Tuesday, March 3, 2015

5-elements based diet


The predominate atmospheric energies are Wind in the spring (Wood - Liver & Gall Bladder are the most vulnerable), Heat in the early summer (Fire - Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, Triple Heater), Dampness in late summer (Earth, Stomach and Spleen), Dryness in the fall (Metal, Lungs and Large Intestine), and Cold in the winter (Water, kidneys & Bladder).
TCM, like Western medicine, recognizes that checks and balances exist in the body. One of the checks and balances recognized in TCM is the Victor-Vanquished relationship. What this says it that each Element controls another. These are:
Wood (Liv, GB) controls Earth (Sp, St) Fire (Ht, SI) controls Metal (Lu, LI) Earth (Sp, St) controls Water (Kd, Bl) Metal (Lu, LI) controls Wood (Lv, GB) Water (Kd, Bl) controls Fire (Ht, SI)
If Wood is too "strong", Earth will be over controlled. If Wood is too "weak", Earth will be out of control.
Some people have imbalances in the Spleen because of problems in the Spleen. Simply supplementing with Spleen-strengthen foods and herbs will help these people. End of problem. BUT, sometimes the reason the Spleen is "weak" is not because of something in the Spleen but because the Liver is too "strong". In these cases just giving Spleen-strengthening herbs and foods to the person is going to be like continuously bailing a leaky rowboat. You have to keep bailing until the leak is plugged. In this case the "leak" is that the Liver is too "strong". It's suppressing the Spleen, not allowing it to perform in tiptop shape. It's not enough in these cases just to tonify the Spleen, you also have to sedate the Liver. Calm that Liver down some so it's not a control freak overcontrolling and suppressing the Spleen.
Wood overacting on Earth (the terminology for it in the Elemental approach to diagnosis) is the same thing as Liver Invading the Spleen (the term for it in the Organ Analysis approach).
Each of the 5 main tastes have an affinity for different Elements and Organs. The sour taste has an affinity for Wood (Lv, GB), bitter for Fire (Ht, SI), sweet for Earth (Sp, St), acrid or pungent or spicy for Metal (Lu, LI), and salty for Water (Kd, Bl). If an Organ gets too much or too little of what it needs, it can run into problems. For example, cut too far back on salt, and a person can run into some major problems like the loss of too much fluid through the urinary system. But load up on too much salt, and it can be damaging to the heart. Water (Kd) controls Fire (Ht). When a person consumes too much salt, water literally is in excess and the heart can be stressed as a result.
In addition, each taste has certain properties. The sour taste tends to generate fluids and Yin, and it also "plugs leaks" (can be good for excessive sweating, diarrhea, etc.). Wood (Lv) controls Earth (Sp). The Spleen plays a major role in the transformation and transportation of food and drink. Translation: When the Spleen is weak, one possible symptom is Dampness accumulates. The last thing a person with Dampness problems needs is something that generates fluids.
The bitter taste tends to clear Heat, to sedate, and to harden. It also tends to clear Damp Heat and to subdue rebellious Qi. Fire (Ht, SI) controls Metal (Lu, LI). Too many bitter herbs can trigger problems in the Lungs. The bitter taste tends to be drying. Even though the Lungs don't like to be Damp, they also don't like to be too dry.
The sweet taste "tonifies, balances, and moderates. It is used to tonify deficiency and to stop pain." (Maciocia, Foundations, p. 33) Earth (Sp, St) controls Water (Kd, Bl). Think of the urinary problems diabetics have when you think of this relationship.
"The pungent taste scatters, and is used to expel pathogenic factors." (Maciocia, p. 33). Think of the spices in the spice section of the supermarket. They're warming in nature and can be great for people who are too Cold but hard on people who are too Hot. Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, etc. Metal is the Mother of Water, and these spices can be godsends to people who are too Cold because of Kidney Yang Deficiency. But heat has a tendency to rise. Eat too many foods and herbs with the spicy taste, and the Lungs can accumulate too much Heat. Metal (Lu, LI) controls Wood (Lv, GB).
"The salty taste flows downward, softens hardness and is used to treat constipation and swelling.") (Maciocia, p. 33). This action may be described biomedically as the osmotic gradient that is created when salt passes through the large intestine. This draws fluids back into the LI ( or prevents them from leaving) and that assists patients with constipation in which the stools come out hard and dry. The salty flavor will moisten those dry stools.
One of the TCM concepts of diet is that one should eat food which has the energy of that season in order to be in tune with that season. Thus, one should eat some cold foods and salty foods in the winter in order to partake of the energy of that season (and head off problems that can arise later). Yang energy is increasing in the spring so eat Yang foods. But, it's also important to correct personal deficiencies. A person who is too Cold needs warming energy; a person who is too Hot needs cooling energy, regardless of what the season is.
The Chinese concept of a balanced diet is one that includes all 5 tastes at each meal. The ratio of these tastes will depend on the individual's needs. For example, even though I include all 5 tastes, I need to go heavily on spicy (warms me up) and salty. Many years ago I cut back on salt because of all the bad PR salt got. This is a definite no-no for someone like me who has CFIDS. Many CFIDS patients report that increasing salt in their diet helps them to feel better. Most PWCs have Kidney imbalance and need to tonify the Kidneys.
One TCM diet concept I personally disagree with is the prohibition against raw foods. One can go overboard with raw food, but even though I have a weak Spleen, there is something that a salad provides for me that helps me to feel better the next day even though I'm so Yang Deficient and raw foods tend to be Yin. I just don't go overboard. I also sprinkle cayenne pepper on my salad dressing. This works real well for me. Some people can NOT handle raw foods, and there is nothing healthy about raw foods for them. Other people do benefit from raw fruits and veggies in moderation. I have known people who could handle raw food some of the time, but not at other time. Some of them could tell ahead of time if raw food was going to bother them.
Beginners will benefit from starting to memorize these correspondences like Wood - Liver - Gall Bladder - Spring - anger - sour taste, etc. Directions also are associated with Elements: The East is Wood and the Green Dragon, South is Fire and the Red Phoenix, Middle (or center) is Earth, West is Metal and the White Tiger, and North is Water and the Black Tortoise. These color correspondences also will be helpful in diagnosis. Very often people with greenish skin tones will be suffering from Liver imbalance. Black or dark tones in the complexion very often will be a sign of Kidney imbalance. And so on.
The really weird thing is that directions can be diagnostic too. I can't explain this, there is no logical Western explanation for it, but it happens sometimes. Some people - not all - will feel uncomfortable when they sit in a certain quarter. For example, people with Liver imbalances sometimes will feel uncomfortable when they sit "in the East" (back to the East and facing West). If they have a choice of seats, they will not choose the one on the West side of the table or room. Sometimes when a person meditates in the 4 quarters, testing sitting in the East, South, West, and North, they discover that some quarters feel uncomfortable to them and some feel more comfortable than the others. Sometimes this discomfort can indicate imbalance in an Element. There's no rational explanation for it, but it happens.



