Heart: Fire-energy yin organ
The heart is called the ‘King’ of the organs. The Internal Medicine Classic states: ‘The heart commands all of the organs and viscera, houses the spirit, and controls the emotions.’ In Chinese, the word for ‘heart’ (hsin) is also used to denote ‘mind’. When the heart is strong and steady, it controls the emotions; when it is weak and wavering, the emotions rebel and prey upon the heart-mind, which then loses its command over the body.
Physiologically, the heart controls the circulation and distribution of blood, and therefore all the other organs depend upon it for sustenance. Thoughts and emotions influence the function of various organs via pulse and blood pressure, which are controlled by the heart, where emotions arise. Internally, the heart is functionally associated with the thymus gland, which is located in the same cavity and forms a mainstay of the immune system. Extreme emotions such as grief and anger have an immediate suppressive effect on the immune system by inhibiting thymus function, a phenomenon that has long been observed but little understood in Western medicine.
Externally, the heart is related to the tongue, to which it is connected by the heart muscle. The color and texture of the tongue thus reflect the condition of the heart. Speech impediments such as stuttering and mutism are often caused by dysfunction or imbalance in heart energy. Facial complexion, which is a direct reflection of blood circulation, is also a major external indicator of heart function. Fire energy makes the heart the dominant organ of summer, during which season the heart must increase circulation to the surface in order to dissipate excess body heat.
Continue this fascinating read at the Heart Meridian.