Friday, October 03, 2008

October 2008 Health from the East

FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter October 2008

Wellness from the Eastern point of view

Oriental Medicine (OM) emphasizes the need for balance and harmony in the body in order to maintain health in all aspects of life. The key to health/wellness in oriental medicine is simplified into keeping five main systems/organs in balance. The five organ systems (Diet/Spleen, Emotions/Heart, Immunity/Lungs, Detoxification/Liver, and Spirit/Kidney) work together to perform physiologic functions in the body and interact and affect the other. This month we will focus on Diet/ Spleen function. In the months to come we will cover the rest.

Diet/ Spleen

The spleen organ system ( note it is more than just the named organ) in Chinese thought is in charge of all digestion. The spleen doesn’t like cold or damp food, as it is hard to assimilate. Raw foods in OM are cold in nature and are therefore more difficult to digest. Dairy and meats are damp. A diet consisting only of these elements will tend cause gas, bloating, GERD, and inconsistent bowels. So the Chinese combine these foods with other elements to warm them. For instance at a sushi bar (raw seafood, therefore cold and damp) you will find spices like ginger, horseradish, wasabi, Soy sauce, etc. to warm the foods and dry the dampness helping to assimilate them. You will find that many of the favorite Chinese dishes are balanced with flavors and spices to balance the properties of that particular dish, like dry the dampness, warm the cold, sweeten the sour, etc. From a western perspective we certainly have discovered that adding certain spices can greatly enhance its health value. Ginger is good for the stomach, Cumin is anti-inflammatory, cinnamon is good for blood sugar, etc.

There is much more to the spleen organ system than we just mentioned but those are some of the basics.


Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith

Complementary Medicine

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