Tracing Disharmony in TCM: Liver Blood Deficiency - Root + Bones

Tracing Disharmony in TCM: Liver Blood Deficiency

TCM systematically traces various patterns of disharmony, which come together to form a comprehensive map of the body’s energetics. This framework supports root cause healing, accounts for a holistic view of our interdependent bodily functions, and promotes preventive care by recognizing subtle signs of imbalance before they manifest into full-blown illness. These patterns of disharmony also allow for individualized treatments, recognizing each person’s current constitutional strengths and weaknesses so that specific imbalances can be addressed. When there is a deficiency of Blood in the Liver, we see symptoms like menstrual irregularities, muscle weakness, numb sensations or tremors, depression, insomnia, problems with vision, dry hair/skin/eyes, and brittle nails. 


This wide variety of symptoms linked to Liver Blood Deficiency highlights the different downstream effects of this disharmony, as the Liver is responsible for storing Blood. It is the Liver that supplies Blood to the Chong Mai and Ren Mai (Penetrating and Conception Vessels), which are then tasked with directing a woman’s menstrual cycles. If Liver Blood is deficient, however, the monthly cycle can be irregular, menstruation may be scanty, or one may even present with amenorrhea—the absence of menstruation altogether. This disharmony can additionally contribute to menstrual cramps as a result of the connection between muscle pain and Qi stagnation/Blood stasis. However, since the Liver controls the sinews, Blood Deficiency can also cause generalized muscle weakness, joint pain, stiffness, numbness, and tremors. 


The Liver also plays a role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle, but when it faces Blood Deficiency, this regulatory mechanism can malfunction. Such a disruption leads to compromised sleep quality, expressing as difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep through the night. Additionally, the Liver houses the Hun (Ethereal Soul), and a lack of Blood can cause the Hun to “wander” at night, which can lead to restless and dream-disturbed sleep. Because the Hun is ethereal in nature, it depends upon the health of the Liver to stay rooted in our bodies, so this symptom perfectly demonstrates the connection between emotional and physical symptoms. If left uncorrected, this can lead one to feel hopeless, lost, and depressed. Although an injury of the Hun can manifest as lack of vision for one’s life, it can also be quite literal, as it is the Liver Blood that nourishes the eyes and their capacity to see. 


Liver Blood Deficiency can be caused by chronic illness or profuse Blood loss, nutritional deficiencies, emotional stress, overexertion, lack of rest, and excessive reliance on stimulants or alcohol consumption. These causation pathways offer a beautiful variety of ways to support our Liver and Blood!

  • Enjoy Blood-building foods like red meat, bone broth, dark leafy greens, organ meats, beans and legumes.
  • TCM has a whole category of Blood tonic herbs, some of the best being He Shou Wu, Jujube dates, Goji berries, and Prepared Rehmannia. Our Nurture blend is specifically formulated to support those with Blood deficiency, including women who are postpartum or suffer from excessive menstrual bleeding. This formula can also be especially beneficial for anyone who is anemic or vegetarian. 
  • Unresolved emotions like sadness, anger, and grief can consume Liver Blood directly, so it’s important to make time for their expression, whether by voicing them or practicing emotional release techniques (e.g., breathwork, EFT, etc.). Find more tips on metabolizing anger specifically here. 
  • Ensure adequate rest and promote restorative sleep by following sleep hygiene practices, incorporate adaptogens like Reishi (which is also protective to the Liver), and enjoy a nightcap ritual with our Shen blend. 
  • Tonify the Liver and optimize its function with herbs like Chaga, Deer Antler Velvet, Eucommia Bark, He Shou Wu, and Rose.  
  • Nourish Yin and prevent burnout by minimizing the consumption of stimulants like caffeine. Schizandra is a wonderful herb that not only supports eyesight and vision, but improves alertness and cognitive function without causing nervousness like most caffeine or stimulants. Enjoying a cacao elixir or Pu’er tea in place of your second (or first!) cup of coffee can be beneficial if you are experiencing any of the symptoms we’ve covered.