The Zang-Fu Theory
The zang-fu theory explains the physiological function,
pathological changes, and mutual relationships of every zang
and fu organ. In traditional Chinese medicine the zang and fu
organs are not simply anatomical substances, but more importantly
represent the generalization of the physiology and pathology of
certain systems of the human body.
Zang and fu consist of the five zang and six fu organs.
The five zang organs are the heart (including the pericardium), lung,
spleen, liver, and kidney. The six fu organs are the gall bladder,
stomach, large intestine, small intestine, urinary bladder and the sanjiao
(three areas of the body cavity). Zang and fu are classified by
the different features of their functions. The five zang organs
mainly manufacture and store essence: qi, blood, and body fluid.
The six fu organs mainly receive and digest food, absorb nutrient
substances, transmit and excrete wastes. As the Suwen says:
The five zang organs store up essential qi and regulate its
outflow. The six fu organs transform and transport substances
without storing them and for this reason they may be
over-filled but cannot be filled to capacity.
There is another category of organs called the extraordinary
fu organs which include the brain, marrow, bone, vessels,
gall bladder, and uterus. They are named fu but their functions
are similar to that of the five zang organs. Since their physiological
functions and pathological changes are closely connected with
the zang-fu organs they will be discussed below under the
specific zang or fu organ.
More on the Zang-Fu Theory, click for more info about
The Five Zang Organs and
The Six Fu Organs.