A Discussion of the Traditional and Modern Characteristics of the Spleen Pulse
by Peter van Kervel
Before going into details about pulse diagnosis and pi, the translation of pi into spleen has to be explained. Pi - 脾 – is translated in all of the Chinese dictionaries as spleen. The functions of pi, as presented in ‘A Practical Dictionary of Chinese Medicine’, are the following: the organ that lies against the lower face of the stomach. [The spleen, know from western anatomy, lies at the left side of the stomach. The described organ must therefore be the pancreas.] The spleen is ascribed the function of assimilating nutrients from food and drinks in the stomach, to make qi, blood and fluids. [It has to be noticed that the Chinese stomach organ – wei – starts at the lips. From the lips towards the cardia, the sphincter of the entrance of the stomach is seen as the upper jiao of wei. The middle jiao of wei is the actual stomach organ, with the fundus, corpus, anterior wall, greater and lesser curvature and antrum. The lower jiao of wei-stomach is known from western anatomy as the duodenum, the first part of the small intestine. The main process of transformation of food takes place in the duodenum, induced by pancreatic fluids.] The spleen governs transformation of grains and fluids and distribution of its essence. [Transformation of food is guarded by enzymes produced by the pancreas, such as lipase for fats, protease for proteins and different types of enzymes to break down polysaccharides.]
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