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Distinct from the Western medical concept of Liver, the concept of the Liver(肝) in Traditional Chinese Medicine is more a way of describing a set of interrelated parts than an anatomical organ. (See Zang Fu theory.)To differentiate between Western and Eastern concepts of organs the first letter is capitalized (e.g. Liver instead of liver, Spleen instead of spleen). Because Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is holistic, each organ cannot be explained fully unless the TCM relationship/homeostasis with the other organs is understood. TCM also looks at the functions of the organs rather than fixed areas and, therefore, describes different organs that are not actually physical, like the Triple Burner (San Jiao). This also leads to controversy about the validity of TCM, which comes a lot from the difficulty of translating and lack of knowledge about TCM concepts and Chinese culture. So, to avoid conflict and to keep an open mind, one must realize that these notions evolved in a different culture and are a different way of viewing the human body.The Liver (Gan) is a Zang organ, meaning it is a Yin organ. The other Yin, or Zang, organs are the Lungs (Fei), Heart (Xin), Spleen (Pi), and Kidneys (Shen). Sometimes the Pericardium (Xin Bao) is included. Yin organs store, secrete, make, and transform Essence, Blood, Spirit, Qi, and Fluids. These nourish the body.The Liver Stores the Blood and allows for the smooth flow of Qi. The Liver’s blood is responsible for the repetitive cycles of human life, for example menstruation. The Yellow Emperor's Classic, or Nei Jing, describes the Liver as “the general of an army”. The Liver Stores the Hun. It opens into the eyes. It secretes bile, which is stored in the Gallbladder. The Liver is associated with anger and depression. It governs the tendons and nails. The peak time for the liver is between 1-3am. The Liver also determines the capacity for pain. The fluid secretion is tears.
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