The Gallbladder is the partner organ of the Liver. In traditional Chinese medicine the Liver is often referred to an army general. Just like an army general on the field the Liver is the strategist in the proper advancement of body functions, ensuring the smooth flow and proper direction of Qi. Thus the Liver is the origin of courage, confidence and determination that governs our capacity to plan our life. Being the Liver’s partner organ “the Gallbladder is the upright official that takes decisions” (pg. 116) Thus in traditional Chinese medicine the Gallbladder is responsible for our ability to make decisions.
People with healthy Gallbladder are initiative, decisive and not afraid to make changes. On the other hand people with deficient Gallbladder are indecisive and easily discouraged. (1)
From Western science we know that the Liver produces bile to aid the digestion, which is stored and secreted by the Gallbladder. The bile is a bitter dark green to yellowish brown fluid, that aids the process of digestion of lipids in the Small Intestine. When food is ingested the bile is discharged in the first part of the Small Intestine, called duodenum. There, together with the pancreas, which releases bicarbonate and digestive enzymes, the bile aids the breakdown and absorption of food. Thus the liver and the gallbladder play an essential role in the digestion and in TCM both organs have close relationship with the Spleen/Stomach partnership. A deficient Gallbladder will manifest in some digestive issues such as nausea and belching.
Both the Liver and the Gallbladder in TCM are responsible for nourishing the sinews. The difference between the two organs though is that the Liver nourishes the sinews with blood, while the Gallbladder nourishes the sinews with Qi, contributing for their vitality. (1)
(1) Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Nanjing: Harcourt Publishers Limited
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