Like the concept of yin and yang, the Five Elements Theory is at the cornerstone of Chinese culture. What is the Five Elements Theory? The Chinese believe that we are surrounded by five energy fields: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. However, the elements are not static: they are constantly moving and changing.   (In fact, some scientists think the term "element" is misleading, and prefer to refer to the "five phases" or "five forces.")
Once the Chinese identified the five elements, they set about categorizing all phenomena within the five categories. Everything, from a river to sounds to the organs in our bodies, can be described in terms of the five elements.  How things are characterized depends on their individual qualities.  For example, earth is associated with growth and nourishment, so the spleen, which monitors the blood - digesting debris and producing antibodies when necessary - is categorized as an earth element.
Just as an imbalance between yin and yang can produce destructive forces, keeping all elements in balance promotes harmony both in our surroundings and ourselves. Of course, balancing five elements is a little more complicated than achieving harmony between two opposing forces. According to Chinese belief, each element acts upon two others, either giving birth to it or controlling it. For example, wood gives birth to fire and controls or suppresses earth.  Similarly, fire gives birth to earth and controls metal. All the elements are constantly interacting with other elements - none stand alone. The table below outlines the relationships.
Gives Birth ToControlling
Wood - FireWood - Earth
Fire - EarthEarth - Water
Earth - MetalWater - Fire
Metal - WaterFire - Metal
Water - WoodMetal - Wood

