The theories of Chinese medicine suggest that each season relates to a different organ system. Autumn is the season of the Lungs. It’s the time of year when people are easily affected by environmental influences, and great changes are taking place in the weather and plant life around us.
The lungs are called the “delicate protective organ” in TCM because they are the only organ that comes into direct contact with the external environment. This can make them vulnerable to the environmental influences which can lead to colds, the flu, or allergies. Read on to learn more about our magnificent Lung 'organ system' according to TCM, and what you can do to keep it healthy and happy.
Healthy and strong lungs can enhance the proper functions of the entire body. According to TCM, the lungs are involved in the production of “Wei Qi”. Wei Qi is a similar concept to what Western medicine refers to as the immune system. Wei Qi provides the body with an “immune system-like” barrier that protects the body from harmful pathogenic factors that can enter into it, and which may eventually lead to illness and/or disease. Through an intricate process, the Lungs extract “pure essence” from the air we breathe, and combine it with the food we ingest to produce the Wei Qi. This immunity-like system is then circulated throughout the entire body, providing it with a first line of defense.
The ancient classic text, Zhen Jing, states, “If the lungs function well, it can activate the flow of Qi, and nourish the whole body with Wei Qi, as rain nourishes young crops.” So we can see proper lung function is necessary to keep us healthy and to help ward off illness and disease. When the lungs are functioning correctly, we remain healthy, and potentially free from illness. But when our lungs become weakened or imbalanced, our body may not have the capacity to produce the correct amount of Wei Qi. When this occurs, the stage for “catching” a cold, the flu or allergies is set. Weak lungs and Wei Qi can also lead to asthma, eczema, dry skin and other problems.
The lungs are negatively affected by many factors: an improper diet, emotional stress, unexpressed or long-held grief or sadness, inherited constitution, smoking, bad air or pollution. They are particularly sensitive during Autumn, therefore extra care is needed to keep your lungs in top condition. So keep your lungs healthy this Autumn by eating according to the season, staying relaxed, keeping warm, managing your emotions, quitting smoking and of course regular acupuncture treatments!
Here is a delicious recipe for you to look after your lungs:
Dry cough pear and almond soup
5 ripe pears
4 handfuls of almonds
2 litres of water
Fresh mint leaves
Cut pears in half and remove stem and seeds. Chop into small pieces. Place four handfuls of almonds and fruit in water. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add honey and mint to taste. Drink one to two cups daily to enhance the Lung function and prevent dry coughs of autumn.
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