Jin Ye (Body Fluids) - Vital Substances in TCM

Jin Ye (Body Fluids) - Vital Substances in TCM

The word "Jin" means anything liquid or fluid. The word "Ye" means fluids of living organisms. Jin Ye = Organic Fluids


These fluids are clear, light, thin and watery, and circulate in the exterior of the body (skin and muscles) with the Wei Qi. Under control of the Lungs, which disseminate them to the skin and of the Upper Burner, which controls their transformation and movement.


  • To moisten and partly to nourish skin and muscles. (exuded as sweat, but also manifests as tears, saliva.
  • To form a compound of Blood (thin out the Blood and prevent its stasis)


These are the more turbid, dense, and heavy fluids, and they circulate in the interior of the body with the Ying (Nutritive) Qi. Move relatively slowly.

Under control of (transformed by) Spleen and Kidneys, moved and excreted by Middle and Lower Burner.


  • To moisten the joints, spine, brain, bone marrow.
  • Lubricate the "orifices of the sense organs" i.e. eyes, ears, nose and mouth

Origin of Jin Ye (Body Fluids)

Body Fluids originate from food and drink.
They enter the body via the Stomach, which is said to be the origin of fluids.

The Fluids are transformed and separated into "pure" and "impure" (turbid) parts several times. Intricate series of purification processes. Pure body fluids are raised upward to the Lungs for distribution to the exterior. Impure fluids flow downward, finally excreted via the bladder.

Relationship with the Internal Organs (Zang Fu)


The origin of fluids. Fluids first enter the Stomach where they are transformed and separated into pure and impure. Pure part goes to Spleen, impure part goes to Small Intestine and further separation. Stomach said to be "source" of body fluids.


Very important in relation to physiology and pathology of Body Fluids. Controls the direction of flow of Fluids: pure parts upward and impure parts downward at all stages of the transformation process. The Spleen is treated in any kind of disorder of the Body Fluids.


Control dispersion of pure part of Body Fluids (coming from Spleen) to the space under the skin.
Send part of fluids down to the Kidneys & Bladder.
Said to "regulate the Water Passages".


Extremely important in physiology of Blood Fluids. Vaporize some of the fluids they receive and send back to Lungs to moisten Lungs.

Kidney Yang controls many stages of the transformation of fluids:

  1. Provides heat for Spleen to transform Body Fluids.
  2. Assists Small Intestine in its function to separate pure and impure Body Fluids.
  3. Provides Qi to Bladder for its function of Qi transformation.
  4. Assists Triple Burner (San Jiao) transformation and excretion of fluids.


Separates fluids it receives into pure and impure.
Excretes urine with help of Kidney Yang.

San Jiao (Triple Burner)

Assists transformation, transportation and excretion of fluids at all stages.

Upper Burner: is compared to a "mist": Lungs disperse fluids to the space under the skin.

Middle Burner: is compared to a "muddy pool" (also to a "foam"). Stomach churns fluids and directs impure part to Small Intestine and pure part to Spleen.

Lower Burner: compared to a "drainage ditch" or "swamp". Small Intestine separates pure from impure, Bladder and Kidneys transform, separate and excrete fluids.

Relationship between Qi and the Jin Ye

Qi transforms and transports fluids, otherwise fluids accumulate.

Qi holds the body fluids in, as it does with the blood. When the Qi is deficient, fluids can leak out.


  • Kidney Yang Deficiency causing Enuresis
  • Lung Qi Deficiency causing Spontaneous Sweating
  • Spleen Qi Deficiency causing Chronic Vaginal Discharge

Qi is also dependant on Fluids, and a loss of FLuids can result in a deficiency of Qi


  • Excessive sweating causes a loss of Defensive (Wei) Qi along with the Fluids.
  • Excessive vomiting depletes Qi.

Relationship between Blood and the Jin Ye

Mutual nourishment

  1. Body Fluids constantly replenish Blood and "thin it out" so that it does not coagulate. "If Body Fluids are harmonized they turn red and are transformed into Blood."
  2. Blood also nourishes Body Fluids: both are Yin. Hence loss of Fluids, e.g. in excessive perspiration, can cause Deficient Blood. Conversely, chronic blood loss can cause loss of Fluids and dryness.

Blood & Body Fluids have the same source and mutually nourish each other. In treatment, one should never cause sweating where a patient is bleeding or if there is significant Deficiency of Blood. Also one should never let blood when a patient is sweating.

References Used

The TCM information presented here has been referenced from numerous sources; including teachers, practitioners, class notes from Five Branches University, the following books, as well as other sources. If you have benefited from this information, please consider supporting the authors and their works by purchasing the books below.

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