In Chinese Medicine digestion is a main function of the Earth Element and is represented by The Spleen. Most of you are familiar with the function of this energy circuit (not a physical organ) but for those who forgot, here is a list of the main characteristics:
- The Spleen Is Responsible For Transformation & Transportation
The Spleen is responsible for the intake, processing and distribution of nutrients extracted from food and drink. If transformation and transportation is functioning properly, the energy is strong, digestion is smooth and the body is kept moist. When malfunctioning, the person feels weak (lassitude and lethargy), the appetite is poor and digestion is sluggish.
Overeating or combining foods that are difficult to digest leads to weakening of the Spleen’s function to transform and follows by indigestion or a condition known in Chinese medicine as food stagnation. Symptoms include a lack of appetite and an aversion to food, a full, bloated feeling in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, bad breath, and acid belching.
- The Spleen Controls The Muscles And The Four Limbs
The Spleen is responsible for circulating nutrients to the muscles and tissues. If the Spleen is weak, then the muscles and limbs are not nourished and become heavy and weak.
- Houses Thought
Every organ in TCM is seen to have its own unique Spirit, and the Spirit of the Spleen is called the Yi (Intellect). The Spleen is directly related to our capacity for thinking. How well we manage our thoughts, concentrate, exercise discernment and form intentions is dependent on the strength of the Spleen.
- Spleen controls sleep
Its not like having function of energy metabolism and digestive function is enough but The Spleen had to have yet another major responsibility. Sleep. When the digestive tasks are complete (i.e. latest meal at 7pm) the Spleen controls sleep. Good luck trying to sleep on a full stomach. The digestive functions are primary so until that is complete no restful sleep will take place.
Foods Beneficial For The Spleen
Congee (on a picture) see the link with recipes of many variations of this traditional Oriental goodness
Organic lightly cooked vegetables, corn, celery, watercress, turnip, pumpkin, alfalfa sprouts, button mushrooms, radish, caper
Brown rice, barley, amaranth, rye, oats
Legumes, kidney beans, adzuki beans, lentils; Small amount of lean organic meat, poultry and fish, tuna
Small amount of whole fruits, lemon; Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
Seaweed, kelp; Black pepper, cinnamon bark, clove, dill, fennel, garlic, ginger, peppermint, rosemary, sage, turmeric, thyme, horseradish, cayenne, nutmeg
Green tea, jasmine tea, raspberry leaf tea, chai tea
Foods That Hurt The Spleen
Dairy, Wheat, Cold drinks, Fruit juice, Cold raw foods
Processed foods, Refined flour, pastry, pasta, breads
Refined sugar and sugar substitutes
Coffee, alcohol, Deep fried foods
Peanuts and peanut butter