Small Intestine – TCM

The Small Intestine in TCM is credited with the separation of solids and liquids. Food is digested and ‘ripened’ by the stomach, the essences are extracted by the spleen and then food travels to the small intestine where the turbid and clear are separated. From the small intestine, liquid waste is then sent to the bladder and solid waste to the large intestine. The ‘pure’ or goodness extracted by the small intestine is sent back to the Spleen or the Liver.

The Small Intestine is related to the Heart meridian which can transfer problems with heat to the bladder via the small intestine (i.e. burning urine). Their emotions are joy or agitation. Given the role of the small intestine in separating and sorting the pure from the turbid, it is always worth considering the meridian in cases of a mental lack of order. It can also be overworked by the constant need for us to sort and process information, particularly when we are inundated with information overload in our modern lives. It is also worth taking a moment to consider that if we are constantly allowing negative thoughts and negative news into our minds, what effect does that have our our small intestine?

Given the small intestines role in processing foods eaten by us, it is vulnerable to influences from outside the body. In cases where the small intestine is not functioning properly, toxic waste can leak into the liver or spleen causing them to work harder. If they become overpowered, the toxic waste can leak into the blood.

The Small Intestine in TCM has a time of 1-3pm, its season is summer and its color is red.

Eating too much raw food can cause damp or stagnant conditions in the Spleen. The opposite is also true. Eating too much hot food can cause our emotions to become agitated.

The small intestine meridian begins at the little finger and runs along the inside arm to the shoulder where a branch travels internally to the heart and small intestine.

The small intestine (image from Wiki Commons from user Wellness Images).
The small intestine (image from Wiki Commons from user Wellness Images).