To give an example from nature, a plant (wood) grows when it is given water.  When burnt, wood gives birth to fire, and the burnt ashes subsequently return to the earth.  
What role does the Five Elements Theory Play in the Chinese diet?
You'll see adherence to the five elements theory in many facets of Chinese life.  Martial arts, for example: many schools have a series of basic movements, each designed to keep the body in harmony with one the elements. And the five elements theory plays a large role in Feng Shui, the latest trend in both landscaping and interior decorating. Literally meaning "wind and water," Feng Shui is all about aligning energies in your home or work environment in a way that is most conducive with your own personal energy.
As for diet, Chinese herbalists believe that, to properly treat a patient, you must know the state of the five elements in their body. A deficiency or an excess of an element can lead to illness. In The Chinese KitchenRecipes, Techniques, Ingredients, History, and Memories from America's Leading Authority on Chinese Cooking, Eileen Yin Fei-Lo provides some wonderful examples of how her grandmother used the principles of the five elements theory to cure common illnesses. Treating a cough with winter melon tea and fresh water chestnuts is just one example.
A detailed look at the use of five elements theory in diagnosing and treating illnesses is beyond the scope of this article.  Suffice to say that practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine rely on it to explain the relationships between the body organs and tissues, as well as between the body and the outside environment. The table below outlines the relationship between the five elements and body parts, feelings, colors, and taste. 
WoodLiverGall BladderRageGreenSour
FireHeartSmall IntestineHappinessRedBitter
MetalLungsLarge IntestineSorrowWhiteSpicy
How would a physician use the above information to make a diagnosis? Let's say a patient suddenly developed a preference for sour food.  This could indicate liver problems.  Of course, the actual process of examining a patient and making a diagnosis is much more complex than merely consulting a chart.  It requires a thorough understanding of the interaction between all the elements. Because time and date of birth are also thought to play a role in an individual's "state of the five elements," many physicians will consult astrological charts before making a diagnosis. 


Chinese Food Therapy for Weight Loss

Chinese people are very concerned about their daily food consumption; they consider it a first line of treatment. It is common for the Chinese to treat a minor ailment with a specially prepared meal or by including a particular ingredient in a dish. Based on the classification of patterns suggested above, there are two main ways of treating obesity by food therapy:

(a)Transform phlegm and eliminate dampness by drying the body and
(b)Fortify the spleen and invigorate the kidneys.

Chinese people consider food a first line treatment of obesity

A. Methods of drying the body
  1. Urination
  2. Absorb dampness inside the body
  3. Cool the body to facilitate fluid passage
  4. Warm the body
1. Promote urination
Wax gourd promotes urination.
The first method is to promote urination, which may be compared with diuretics in Western medicine. Small red beans, corn and corn silk, Job's tears, soya beans, wax gourd and garlic significantly promote urination.
2. Get rid of water in the Body
This method involves absorbing tissue fluids in the body. Absorbing water in the body can be compared to that of a sponge soaking up spilt water; promoting urination removes water from the body through excretion. The majority of foods and herbs that can absorb water inside the body are aromatic, and the two items used most frequently are broad beans and hyacinth beans. The aromatic foods not only can absorb water inside the body, but also can stop diarrhea for the same reason.
oad beans help absorb water inside the body.
Broad beans can be ground into a powder to be taken with warm water, but they can also be fried with oil and salt until they break and smell aromatic. Use unshelled beans, as the shell has a better effect of absorbing water inside the body and promoting urination.
Hyacinth beans can be used the same as broad beans. In Chinese herbal therapy, hyacinth beans are very frequently used to relieve diarrhea and abdominal pain due to excessive water in the intestine. They may be used in soup or in powder form.
3. Cool the body to facilitate passage of water
A dry-hot physical constitution is not prone to obesity as is a damp-hot physical constitution. For example, if you set fire to damp firewood, it will not burn quickly but produce a lot of smoke, which is not good. Similarly when water and heat mix in the body, neither will go away. The result is difficulty when urinating or discharge of reddish urine in small quantities.
The strategy, therefore, is to cool the body, allowing water to flow. Food and herbs with a cold energy and a bitter flavor are used for this purpose, because cold energy can cool the body and the bitter flavor can dry it.
Bitter gourd and mung beans are helpful in people with a hot damp physical constitution.
Bitter gourd - can significantly cool the body, reduce nervous tension due to its cold energy, and also can soften the stools due to its bitter flavor. People with a hot-damp physical constitution often suffer from constipation, which may be effectively relieved by using bitter gourd as a soup, as a vegetable or as a tea.
Mung beans. May be used by those with a hot-damp physical constitution to rid the body of excessive water. Although mung beans have a cool energy and a sweet flavor, they are rather effective in removing water and reducing body heat.
4. Warm the body
This is suitable for people with a cold-damp physical constitution. The strategy is to warm the body so that the water can flow out of the body, either through urination or perspiration. Foods producing best results should have a warm or hot energy and a pungent-sweet flavor. Hot or warm energy increases body heat, pungent flavor increases perspiration, and a sweet or light flavor promotes urination. Cinnamon satisfies these three conditions.
Fresh ginger - is used frequently to counteract cold, particularly in winter and when it is used along with dry orange peel to make tea, its effects are significantly reinforced.
**After the excessive evils in the body have been removed and the body is dry, the person should remain slim and stay in good shape. However, a balanced diet and regular exercise should always be maintained.
B. How can the body stop retaining water?An overweight person has two enemies in the body: phlegm and dampness. One important thing is to get rid of those enemies and the other is to keep them out of the body. A useful concept to keep in mind is the concept of fire ?o. Fire gets rid of dampness and phlegm by burning them. So fire is used in the treatment, particularly with the kidney's fire, which refers to kidney-yang.
Increase the Burning Fire of the Kidneys
Increasing the burning fire of the kidneys will help in the maintenance of correct body weight.
Foods called yang tonics can increase the burning fire of the kidneys. In TCM, there are four basic tonics: energy tonics, blood tonics, yin tonics (strengthens the fluids) and yang tonics. (A tonic is something that strengthens.)
Animals' kidneys are highly recommended yang tonics. Eating kidneys (pork, beef, lamb or chicken) have 3 advantages:
-They have little fat
-They are easily digested
-They tone up the kidney's function

