Staying healthy naturally in springtime with Chinese medicine
Updated: Jan 31
Spring is a the time of new beginnings. We feel our Qi awaken and our Yang rising, which makes us more active and gives us more energy - if we took the winter time to rest more and restore our batteries just like nature intends us to do. Unfortunately most of us just go, go, go all the time even in winter. We are overusing our active Yang energy, our masculine energy in a time that is suppose to be a calm, restoring Yin energy, female energy time. And than we wonder why we are tired all the time.
Food in Chinese Medicine
. In Chinese Medicine we look at food in a different way - food in Chinese medicine has taste, temperature and other properties. For taste we differentiate in Chinese Medicine: sweat, sour, salty, bitter, and pungent. Temperature can be cold, warm, hot or neutral. Other characteristics are drying, dampening, moving Qi and other.
Depending on the season and the persons body, we recommend different foods. If somebody feels cold all the time, has cold hand and feet they should avoid raw foods, because they cool down the body even more (especially in winter time!) They should also avoid iced drinks and cold foods like ice cream or Yoghurt, because it cools down the body even more and slows down the enzymes in the digestive tract, which can not break down food as effective and that can cause bloating and even diarrhea. People, who feel cold should eat warming foods like soups, add warming spices to dishes and drink warm drinks like tea or hot water.
In Chinese Medicine spring time is the time for the liver and the gallbladder. In spring we should eat less, even fast, to cleanse the body from the heavy and rich foods of winter. If the liver is in disharmony symptoms like rashes, acne, eczema, allergies, heavy or painful periods can occur. The liver helps to break down toxins and estrogen in the body, if its not in harmony these substances accumulate in the body.
The diet in spring should be the lightest of the year with fresh greens, sprouts and immature wheat or cereal grasses. Salty foods should be limited now.
The rising energy of sweet and pungent-flavored foods is recommended. Sweet doesn't mean sugar. We should avoid refined sugar, if sweets than honey or maple syrup are good alternatives.
In Chinese medicine when we talk about sweet flavored food we mean foods with complex carbohydrates like carrots, young beets and starchy vegetables. These foods have good carbohydrates and a lot of fibers what keeps the blood sugar more stable compared to refined sugar, syrup or honey.
Great herbs for spring are basil, fennel, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay leaves. Adding pungent foods like garlic and onion are a good way to cleanse the body. Eaten raw they support the body in cleansing parasites.
Even so we should consume more raw foods, we should take it slow. It does not mean to eat raw foods all day. Most people do well adding a little bit raw food every day, an increasing it as spring goes on. Nevertheless there are limitations! Too much raw foods can weaken the digestive system - the earth element- which is our center. If there is any bowel inflammation no raw food should be eaten.
Raw food for people with digestive issues is hard to break down, what causes the body to not being able to absorb all the important nutrients. Cooked foods are easier to digest and still can give enough nutrients. The cooking process breaks open the cell walls what make nutrients more easily accessible.
Acupuncture can support the liver by detoxing and by balancing the hormones in the body.