The Anatomical Identity of the Spleen in Chinese Medicine

TCM Talk
20 minutes
On-Demand Video

Course Overview

In modern Chinese, the spleen is designated by the character pi 脾. The accuracy of this translation is shrouded in controversy and some commentators have speculated that pi is, in fact, the pancreas, which is currently called yi 胰.
In this Talk Dr. Tom Fleischer, Ph.D., Dip.CM traces the original identities of the pi and yi in pre-modern China to determine the tissues they referred to. The Talk also addresses related issues such as the physical perception of the body versus that of the qi perception of the body and more.

This Talk has been produced from materials recorded at the ICCM Congress. The ICCM arranges a yearly outstanding international TCM gathering which is held in Tel Aviv during the Vernal Equinox, in March, every year.

Course Reviews:

interesting discussion…

Rated 5.0 out of 5
November 27, 2023

interesting discussion…

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spleen is considered one of the vital organs and is part of the digestive system. However, its function in TCM is different from its anatomical function in Western medicine.

In TCM, the spleen is responsible for the transformation and transportation of nutrients extracted from food and fluids, playing a crucial role in the body’s digestive system. It is associated with the Earth element and is believed to govern the transformation of food into energy (Qi) and the production of Blood. This concept of the spleen’s function is more related to its energetic and functional aspects rather than its anatomical structure.

TCM views the spleen in terms of its functions and how its imbalance may lead to various health issues. When the spleen’s function is compromised, it might manifest as symptoms like digestive problems, fatigue, weak muscles, and a weakened immune system, among others.

It’s important to note that the TCM understanding of organs often differs significantly from their anatomical counterparts in Western medicine. The perspectives on their functions, relationships, and the ways imbalances manifest in the body vary between these medical systems.

Roberto Diala

The spleen is a fascinating organ

Rated 5.0 out of 5
January 9, 2021

Thank you. The spleen is a fascinating organ in Western medicine and apparently remains anatomically elusive in Chinese medicine. Spleen Holds, Contains and Entangles Blood. What’s fascinating about this is that stem cells of erythrocyes, thrombocytes and platelets are in the Spleen.


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Rated 5.0 out of 5
December 21, 2019

Very good point view and interesting information.

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Course Content

About the Teacher

Dr. Tom Fleischer Ph.D, Dip.CM

Dr. Tom Fleischer is a Chinese medicine clinician and scientist. His research interest involves bridging the gap between the traditions of Chinese medicine and the evidence-based approach of science, via clinical work, basic research, and investigations of texts from pre-modern China.

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