Yin deficiency is a pattern of disharmony in the body. According to the fundamentals of Chinese Medicine, everything can be classified as either Yin or Yang. Balance between Yin and yang is important for good health, one keeps the other in check. The Yin in our body is essentially our moisture, our liquid. Our blood is Yin; we are comprised of mostly water. The Yang in our body is our fire, our energy.

When our Yin is deficient, we are no longer able to keep the fire (Yang) in check, so it blazes out of control. This is especially troublesome in the evening and at night when Yin rules (Yin is darkness, quiet, calm). As night falls, when Yin is deficient, the Yang fire blazes and causes night sweats, thirst, restlessness and insomnia. Yin deficiency is prevalent in our society as busy schedules and poor diets wear us down.

The good news is, it is absolutely possible to top-up your Yin by employing some basic lifestyle and diet changes. It takes time and commitment, but it will be worth it!

Causes of Yin Deficiency

  • Overwork
  • Excessive worry
  • Frequent travel
  • Insufficient rest/sleep
  • Not eating enough
  • Eating too much salty, processed, spicy and/or dry foods
  • Too much screen time
  • Excessive exercise
  • Overconsumption of diuretics – alcohol, caffeine, medications
  • Chronic disease
  • Blood loss


  • Feeling warm in the evening
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Thirst
  • Dark urine
  • Peeled tongue coating
  • Dry, itchy eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Poor memory
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Insomnia

Home Care

Limit these:

  • Screen time (tv, computer, phone)
  • Caffeine (energy drinks, coffee, tea, dark chocolate, cocoa)
  • Intense exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Processed, salty, spicy food
  • Drying foods and spices (like garlic, onions, cloves, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, mustard and mustard greens, nutmeg, thyme, turmeric, basil, parsley, shallots or scallions, horseradish, turnips, radish, cayenne)


Yes to these:

  • Get 8-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Eat plenty of cooked vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water gradually throughout the day – best if warm or room temperature
  • Take time to rest, don’t over-schedule yourself, simplify your life
  • Spend time in nature


Top up your Yin with these foods:

Eggs, walnuts, avocado, tofu, bone broth, asparagus, kelp, peas, potato, seaweed, string bean, sweet potato, tomato, water chestnut, yam, zucchini, apples, apricot, banana, lemon, lime, mango, pear, pineapple, pomegranate, dairy products, meat, nettle tea, beans, coconut milk, coconut water, and fish.

As always, it is important to eat everything in moderation. Overconsumption of these foods will lead to the accumulation of dampness in the body which will cause a whole host of other problems for you. Just add moderate amounts of these foods into every meal.