Gall Bladder TCM

The Gall Bladder in TCM is responsible for storing and secreting bile produced by the Liver. It secretes it into the Small Intestine to aid in digestion of food. It is the only yang organ that doesn’t deal directly with food (i.e. it doesn’t digest, transport or transform) and is paired with the Liver. It acts more like a yin organ and hence is known as one of the ‘curious’ (or extraordinary) organs.

If you are lacking in decisiveness, the Gall Bladder is a good place to start (if you ever do decide to start?!).  While the Liver looks after planning, it is the Gall Bladder that we decide with. They are both critical to our ability to achieve things. Having a strong gallbladder means that ‘we have some gall’, that we are strong and brave in our decisions. Having a strong Liver and Gallbladder is indicative that you know where you are going and how you are going to get there.

The bile stored by the Gallbladder helps the Stomach and Spleen digest properly. When there are problems with the bile, we can find that the digestive system does not flow smoothly and signs such as burping or nausea can develop.

We can examine the condition of the Liver and Gall Bladder by viewing the sides of the tongue. Treating the Gall Bladder is usually achieved by treating the Liver. In the case of headaches, it is worth examining the Gallbladder as its meridian runs over the shoulders and onto the head.

Its element is wood and along with the Liver, it is responsible for the sinews and tendons. GB 34 is worth considering in the case of problems with the tendons.

The Gallbladder channel covers an extensive area of the body – the head, shoulders, neck, sides of the torso, hips and legs. At the same time, this meridian is often overlooked as a treatment for problems in these areas.

Our ability to decide is crucial to maintaining a balance between ying and yang, our work and social life, our stress and enjoyment of life. Thus the Gallbladder channel runs down our side, symbolic of the balance between our front yin and rear yang channels.

If you find it difficult to sleep between 11pm and 1am (the hours of the Gallbladder in TCM) it may indicate a problem with the organ. Eating of very fatty or processed foods can stress the organ and throw up problems along its meridian.

Collected Gems of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Vol. 2 states: ‘The gall bladder weighs 3liang(Chinese oz., c. 50 gr) 3zhu(1zhu= 1/24liang), and measures 3cun(Chinese inches) in length. It is located under the smaller lobe of the liver. It contains 3ge(1ge= c. 1 decilitre) of refined juice’ (jingzhi, i.e. bile)’. Image from Wiki Commons

Many people have their Gallbladders removed due to the presence of gall stones. The culprit is probably diet and stress, the Liver and Gallbladder having ‘anger’ as their emotion. Modern diets of fatty foods, difficult to eat foods and foods filled with growth hormones, anti-biotics and chemicals (meats) means the digestive system has to work overtime to digest and eliminate waste.

Spring (the season of the Liver and Gallbladder) can be a great time to ‘detox’ the Gallbladder. Lots of new leaves for salads crop up in Spring, plus getting out in the Spring sunshine can help in relieving stress. The darkness of the winter has passed, the slumber and sleepiness of dark mornings and early nights shaken away. Eating in season will also help the body gear up for a busy summer.

Gall Bladder Properties

Element: Wood

Season: Spring

Taste: Sour

Opens into: Eyes / Nails

Sound: Groan

Hours: 11pm – 1am

Important points of the Gall Bladder in TCM

Jing Well: GB44 (metal)
Ying Spring: GB43 (water)
Shu Stream: GB41 (wood)
Jing River: GB38 (Fire)
He Sea: GB34 (Earth)
Yuan Source: GB40
Front Mu: GB24
Rear Shu: GB19
Luo Connecting: GB37
Xi-Cleft: GB36
Cardinal Points:
GB20 –
All cerebal disorders
GB39 –
Bone Marrow