Preparing kidneys to eat

First cut the kidneys in half, remove the unwanted white parts and wash it; bring water to the boil and add a little wine; drop in the kidneys and simmer until fully cooked; drain and slice into small pieces. Prepare a sauce with ginger, green onion, green pepper, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and vinegar. Pour the sauce over the kidneys and they are ready to eat.
Liver (Chicken, pork and beef) is the second food recommended as a yang tonic to increase the burning fire of the kidneys. Fry the liver very quickly in vegetable oil with condiments such as ginger, garlic, or celery; use black pepper and wine as seasonings.
Fruits and vegetables such as dried green raspberry, cherry, yam, walnut, leeks, black beans and bitter gourd seed may also be used as yang tonics.

Fruits and vegetables that benefit the kidney yang: red dates cherry, garlic chives and black beans.

C. Functional Food Recipes
Here are some recipes that ventilate and smooth the lungs and resolve phlegm, invigorate the spleen, remove dampness through diuresis (urination) warm the kidneys in order to relieve water retention.
1. Fried Crown daisy Chrysanthemum and RadishTherapeutic benefit: Removing fluid stagnation and clearing away phlegm-heat
Method: Wash 200g of white radish, 100g of crown daisy chrysanthemum, and cut into strips. Pour 100g of oil into a pot. When the oil is hot, add wild pepper. When the wild pepper turns black, remove it, and then add the radish strips. Add a little chicken soup until almost tender; then add the crown daisy chrysanthemum. Add salt to taste, mix in starch when the dish is done and pour a little sesame oil over it. Remove from heat and serve.
2. Fried Mutton with Wild pepper and Onions
Therapeutic benefit: Warming kidney-yang
Method: Pour 50g of peanut oil into a pot, and heat over a flame. Add a little wild pepper, 200g mutton shreds, 10g ginger shreds, 100g onions, and fry. Add salt, seasoning powder, vinegar and yellow wine to taste.
3. Weight Reducing Wine
Therapeutic benefit: Tonifying the spleen and expelling dampness
Method: Prepare and wash 1000g polished glutinous rice, 150g Job's tears, 50g lotus seeds powder, 100g Chinese yam powder, 50g Gordon Euryale seed (qian shi), 50g Indian bread. Mix well and put into a large vessel and add some water. Steam for one hour, cool and soak with baking wine until all the ingredients are covered and then seal the cover properly. Place the vessel in a warm place (25° Centigrade) for 36 - 48 hours. Each time take one small cup, twice daily.

4. Soup of Lotus Leaf and Hawthorn

Therapeutic benefit: Promoting digestion and expelling dampness
Dried lotus leaf
Methods: Take lotus leaf 9g and hawthorn 9g (hawthorn should be broken up and stir-fried), 2 cups of water, decoct into 1 cup of soup. For simple obesity, it is suitable to drink frequently.


3. Yang deficient type
The key feature of this type is cold signs such as sensitive to low temperatures and cold limbs. TCM claims that individuals are insufficient in producing heat energy, they need to invigorate the body systems especially the liver and kidney to produce more heat. Also they should be more attentively to protect the body, through measures like proper warm clothing for the waist, abdomen and lower body, moderate outdoor activities, avoiding over perspiration and keeping the living room warm and dry. Cupping,moxibustion and acupressurehelp promote themeridian flow and expel coldness, and are beneficial for this type of individuals.

Yang deficient individuals should eat more warming foods, including beef, mutton, venison, quail, sea cucumber, shrimps, eels, nuts, ginger, Chinese chives, leaf mustard, peppers, leeks, cherry, litchi, longan fruit, raspberry, pumpkin, and spicy herbs. Foods incool or cold energy such as crab, persimmon, and melons are not advised. Even in summer days, raw and frozen foods as well as cold drinks should be taken in moderation. It is advised to take some medicinal dishes in winter.


