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The Vital Substances of Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine there are four vital substances. They are Jing, blood (Xue), Jin Ye, and Qi. These vital substances combine and work together to make you whole. When all four are healthy and working together, the mind and body is healthy as well.


Jing is most often described as the essence of a person. It is the basis for life and influences growth, reproduction and longevity. Your Jing, or essence, can be inherited from either parent. You also ingest Jing on a regular basis as well.  It is in the air that you breathe, the food you eat, and the water you drink.  Whatever you take in has an impact on your Jing.


Blood is known as Xue (pronounced shway) and is perhaps the body’s most important fluid. It is found in all of the dense materials in the body. As Xue flows through the body it nourishes and provides moisture to the yin yang organs.  Xue and chi do many of the same things in the body, and are interdependent.

Jin Ye

Jin Ye is closely aligned with xue and come from the same source.  These fluids work to lubricate, protect, and nourish the body.  Jin Ye includes bodily fluids such as saliva, sweat, tears, semen, breast milk, and mucus. A deficiency in your Qi can occur when these fluids are lost.


Qi (also called chi energy) is a very important substance. It is the life force within everyone.  It is responsible for moving the blood throughout the body and keeping the systems of the body running smoothly. The workings of the mind and body are kept in balance through the movement of Qi. When Qi is flowing freely, the body is strong, healthy, and resistant to disease.

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