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ELEMENT EARTH - LATE SUMMER
The Dragon’s Muse
Articles about Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Acupuncture, Diet Therapy, Five Elements, Herbs
Earth Element Season, Late Summer
•Earth: Nurturing, Building Energy
•Earth Emotions Out of Balance?
•Rebalancing Earth Emotions
•Improving Spleen Function
•Building Your Qi
Nurturing, Building Energies
Earth is the great nurturer of all that is alive.Planet Earth provides us with all that we need for life.Without its abundance, and generosity of spirit we would shrivel and die.
Earth as the TCM concept is nurturing; it is the source of post-natal qi,providing nutrient for building our blood and muscles, as well as, energy for the organs to do their work.
Late summer is the Earth season, it is a time to collect the harvest, a time to reflect on the growth andthe flourishing accomplishments ofsummer.
Just as we collect and preserve the fruits of summer, Earth energy provides the impetus to reflect on and consolidate our experiences.
BalancedEarth energyprovides one with a solid background on which to base further endeavours. Being grounded in the Earth element provides a strength and self assurance which allows one to feel “at home” in any situation.
Earth’s elemental spirit , Yi, resides in the Spleen/Pancreas.Logical thinking, gathering and processing information, developing wisdom are attributed to the activities of Yi.
Earth is represented by the organs of the Stomach and Spleen.The Stomach is the granary, where food is ripened and prepared for absorption.The Spleen/Pancreas provide the necessary constituents for the body to absorb the nutrients, and translate them into muscle and blood.
The Mother of the Elements
The Earth organs of Stomach and Spleen are responsible for the building and maintenance of the whole body. The organ tissues assigned to Earth are muscle, fat, and connective tissue. The Spleen helps generate blood, keeps it in the vessels,and generates white blood cells inbone marrow, which supports the immune system.
Spleen transformsnutrients and transportsmoisture; it controls the lymphatic system.Swollen legs, edema, poor lymphatic drainage, fatty tumors, and obesity allrelate to poor transportation and transformationfunctions of the Spleen.
A diet low in fat , high in whole grains, vegetables and fruits is easiest for the body to transform. Meat sources should be good quality, with small portions so as not to generate Phlegm. Taking time to eat, in a tranquil non-stressed way avoids ulcers, and digestive problems.
Acupuncture and Herbologyconsider tonifying the Earth organs asessential.Avital, functional Earth element will mean asecure well balanced personality, with vibrant health and spiritual serenity.
Emotions Out of Balance?
Here is a list of Earth attributes which are positive; beside them, how they manifest when excess or deficient
attached to outcome
Being out of balance generates a feeling of being uncomfortable in your own skin.Often after an acupuncture treatment a person will feel ‘like himself again’.If you are stuck, mired in earth,movingyour qifeels vitalizing and energizing.
Activities to rebalance one’s Earth element can be approached from the physical or spiritualaspect.
Simple activities such as a walk on the beach or in the forest, can be restorative.Observing nature, sitting quietly in nature,allowing the busyness of the day to subside is particularly restorative.
Sounds of the rhythm of nature, listening to the waves lapping on shore or a stream burbling, allow the body/ mind to relax and revitalize.
Taking time to prepare and cook nurturing foods is especially important.OftenEarth energy is eroded by over stimulation of the body withhot spices, caffeine and other harsh flavours.
A simple peaceful 20 minute walk helps to settle the nervous system, stabilize blood sugars and lower blood pressure.
Meditation or relaxation tapeshelp slowfrenetic worrying which can overtake one when Earth is out of kilter.
Outside, plant your feet on the ground, knees slightly bent, shoulders relaxed and sink into the posture. Feel the earth holding you up.Breathe easily. Notice the Calm.
Improving Transportationof Fluids
Damp Stagnation is characterized bydiarrhea, and bloating after meals, excess weight,or edemaThere may be chronic sinus, catarrhand the body may ‘feel heavy’.
Foods to relieve this situation are:
Adzuki beans, kidney beans, lima beans
Aromatic herbs such as cloves gingeror fennel
If your tongue is pale with scalloped edges and you crave creamy foods then, warming herbs such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and garlic are good for you.Warming herbs increase the appetite and stimulate digestive juices. When you eat, be sure that you are actually hungry.An over-stimulated system may feel hungry but actually need cooling.
If your tongue is red, plumpand you suffer from bad breath, allergies, ulcers or hiatus hernia you may need drying cooling herbs such a dandelion, mint, cumin, dill or fennel.
Aloe Vera juice can resolve gnawing hunger, and cool the digestion.It reduces excess stomach acid and soothes the system, while acting as a laxative.
A Phlegm coated tongue with indigestion,pain,bloating and nausea means you will do well with daikon radish to cut phlegm and clear your digestion. Eat two servings a day to see a benefit.
Undigested food in the stools is a sign of cold in the system.Loud watery noises in the intestines indicate Cold and Damp with poor Spleen function
Foul smelling stool that feel ‘hot’ to pass are a sign of damp-heat.
Building YourSpleen Qi
One of the quickest ways to rebuild Stomach and Spleen Qi is to do some of the work for your stomach.Soups and stews are kinder on your digestion than raw cold foods.
It takes less digestive fire to eat soup than salad.
The colour for earth is orange.Vegetables which are orange are very soothing to the Stomach and Spleen.
Bakingsquash, carrot or pumpkin are great ways to satisfy the sweet tooth as well as build up your spleen and stomach qi
8 carrots chunked
2 slices of raw ginger
1 orange juiced, and finely grated rind
1/2 cup of cream
1 tablespoon dill weed
Boil the carrots with ginger,until the carrots are tender but still brightly coloured.
Cool , blend until smooth in blender with 2 cups of cooking water. (Be careful: hot liquids in the blender can be explosive.)
Return to the pan add the orange juice stir and heat to just under the boil. Stir in the cream and dill. Add sea salt to taste.Serve with whole grain bread.
I wrote this news-letter to intrigue and enticeyou to explore Traditional Chinese Medicine as a road to really vibrant good health.
TCMtreatments of acupuncture,patent herbs, or thevarious massage techniques like cupping, tuina,guasha etc can be important ways to help restore vital functions.
If you feel dragged out, stressed or nervy, if your neck or back regularly give you grief Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide you with relief.
TCM is part of a whole health system which includes the practices of Tai Chi or Qi Gong , diet therapy and meditation.Once learned these simple exercises can provide a lifetime of centering and health giving resources.