Animal: anchovy, mussel, trout, chicken, beef, lamb,
Fruit: cherry, citrus peal, date,
Grains, seeds, and spices: oats, spelt, quinoa, sunflower seed, sesame seed, walnut, pine nut, chestnut, fennel, dill, anise, caraway, carob pod, cumin, Sweet brown rice (and its products, i.e. moshi)
Vegetables: parsnip, parsley, mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage, kale, onion, leek, chive, garlic, scallion, cooked beans with ginger (e.g. black beans, lentils, aduki beans), hot peppers are warming only in small pitches, otherwise they have a strong cooling effect. This is also true of concentrated sweeteners.

Foods that eliminate damp

lettuce, celery, turnip, rye, amaranth, aduki beans, wild blue-green micro-algae, asparagus, white pepper, alfalfa, pumpkin, vinegar, papaya.

Warming foods which warm cold signs:

Ginger root, black beans, aduki beans, lentils, cinnamon bark and twig, cloves, basil, rosemary, oats, spelt, quinoa, sunflower seed, sesame seed, walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, fennel, dill, anise, carraway, carob pod, cumin, sweet brown rice, parsnip, parsley, mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage, kale, onion, leek, chives, garlic, scallions, cherry, citrus deal, date, hot peppers, butter, and anchovy, mussel, trout, chicken, beef, lamb.




