The San Jiao (Triple Heater)

San Jiao is officially one of the 6 Yang organs although there has been much debate as to whether it is an actual organ or a function. The functions of the San Jiao will be shown from three different viewpoints.

Functions (as a Yang organ)

The "Simple Questions" in chapter 8 says "The Triple Burner is the official in charge of irrigation and it controls the water passages".

  1. Ensuring the free passage (making things go through)

Functions (as an avenue for original Qi)

The Classic of Difficulties states that the Original Qi resides in the lower abdomen, between the two Kidneys, it spreads to the 5 Yin and 6 Yang organs via the Triple Burner, it then enters the 12 primary channels and emerges at the Yuan Source points.

Functions (As three divisions of the body)

The Upper Burner is like a mist

The "Spiritual Axis" in chapter 30 says "The Upper Burner opens outwards, spreads the 5 tastes of the food essences, pervades the skin, fills the body, moistens the skin and it is like mist".

The Middle Burner is like a maceration chamber

The "Spiritual Axis" in chapter 18 says "The Middle Burner is situated in the Stomach... it receives Qi, expels the wastes, steams the body fluids, transforms the refined essences of food and connects upwards with the Lungs".

The Lower Burner is like a ditch.

The "Spiritual Axis" in chapter 18 says "Food and drink first enter the stomach, the waste products go to the large intestine in the Lower Burner which oozes downwards, secretes the fluids and transmits them to the bladder".

[Return to Zang Fu Pathologies Index]