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Extraordinary Fu Organs

The extraordinary fu organs are brain, marrow, bones, vessels, gallbladder and uterus. Since they are different from the five zang and six fu organs, they are called the "extraordinary fu organs". Bones, marrow, vessles and gallbladder have been discussed along with the zang-fu organs, therefore only the brain and uterus will be considered here.


The brain is located in the skull and connects with the spinal marrow. The thirty-third chapter of Miraculous Pivot says: "The brain is a sea of marrow. Its upper part lies beneath the scalp at the vertex at point Baihui (Du 20) and its lower part at point Fengfu (Du 16)." Baihui and Fengfu are Points of the Du (Governor Vessel) Meridian which ascends the spinal column and enters the brain at point Fengfu. Many points of the Du Meridian, therefore, are indicated in pathological conditions of the brain.

The brain is the organ of spirit, consciousness and thinking. The seventeenth chapter of Plain Questions says: "The head is the residence of intelligence." This means that the brain is related to the activity of thinking. The thirty-third chapter of Miraculous Pivot says: "Deficiency of the brain leads to vertigo and dizziness."

It pointed out that hypofunction of the brain may lead to vertigo and blurred vision. Li Shizhen of the Ming Dynasty (1368 -1644) clearly indicated that "the brain is the palace of the mind." In the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), Wang Qingren in his book Revision of Medical Classics advanced the theory that "intelligence and memory rely on the brain." He considered that thinking, memory, vision, hearing, smelling and speaking are all dominated by the brain.

Although the ancient Chinese had some knowledge of the physiology and pathology of the brain, they ascribed the functions of the brain to various zang-fu organs, the heart, liver and kidney in particular. Many syndromes and treatment of brain disturbances, therefore, are included in the differentiation of syndromes of the zang-fu organs.


The uterus, located in the lower abdomen, presides over menstruation and nourishes the foetus. It is closely related to the Kidney, Chong and Ren (Conception Vessel) meridians. Since the uterus is related to the kidney, its reproductive function is dominated by the kidney qi. Both the Chong and Ren meridians originate from the uterus, the Ren Meridian having the function of regulating the qi of all the yin meridians, and the Chong Meridian the function of regulating the qi and blood of all the twelve regular meridians.

When the kidney qi is vigorous and the qi and blood of the Chong and Ren meridians sufficient, menstruation is normal, and the uterus will perform its functions of reproduction and nourishment of the foetus. If the kidney qi is weak, the qi and blood of the Chong and Ren meridians will be deficient, and there will be irregular menstruation, amenorrhoea or infertility. The uterus is also closely connected to the heart, liver and spleen. Since normal menstruation and the nourishment of the foetus rely on the blood, which is dominated by the heart, stored by the liver and controlled by the spleen, dysfunction of these organs may affect the noqirmal function of the uterus.

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