There is a saying in TCM: "The earth element creates damp and the metal element stores it." The organs associated with the earth element are the stomach and spleen. The organs associated with the metal element are the lungs and large intestine. When dampness is created by impaired digestion, it likes to end up in the lungs and large intestine. When dampness moves into the lungs, the usual symptom is phlegm coming up while coughing (especially after eating something that is inherently difficult to digest such as cold dairy products or greasy foods). When the dampness is stored in the large intestine, we find mucus-lined stools, loose stools, sticky stools that are difficult to clean up after or diarrhea with undigested bits of food. Even intestinal rumblings are due to dampness. Internal dampness is directly due to the impaired transfomative and transportive function of the spleen system that then results in some form of pathogenesis within the body,zang-fu and meridians.
In Chinese medicine, dampness is considered to be the cause of many illnesses such as high cholesterol, cancer, metabolic disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, allergies and environmental illness. For the sake of this discussion, only the symptoms of the aberrations of water metabolism will be considered. There are two general categories of dampness: external and internal. Internal dampness is the most common and easily will combine with heat or cold to cause damp-heat or damp-cold. Dampness can be thought of as the condition of "high humidity" inside the body. Symptoms can include a feeling of heaviness, swelling or water retention, distended abdomen, phlegm discharge, nodular masses, loose bowels and turbidity of fluids. Individuals with a dampness condition often have sluggish energy and easily gain weight. The pulse commonly is slippery; the tongue often is puffy with teeth marks and a greasy coat.
External dampness is a condition of prolonged high humidity that usually occurs in late summer. When exterior dampness invades the body, it tends to do so from the lower extremities first. Dampness then works its way up the legs and settles into the lower jiao and spreads throughout the body. Patients often complain of dizziness, a heavy sensation in the head and body, and joint soreness and pain. In both external and internal dampness, there may be turbid discharges that form on the body (such as suppurating sores, weeping eczema, profuse purulent leukorrhea with a foul odor, turbid urine and stools containing mucus and even blood).2 Summer heat with dampness causes dizziness, heaviness in the head, a stifling sensation in the chest, nausea, poor appetite, loose stools, general lassitude, fever, restlessness and thirst.
A collection of dampness and heat may lead to such problems as inflammation, allergies (especially food allergies), high blood sugar, weight gain and urinary tract infections. Symptoms can include a smelly and sluggish bowel, abdominal pain, leukorrhea, eczema, and deep-yellow colored urine. The pulse often is slippery and fast; the tongue commonly is red with a yellow, greasy coating; the nails are often red; and the hands often are puffy and red, with a mottled appearance and swollen red cuticles.
Dampness describes a condition of viscosity and stagnation. Patients usually have a greasy-looking, sticky tongue coating and perhaps a viscous stool that is difficult to void, and/or obstructed urination. Diseases due to dampness tend to be prolonged and intractable. Damp is ayin pathogen that impairs yang and easily causes qi stagnation. Signs and symptoms include a sensation of fullness in the chest, epigastric distention, difficult and scanty urination, and hesitant and viscous stools. Pathogenic damp impairs spleen yang that leads to distention and fullness in the epigastrium and abdomen, poor appetite, loose stools and generalized edema.
What is the difference between damp, phlegm fluids and water? All three of these concepts refer to the products of the disturbance of water metabolism in the human body, which after being produced will cause further pathologic changes. They are often used interchangeably, but they really have some differences and should, therefore, be used differently. Dampness is both a physiological and a pathologic concept in TCM. As a TCM physiological concept, it refers to the water received by the stomach and digested and absorbed by the spleen, so it is also sometimes called water damp. The stomach likes dampness but the spleen abhors it. As a TCM pathologic concept, it refers to the retained water caused by disturbances of the spleen, so it mainly is used in the case of water retention due to diseases of the spleen system. Phlegm fluid retention is a general term for all congealed water metabolism in the human body. This mainly is an indication of retained water that is not directly related to altered spleen function. For example, we may ascribe the cause of diarrhea to the downward flow of excess dampness from the stomach/spleen (middlejiao), or the cause of edema to the outward flow of dampness as a result of a disturbance in the spleen system. But we usually say the causative factor of scrofula (thickened, rubbery lymph nodes) is the accumulation of phlegm fluids. This disease is mainly secondary to liver qi stagnation (which further disturbs water metabolism), instead of being secondary to spleen disorders. As for water, it mainly is used to describe the fluid that accumulates in a cavity of the body, such as pleural effusion, ascites or edema that easily is rectified with the return of normal spleen function. 
Worry, pensiveness and mental overwork often negatively affect the transporting and transforming function of the spleen and contribute to deranged water metabolism as internal dampness. Organs of the body other than the spleen also contribute to the action of water metabolism. The lungs (upper jiao) produce arginine-vasopressin, which acts on the kidney nephron to alter water balance in the body. Grief and melancholy stifle lung qi, which disrupts the production of arginine-vasopressin. The mineral corticoids of the adrenal glands (part of the kidneys) also regulate water balance in the body via the kidney nephron. The liver (lower jiao) produces angiotensinogen that assists in water balance via the angiotensin-renin-aldosterone system. The kidney produces rennin, which assists in the regulation of water balance in the above-mentioned system. Disharmonies between the organ systems of the lungs, kidneys and liver with the spleen system all cause some form of disrupted water metabolism. The degree of aberration, the length of time of disruption and the systems involved determine the symptoms and progression of pathogenesis within the body. According to TCM, the san jiao meridian is the pathway for the movement of all fluids within the body.3 Thus, any obstruction in the channels and meridians ultimately will affect water metabolism adversely in some manner.
Food Therapy
The role of poor diet in contracting internal dampness and food therapy in combating internal dampness is well-known. Foods that impair digestion yield food stagnation and interfere with the spleen contribute to the development of internal dampness due to the impairment of water metabolism within the body. When one overeats, food stagnation ensues. The digestive system will not function properly. This gives rise to such clinical manifestations as foul belching, sour regurgitation, distention, bloating, pain in the epigastrium and abdomen, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea. Overindulgence in cold or raw foods easily can impair spleen yang and leads to the development of interior damp-cold.4 The resulting symptoms are diarrhea and abdominal pain. Likewise, overindulgence in alcoholic beverages or greasy, sweet or spicy foods may lead to damp-heat, phlegm and stagnation of qi and blood. Resulting symptoms are the sensation of fullness in the chest with profuse sputum, dizziness and vertigo, bleeding hemorrhoids and yang-type sores. An excellent, clear and concise description of the diagnosis of damp conditions may be found in the text by Maciocia.9
Foods known to cause dampness include: milk products (except yogurt), sugar and sweets, white-wheat flour, refined starch and highly processed starch products, excess raw fruits (sugar) and vegetables (mold from the soil), excess mushrooms and fungi, peppers, cold beverages (which immobilize immune cells on the walls of digestive track), an excess of fermented foods, foods containing yeast and an excess of vinegar.
Foods known to cause damp-heat include: alcohol, fatty, greasy and deep-fried food. 

Foods with yeast/fungus-inhibiting properties known to relieve damp and damp-heat include: onion, cinnamon, ginger, scallion, basil, rosemary, dill, oregano, sage, parsley, cardamom, nutmeg, fennel, anise, clove, coriander, leek, chives, Job's tears (yi yi ren)5, euryale seed (qian shi)6, aduki beans (chi xiao dou)7, ginkgo nut (bai guo)8, rye, celery, lettuce, alfalfa, turnips, raw honey and corn.
In dealing with the problems of dampness, the organs involved in the metabolism of water need particular attention. The lungs, spleen and kidneys are all intimately involved in various ways with water metabolism. Dampness and its combinations with wind, cold and heat cause obstruction of qiand blood or blockage of the channels in some manner, if not directly impairing the function of the lungs, spleen and kidneys. Treatment of damp and its combinations involves removing the obstructions and dissipating the pathological products as well as returning the normal functionality of the zang-fu organs.
euryale seed
Image result for euryale seed

