Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory

The 12 Officials in TCM Theory - TCM Theory

The "12 Officials" theory is yet another way to describe the inter-relationships and interplay between the organ systems as they are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They are described in the 8th chapter of the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and are modeled after a layout of governing systems at that time.

The Twelve Officials

Organ System



HeartMonarchRepresents the individual consciousness and serves as the sovereign of all of the organs and wisdom. Leads spiritual transformation
LungMinisterAids the heart in regulating the qi of the body
LiverGeneralActs courageously and intelligently, carefully assessing circumstances and planning action
Gall BladderImpartial JusticApplies discernment to guide appropriate action
Pericardium (Tanzhong, Tandanzhong)Envoy (Ambassador)Where joy is derived from, like a court jester
Stomach / SpleenOfficials in Charge of Food StorageAct as officials for food storage and assimilation
Large IntestineTransportation OfficialDirects the processing of food and the transformation and passage of waste
Small IntestineReceiving OfficialReceives food from the stomach and spleen and further assimilates, distributes and divides the pure from the turbid (useful vs. waste)
KidneyHealth OfficialDirect the creation of power in the body, distribution and activity of the extremities, coordination, and the mental powers of focus and willpower
Triple Heater (San Jiao, Triple Warmer)Irrigation OfficialDirects the transformation and use of fluids throughout the body
Urinary BladderDistrict OfficialStores fluids so when they are enacted by qi they can flow outward to the systems

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