Today we will talk about the second major organ, the Lung. The function of the lungs is defined in Western medicine similarly to how it is defined Chinese medicine, but at the same time there are many differences. The lungs control inhalation and exhalation of qi, or energy. It is very important that you inhale the pure qi from air. The spleen organ, which we will talk about in the later lecture, sends the gu qi or “food qi” to the lungs. The combination of pure qi inhaled from the air and the gu qi the lungs get from food is called zong qi, or gathering qi. The function of zong qi is to nourish the heart and lungs, assist the lungs to control respiration, and to assist circulation to the throat influencing how weak or loud your voice will be; the stronger the lungs and zong qi, the stronger your voice.
Also, people with weakness will be easily affected by emotional problems. If the lungs are weak, the qi is not able to circulate through the body, causing weakness and tiredness.
When the lungs are healthy, the body will maintain a normal temperature and protect the body from invasion of pathogens such as damp, cold, heat, and wind. When the lungs are weak, people are more susceptible to catching colds and flues.
Lungs have the ability to send the qi down to the kidneys, where kidneys absorb the qi and control healthy respiration. If the descending function of qi is impaired, that may lead to problems such as coughing, wheezing, and asthma. Lungs also send down the body fluids to the kidneys, and if that process is out of balance, then it will result in edema mainly in the upper part of the body, especially the face.
In Chinese Medicine the lungs are associated with skin, and sweat glands. Impaired lung function may lead to skin problems, allergies, eczema and other skin conditions. Lungs open into the nose, which means all the problems associated with nasal passages can be controlled by treating your lungs.
The emotion associated with lungs is grief. With normal healthy lungs things such as changes of your surroundings, loss of someone or something, loss of a job, can be dealt with in a healthy adult way, while lungs that are impaired will find difficulty coping with any stressful situation.
In the next article I will discuss the function of the liver organ.