Liver in Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine


Liver in Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine

Liver is known as one of larger organ in our body.  In terms of anatomy, the liver is located under the rib case in the right side with dark reddish colour.

Structural aspects, this liver is the same in Western Medicine and Eastern Medicine.

Liver in our body

However, this liver seems totally different in terms of functional aspects.

In modern medicine, the liver is responsible for filtering blood from digestive tract and resolving toxicity of chemicals and body metabolism. The liver also making proteins for blood clotting and has function of producing glucose and glycogen

When the liver becomes ill, we might have various symptoms such as jaundice, dark urine, nausea, vomiting diarrhea, appetite loss, weight loss, general malaise, fever, bloated stomach, swollen ankle, abdominal pain on right side, anemia, and changing in mental state such as altered sleep pattern, drowsiness, confusion.


How Eastern Medicine see the function of Liver

Liver in Eastern medicine produces life energy, communication and removing, and it stores blood and takes in charge of an emotion such as anger.  It also has a connection to eyes and controls tendons in our body, and manifests in the nails.1

The liver takes responsible for dispersion and dredging. It regulates emotion and promotes digestion and absorption, maintains the circulation of Energy(氣 - 기,Chi, Qi), blood and body fluid. 1.

Does an organ in the body controls an emotion? Does stress damages the liver? (mixed with eastern and western medicine)

Five Elements in our body

In the Eastern Medicine theory, the liver is belonged to WOOD element because the liver function is similar to WOOD elements in our nature, and we explains its function by using the characteristic of WOOD element. 


How do we treat the Liver when Liver has a disease?

First, we have Liver meridian in our body, so we can use acupuncture point in the Liver meridian.

Second, we can use herbal medicine according to the symptoms and sign which produced by Liver disease. If liver cannot have dispersing and dredging function, then we use a herbal medicine which improve dispersing and dredging function in our body such as a mandarine peels.



I don't want to say which one is right. Two different medicine theory sees differently. Some aspects are same, but other aspects are totally different and the treatment is also totally different. We are living in 21 century and modern technology seems to be right. However, Eastern medicine theory has been used for more than 2000 years and it still uses this theory.  It would be wonderful if we can combine it together somehow. 



Ref 1: Liu Z, -W, Shu J, Tu J, -Y, Zhang C, -H, Hong J: Liver in the Chinese and Western Medicine. Integr Med Int 2017;4:39-45. doi: 10.1159/000466694