Job's tears

Image result for Job's tears

Hyacinth beans

Image result for Hyacinth beans

adzuki beans
Image result for adzuki beans


In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) the Spleen is expressed as the digestive system, the Spleen is responsible for adapting food to nourish and support our system. This process is called ‘transportation and transformation’. The stronger or Spleen function is the better we are able to extract nourishment from any food to support our body’s needs.
Dampness can lodge in a specific part of the body or affect us more generally, dampness can make us feel heavy and tired and it can make us swell up and it can obstruct our body’s functions.
Some people are more prone to damp than others, a tendency towards dampness can be aggravated by living in damp conditions and places (ex. Ireland) or by a sedentary lifestyle. It needs the transformative power of the body’s Yang Qi (energy) to stop it accumulating. Eating in ways which inhibit our Spleen function or which injure the Yang Qi will increase our tendency towards damp.
Dampness may also be caused by pathogens lodged in the body which have not been properly expelled or by the use of suppressant drugs.
Foods which promote dampness are:
  • Dairy – milk, cheese, yogurts, ice cream – Sheep & Goats products are less dampening
  • Wheat – breads, pastry’s, biscuits, all yeast products
  • Pork & rich meat
  • Processed foods, sugar & sweeteners
  • Concentrated juice’s especially Orange & Tomato
  • Beer
  • Bananas – these are a big NO in TCM
  • Saturated fats
In particular foods that need to be avoided are too much raw, cold, sweet & rich foods and the overconsumption of fluid, especially cold water

Dampness can be divided into three kinds:
This is the generalised condition of dampness associated with weakness of the Spleen, in may manifest in such ways as tiredness/aches in the limbs, digestive weakness or muzzy head. How it manifests depends on our individual constitution.
This describes a condition of edema where dampness is retained as water; this may be specific or general in location. It causes us to swell, be become waterlogged.
This describes a more sticky manifestation of dampness. It often lodges in particular organs and combines easily with heat or cold. Phlegm or mucus congeals and obstructs our functioning.
Resolving Dampness though food and Acupuncture:
All dampness is treated by strengthening the Spleen and may also need tonification of the Kidneys, Lung and Yang. Phlegm demands the reduction of Phlegm-forming foods and the use of Phlegm- resolving foods. Water is helped by Water-removing (diuretic) foods. Acupuncture in conjunction with the correct foods can help eliminate damp, water and phlegm.
Dampness is often the result of overeating or over-nutrition. It is important to support the Spleen to avoid the over accumulation of Dampness.
Here are some tips on how to assist the Spleen with its digestive function:
  • Joy – enjoy your food, have a good relationship with food
  • Positive attitude – welcome food as wholeheartedly as you can
  • Relaxation – the Chinese believe not to mix food with work, watching TV or reading, also important to relax your posture as not to hinder the passage of food through your body.
  • Chew well – well chewed food lessens the work for your digestive organs and increases the efficient extraction of nutrients, it also warms chilled foods.
  • Stop just before you are full – if you overeat at any one meal, you create stagnation, a temporary queue of food waiting to be processed. This results in feeling tired.
  • Don’t flood the Spleen – the Spleen does not like too much fluid with a meal. A little warm fluid with a meal is helpful; nut too much dilutes the Spleen’s action and weakens digestion.
  • Don’t chill the Spleen – too much raw or chilled food or fluid will also weaken the Spleen, the digestive process needs warmth.
  • Eat your main meal early – when your main meal is eaten late at night, your system is naturally slowing down and the food will sit around longer and creates stagnation.

Foods which resolve Dampness

Aduki bean        Caraway             Garlic                    Mackerel                           Pumpkin

Alfalfa                  Cardamon          Green Tea           Marjoram                          Quail

Anchovy             Celery                  Horseradish      Mushroom (button)      Radish

Asparagus         Clove                    Jasmine Tea        Mustard leaf                     Rye

Barley                  Coriander           Kidney bean      Onion                                  Scallion

Basil                     Corn                     Kohlrabi              Oregano                             Turnip

Buckwheat        Daikon                 Lemon                 Parsley   

Yin deficiency

Yin represents the energy that is responsible for moistening and cooling bodily functions. When this energy is depleted your body begins to show signs of “heating up”. This is not a true heat but rather a lack of the moistening and cooling functions that are necessary to maintain a healthy balance. Foods to tonify Yin include:
Grains:  barley, millet
Vegetables:  alfalfa sprout, artichoke, asparagus, kelp, mung bean sprout, pea, potato,seaweed,string bean, sweet potato, tomato, water chestnut, yam, zucchini
Fruit:  apple, apricot, avocado, banana, lemon, lime, mango, mulberry, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, watermelon
Beans: adzuki, black beans, black soya, kidney, lima, mung
Bean Products:  tofu
Nuts and seeds: coconut milk, sesame seed, black sesame seed, walnut
Fish:  fish in general but especially clam, fresh water clam, crab, cuttlefish, oyster, octopus, sardine
Meat:  beef, duck, goose, pork, pork kidney, rabbit
Dairy:  cheese, chicken egg, cow’s milk, duck egg
Herbs and spices:  marjoram, nettle
Oils and condiments:  honey, malt,
Common supplements:  American ginseng, royal jelly

