When we talk about the Spleen (脾) in TCM we use the capital ‘S’ to signify that we are not talking about the anatomical organ as in Western medicine. The Spleen is a functional system that includes both physical as well as emotional and mental processes. It is a major contributor in producing Qi and Blood. The Spleen changes energy or Qi from the food into energy needed by the body. Spleen Qi Deficiency means that the life force of the Spleen is low, and it won’t be able to perform its functions properly.
The main function of the Spleen is digestion according to traditional Chinese medicine. It helps to digest the food and transform it into Qi. The Qi is then distributed to the limbs and other organs. This will give muscles their strength. When this doesn’t happen a person feels tired. Good circulation of Qi and blood, and a balance of the aspects of Yin and Yang, are required for good health.
The Spleen is easily damaged by excess damp and cold food, over-work, worry, working in damp atmosphere, person having extreme stress. Since the Spleen is an Earth element organ system, consider what happens to soil when there is too much water - it turns to mud, and things get stuck in the mud. Too much cold and earth congeals and again gets sticky. When the Spleen energy is strong, appetite and digestion are good. However, when Spleen is not function properly, the Spleen will not be able to absorb nutrients well and chronic sluggishness, low energy, fuzzy headedness and muscle weakness can manifest.
Diet is probably the most important factor to ensure a healthy Spleen. As raw foods are cooling in nature, human body must heat a food to body temperature in order for the Spleen to extract the Qi from the food. If the Spleen is already deficient, eating raw food will take up precious energy that the body can’t afford. By the time the food is heated up, there is even less digestive power. As such, it is good to avoid cold drinks and raw food, which can weaken the spleen's yang. Take easily digested food. Raw foods are typically fermented before being eaten. If the person has a large Spleen Qi deficiency, sticking to cooked vegetables would be a better choice.
Spleen Qi deficiency treatment include acupuncture and traditional herbal Chinese medicine. For example fresh ginger and dried tangerine peel (chenpi) are used to increase the Spleen's Yang and enhance Qi circulation.