For the Autumnal month of October and the approach of the 2nd wave of COVID my Facebook posts, blogs and Chi Gong practice has been focusing on the Immune system. Last week I explained in a video, all about the Lung, which draws in the Chi of Heaven through our breath. In Chinese Medicine, the Lung energy system and meridians are also in control of the Wei Chi. This acts like a Ready Brek glow or energy protection field which guards the surface of the body and the mucous membranes from external pathogens entering the body. It controls the opening and closing of pores, moistens the skin and hair, regulates body temperature, and warms up the inner organs. It is considered the prime minister of the body, in control of the protective energy field but not solely responsible for creating it. Food (Chi of Earth) is received by the stomach and then passed to the spleen. The spleen in Chinese medicine uses that power from food to make blood. Part of the spleens energy, together with your constitutional energy stored in your kidneys, is sent back to the lung for Wei Chi to be sent around your body to protect it. As we sleep the Wei Chi is not needed as strongly, so the energy re-enters the body and nourishes the organs.
The picture Chinese Medicine paints might be new to you and it’s a very different way at looking at the body. Although, in Western medicine, the spleen creates white blood cells which are the fighter of infection and quite obviously the COVID virus, as many other pathogens enter through the nose, mouth, and lungs. So even 1000’s of years ago Chinese Medicine understood the correlation of fighting viruses, lung strength, and the spleen. This system of preventing sickness is very ancient – the Nei Jing – The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine was thought to be written around 2600BC. – and here is a quote from the Nei Jing (chapter 36)
“the heart is the sovereign…the lung is the prime minister, the liver is in charge of planning, the spleen is in charge of defending (wei), the kidney is in charge of supporting.”
To receive the benefits of the 5-element dietary system that links the organs to flavours and seasons or to practice powerful yet gentle chi gong movements, it’s not essential to know or believe all this, you can simply enjoy the advantages. But I like to share so that if you like, you can have a different language to understand and communicate with the body. To be in your body, listening, breathing, smelling, tasting, accepting and loving all that is, gives us power from within when all around us is chaos and change.
This fantastic tea recipe supports both the lung with its pungent spiciness and the spleen with its soft sweetness. Red dates specifically nourish the blood in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
They are not as sweet as palm dates but they are packed full of antioxidants and vitamin C. Traditionally they are given at Chinese New Year as a symbol of health and longevity. Red dates have long been used in Chinese Medicine for strengthening the spleen energy. Specifically, they help build blood and energy following chronic illness or childbirth. If you don’t have any Red Dates, don’t worry, that will weaken the spleen – use 1 tablespoon of Goji Berries
Bring ingredients to boil and simmer for 10 mins, the pears will probably fall apart which is great – you can eat them as well as the red dates.
Pears are wonderfully soothing for the lungs and don’t forget if you would like more recipes with pears, red dates, goji berries and much more besides you can find them in the Cookbooks.
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