Examples of every day western foods that can be used to build yin, include:
Fruit smoothies with honey and banana or a fruit salad
Fish dishes with coconut milk
Omelettes with cheese
Asparagus and egg salads with sesame seeds
Tacos made with Kidney beans and topped with a small amount of cheese
Baked Potato stuffed with tofu with soya sauce and sesame seeds.
Pork and apple dishes
Miso soup with tofu and seaweed

Foods to avoid:
Stimulating foods such as the following will only further deplete yin: caffeine, alcohol, sugar and strongly heating, pungent spices.

Note: Like yin tonifying herbs, yin building foods have a tendency to congest the spleen and promote stagnation if large amounts are consumed. It is therefore important to consume small quantities frequently rather than large helpings irregularly.

Yang deficiency

Yang represents the energy that is responsible for warming and activating bodily functions. When this energy is depleted your body begins to slow down, displaying signs of under activity and sensations of coldness. Foods to tonify yang include:
Grains:  quinoa, sweet (glutinous) rice, wheat germ
Vegetables:  leek, mustard greens, onion, radish, scallion, squash, sweet potato, turnip, watercress
Fruit:  cherry, litchi, logan, peach, raspberry, strawberry
Nuts and seeds:  chestnuts, pinenuts, pistachio nuts, walnuts
Fish:  anchovy, lobster, mussel, prawn, shrimp, trout
Meat:  chicken, lamb, venison, kidneys (both beef and lamb)
Herbs and spices:  basil, black pepper, caper, cayenne, chive seed, cinnamon bark, clove, dill seed, fennel seed, fennugreek seed, garlic, ginger, horseradish, nutmeg, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint, star anise, tumeric, thyme, white pepper
Beverages:  chai tea, jasmine tea
Common supplements:  algae, brown sugar, Korean ginseng, malt sugar, vinegar

Examples of every day western foods that can be used to build yang include:
Roast chicken with sage and thyme
Roasted vegetables with and rosemary
Rice porridge with cinnamon, nutmeg and a little brown sugar
Leek and potato soup with black pepper
Or by adding any of the many spices as listed above to dishes when cooking.

Foods to avoid:
Cold food and cold liquids will further drain the body’s yang energy. Here ‘cold foods’ refers not only to those directly taken from the fridge but also to raw foods, as these require extra energy for digestion compared to pre-cooked foods. This may mean choosing steamed vegetables over a green salad or switching from granola to oatmeal for breakfast.
Using a warming method of cooking will also enhance the body’s energy by preserving yang, therefore soups, stews and slow roasted foods become the dishes of choice for those with a predominate yang deficiency.  Do not use hot seasoning to excess, which will induce sweating and actually have a cooling, drying effect on the body.        

1 comment:

  1. I can’t believe this. A great testimony that i must share to all HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS patient in the world i never believed that their could be any complete cure for Herpes or any cure for herpes,i saw people’s testimony on blog sites of how Dr SUKU prepare herbal cure and brought them back to life again. i had to try it too and you can,t believe that in just few weeks i started using it all my pains stop gradually and i had to leave without the herpes the doctor gave to me. Right now i can tell you that few months now i have not had any pain, and i have just went for text last week and the doctor confirmed that there is no trace of any herpes system on my body. Glory be to God for leading me to this genuine to Dr SUKU I am so happy as i am sharing this testimony. My advice to you all who thinks that their is no cure for herpes that is Not true ,just contact him and get cure from Dr SUKU hie website: http://greatsukusolutiontemplehotmailcom.webs.com/ to your HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS and you will be free and free forever, Try it and you will not regret it because it truly works. One thing i have come to realize is that you never know how true it is until you try. There is no harm in trying. Remember, delay in treatment leads to death. Here is his email: greatsukusolutiontemple@hotmail.com Contact him and be free from herpes!thank you for you help me to cure my (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) am so grateful to you Dr SUKU make god bless you for you work done.i advice you contact him and get cure on time is real to help you to cure you herpes he have help me too his vie email:greatsukusolutiontemple@hotmail.com
    or call his Mobil number:+234874839242