Clear and Turbid (Qing Zhuo 清濁)

Clear 清 and turbid 濁 are the fundamental qualities initially emerging from undifferentiated primordial matter. They form a yin-yang pair but exist neither in isolation nor as pure terms: they are relative qualities within a process.

Clear and Turbid (Qing Zhuo 清濁)

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1:30 hours 
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By taking this course, you will

  • Understand the concepts of ‘clear’ qing 清 and ‘turbid’ zhuo 濁 in Chinese medicine based on their meaning in classical texts.
  • Establish a clear comprehension of the correct meaning of these terms in various contexts of medical texts.

Course Overview

In traditional Chinese cosmology, ‘clear’ and ‘turbid’ are the two fundamental qualities initially emerging from undifferentiated primordial matter. That which was a unified whole separates. 

The clear, which is light, subtle and inclined to rise, dissipates, expands, and moves. The turbid is heavy, thick, and inclined to settle; it stays in place, concentrates and congeals. The movement of the clear is yang and forms Heaven. The turbid is yin and Earth.

Clear and turbid, thus, form a yin–yang pair. Opposite yet complementary, they exist neither in isolation nor as pure terms: they are relative qualities within a process. Nothing can be definitively qualified as exclusively Yin or  Yang, solely clear or turbid. 

The ‘clear and turbid’ couple is found in different contexts and levels in Chinese medicine. The air of Heaven we inhale is light and without form. It is clear compared to the turbid heavier, denser food we take from the Earth. 

Understanding what is clear and what is turbid always depends on the context. 

For example, ‘Turbid yin’ enters the five zang (五臓 or 藏), describing the centripetal or inward movement of nutritive qi, the pure essences derived from food and nutrients. ‘Clear yang’ describes the light and centrifugal movement of qi, rising to the head or radiating toward the skin as defence Qi. 

For the same reason, the thin, light and centrifugal fluids (jin 津) are called clear compared to the dense and centripetal fluids (ye 液), even as the ye fluids are rich in essences and are themselves clear compared to the turbid residue of food.

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1.5 Hours | Group 1
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1.5 CPD

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I understand that the information in this course presented by the Provider and/or Instructor(s) is for educational purposes only and should only be applied with appropriate clinical judgment and used by a trained and licensed
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About the Teacher

Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallée

Senior sinlogist Elisabeth Rochat de laVallée has been studying and translating the classics of Chinese Medicine and philosophy for over 40 years. She continues teaching worldwide.

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