Traditional Chinese Medicine is renowned for its five elements. What many do not know is that TCM also has five seasons in its calendar year, each corresponding to one of the five elements. One of TCM’s five seasons, the late summer corresponds to the earth element. At this time of the year, the principle organ systems in your body are the Stomach (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.) and Spleen (9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. daily) organ systems. There are a number of health benefits associated with the Late Summer season.
If one can ensure smooth function of the Spleen and stomach organ systems, they will have a healthily functioning digestive system. One of the two sources of energy, according to TCM, is generated through the process of digestion by the two organ systems that correspond to the earth element. This so called “Acquired Qi” energy is responsible for helping you perform day to day tasks. It is essential to eat healthy and nourishing foods in order to maintain healthy functioning of the Spleen and stomach, and to maintain a healthy supply of energy. If this energy is unavailable, the body will have to draw on the other supply of energy, which is the finite “Inborn Qi.”
Besides converting the food that is processed by the stomach into food Qi, the Spleen is responsible for both transporting as well as absorbing water in the human system. If the Spleen is not functioning properly, the human body can suffer from internal dampness due to inefficient transportation of water. If one has trouble retaining water in their body, or feel as if they are suffering from a poor appetite or indigestion, they may be suffering from a week Spleen. While may might not associate the Spleen with brain related functions, it actually plays a big role in our ability to rote learn information, as well as to concentrate on things for long periods of time. Reduced Spleen function may interfere with your ability to think with a clear mind. You may also suffer from anxiety.
The Spleen is like a traffic policeman for all blood in the human system. It not only controls how much blood goes to each part of the body, but it also determines what quantities of blood go where. Since blood contains the oxygen you need to survive, the Spleen is essentially the lifeline of your body. A dysfunctional Spleen may result in easy bruising or even internal bleeding. The nourishment provided when the Spleen converts food processed by your stomach into energy is responsible for developing your bodily tissues. As a result, developing toned muscles and strong limbs depend almost entirely on the performance of your Spleen.
Another function of the Spleen is that it holds all the bodily tissues and organs in their fixed places. If the Spleen does not have sufficient energy supply from the stomach, it may cease to function, and you may suffer from prolapsed organs. If you find yourself exhausted on a consistent basis, your Spleen function might be deteriorating. The Spleen, the eventual recipient of the food you consume, is responsible for the tastes you sense when you consume it. If your Spleen is healthy, you will not only feel a good sense of taste, but your lips will look fresher.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine experts, a number of habits can improve the function of the Spleen during the Late Summer season. Small changes in one’s diet can have a tremendous impact on one’s health, and a complete elimination of any Spleen related problems. Available at most Asian grocery shops, bamboo shoots have an invigorating effect on the Spleen. Likewise, Chinese barley and Chinese red dates strengthen the Spleen if consumed on a regular basis. One should also include celery, ginger, peanuts, pineapples and red beans in their daily diet so that they can maintain healthy Spleen function and prevent themselves from the countless weak Spleen related illnesses prevalent.