Improving Your Health With Traditional Chinese Herbs

Improving Your Health With Traditional Chinese Herbs

, - May 29, 2018

How Imbalances Within Your Meridian System Affects Your Health

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is about balance and views the individual as a whole. There are no separate components, body, mind, and soul work together as one. Yin and Yang are two energies that complement and balance each other, and they are in a constant state of transformation.  There are times that the energies are perfectly in balance, and times when there may be more Yin than Yang and vice versa. By finding balance and harmony in these two forces you can achieve a strong immune system.

The Zang-fu Theory revolves around the concept of five “organ networks.”

  • Liver/Gallbladder
  • Heart-Pericardium/Small Intestine
  • Spleen/Stomach
  • Lung/Large Intestine
  • Kidneys/Bladder

The Zang are considered the “solid” organs and the fu the hollow organs. The interrelationship and dynamics of the five organ networks are considered the foundation of TCM.

Although the organs have the same name as those in western medicine, western medicine views each organ individually whereas TCM addresses the individual as a whole and considers the interrelationship of the five organ networks.

The main organ networks responsible for the immune system are the Lungs, Spleen and Liver. The lungs are the first line of defense since they dominate breathing and maintain moisture in the skin. They are also the main contributors to the creation of our daily Qi (energy) supply.

The Spleen and Liver are the major organs that dominate the digestive system. The Spleen helps the Lungs create our daily Qi and the Liver transports it throughout our body. The Spleen and Liver are responsible for not only the transportation of Qi and nutrients but also for the digestion and absorption of food.

Signs that the Lungs are not in balance are the symptoms of a common cold. Whereas imbalances in the Spleen and Liver will present as symptoms such as pain, diarrhea, bloating and headaches.

Traditionally, herbs like Astragalus (Huang Qi) and Codonopsis (Dang Shen – also known as the “poor man’s” Ginseng) have been used in formulas to tonify the Lung and Spleen which are responsible for the production of Qi and the reinforcement of Wei Qi (our immune system).

Other natural ways to strengthen the immune system and balance the main organ networks that support it are:

  • Using natural medicines and herbal formulas prescribed by a licensed acupuncturist or board certified herbalist.
  • Acupuncture treatments.
  • Get plenty of rest. In TCM, eating too often or overeating taxes the Spleen/Stomach’s ability to digest and create of Qi. Note: Overthinking and worrying are considered the same as consistently eating.
  • Eat warming foods.
  • Avoid raw and cold food and drinks.
  • Don’t over exercise.
  • Avoid stress.

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes a holistic approach to health, as opposed to a reductionist one like its Western counterpart. It approaches the use of herbs in the same manner. Herbs are not to be taken individually but as part of a formula incorporating two or more herbs depending on the situation.  The reason for this is three-fold. All herbs offer one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Mutual Reinforcement (combining similar herbs to enhance their effect)
  • Mutual Assistance (adding one or more assistant herbs to the main herb to improve its function)
  • Mutual Restraint (adding one or more herbs to the main herb to reduce or eliminate negative side-effects).

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