vitamin A


Urinary Bladder Meridian

The Urinary Bladder Meridian travels from the eye to the foot bilaterally. As shown in the picture.

Urinary Bladder Syndromes

The Urinary Bladder or Bladder System in TCM is different in many ways than what we think of as the bladder system in western medicine.  The bladder element has the following correspondences:

    • Yang associated Yin organ is the Kidney
  • Color: Black
  • Flavor: Salty
  • Emotion: Fear
  • Tissue: Bones, teeth, marrow and nerves
  • Sense: Hearing
  • Element: Water

The Bladder Meridian Qi in TCM has the following etiology and associated pathology signs/symptoms:

  • Stores and excretes urine – Abundant clear colored urine
  • Emotions – Jealousy, suspicion, long standing grudges

Damp Heat in the Bladder:

  • Frequent urination
  • Urgency of urination
  • Painful urination
  • Continuous dripping of urination
  • Turbid urine
  • Stones/sand in urine
  • Fever
  • Thirst
  • Low back pain

Western symptoms: Acute UTI, Acute prostatitis, Urinary stones

Diet Recommendations:

Barley, Broccoli, Celery, Cucumber, Water chestnut, Watercress, Cranberry, Kiwi, Pineapple, Watermelon, Blackeye pea, Juniper, Purslane, Barberry, Bearberry leaf, Burdock root, Chaparral leaf, Comfrey leaf, Cornsilk, Echinacea, Elderflower, Goldenseal, Kava Kava, Marshmallow root, Meadowsweet, Mullein, Poke root, Red Clover, Sarsaparilla, Slippery elm, Tansy, Sandalwood, Elderflower tea, Tea

Damp Cold in Bladder:

  • Frequent and urgent urination
  • Clear or cloudy urine
  • Obstruction of flow
  • Possible stabbing pain in lower groin or back

Western symptoms: Prostatis, Urolithiasis

Dietary Recommendations:

 Blackeye bean, Caraway, Fennel seed, Thyme, Cinnamon twig, Cowslip root, Saw Palmetto, Wintergreen

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