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The Law of 5 Elements - The Element of Metal part 2 of 2

Posted by Tanya on July 6, 2014 at 11:40 AM


Causes of Common Lung Disorders

In addition to unresolved grief, many problems of the lungs (and colon) are due to a sedentary lifestyle.  Insufficient activity encourages poor respiration and elimination. Lung and colon problems are also aggrivated by a faulty diet: overeating; not eating roughage; consuming too much meat, dairy, and other congesting foods; using drugs, cigarettes, and processed foods. Poor eating habits cause mucus to be deposited in the lungs, which blocks their proper functioning. Colds, allergies, sinus problems, bronchitis and asthma are among the problems that may result. Furthermore, toxins build up in the lungs and colon and create tension, exhaustion, hair and skin problems, and pale complexion. 

The following syndromes illustrate more precisely how these various conditions manifest in the lungs, and thus shed light on their cure: 


Common Syndromes of the Lungs

1. Heat congesting the lungs will usually have exterior symptoms such as fevers accompanied by chills, and a red tongue with a dry, yellow coating. In addition, there is a dry cough, shortness of breath, and a painful sore throat; there may also be thick, yellow-green sputum with pus, or even rank, bloody pus; and yellow nasal discharge. Treatment involves adding foods and herbs which cool the heat and transform sputum (phlegm) in the lungs. 

Useful foods:  watercress, cantaloupe, apple, persimmon, peach, pear, strawberry, citrus, seaweed (nori, kelp), mushroom, daikon radish, radish, carrot, pumpkin, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, chard, papaya, and white fungus.

Herbs: horehound leaf and chickweed. 

Diet: the majority of the diet should be in the form of soups. Soups and congees of millet, barley, or rice are cooling and soothing for lung heat


2. Phlegm in the lungs is most often brought about by weak digestion (weak spleen-pancreas qi) that causes mucus. It can also result from too much mucus-forming food. In either case, mucus accumulates in the lungs; symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, or asthma accompanied by sticky phlegm. The tongue coat is usually greasy and white if the phlegm is cold; a greasy yellow coating indicates hot phlegm. 

Useful foods, spices and herbs: fennel, fenugreek, flaxseed, cayenne, watercress, garlic and otehr members of the onion family, horseradish, turnip, fresh ginger, radish, daikon radish, mushroom, cereal grasses, seaweed (spirulina); herbs include nettles, coltsfoot, mullein leaf. 

Diet: generally the diet should consist of foods that easily digest and do not add any further mucus burden. These are fruits, veggies and sprouts; small amounts of legumes, grains, and almonds can usually be tolerated. It is best to eat simple, small meals. Avoid: all dairy foods, mammal meats, peanuts, tofu, tempeh, miso, soy sauce, soy milk and other soy products, amasake and all other sweeteners except stevia leaf. 


3. Deficient yin of the lungs occurs when there is a chronic lack of yin to cool and nourish the lungs. Such a condition is most often a result of a chronic lung infection, inflammation, or other long-term lung disease which drains the yin of the body. Insufficient yin of the lungs (or of any organ) suggests a deficiency of kidney yin, which enriches the yin of the entire body. Typical symptoms include dry, unproductive cough with little or no sputum (sometimes tinged with blood); periodic fever, frequent thirst, fresh-red cheeks and tongue, hot palms and soles, night sweats, thin and fast pulse.

Useful foods and herbs: Irish moss and other seaweeds, spirulina and chlorella micro-algae, orange, peach, pear, apple, watermelon, tomato, banana, string bean, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, sugar cane, rice syrup, flaxseed, butter and other dairy products, egg, oyster, clam, and pork; herbs include marshmallow root, slippery elm bark, the bulbs of tiger lily and other lillies, rehmannia root, and Solomon's seal root. 

Exclude all warming foods and spices such as to avoid "heat congesting the lungs." Too much bitter flavor is drying and therefore contraindicated; use golden seal, dandelion, echinacea, and burdock cautiously if at all. Dairy products and eggs should be used of excellent quality and in very small amounts. 


4. Deficient qi of the lungs is a chronic, often debilitating lung pattern. Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weak voice and limited speech, coughing, and shortness of breath. If the protective qi has also been weakened, there may be spontaneous sweating with any physical activity and poor immunity to contagions such as colds and flus. Deficient qi of the lungs can result from long-term lung diseases, particularly those with heat signs (including the minor heat signs of deficient lung yin discussed above). General lack of body qi can also cause this syndrome. The qi energy in the body is rooted in the kidney-adrenals, which in turn depend on the qi derived from food - a spleen-pancreas function.

Useful foods and herbs: rice, sweet rice, oats, carrot, mustard green, sweet potato, yam, potato, fresh ginger, garlic, molasses, rice syrup, barley malt, herring; herbs include elecampane root, spikenard root, and licorice root. 

The diet should include primarily cood food and restrict cooling or mucus-forming foods such as citrus fruits, salt, milk and other dairy products; cereal-grass products, spinach, chard, seaweeds, and micro-algae (chlorella or spirulina is acceptable). 


Protecting the Lungs and Colon

Most people show signs of lung and colon weakenss - their skin is not vital, they harbor old grief, hold unhealthy attachments to things and people, and tend to have mucus problems. Yet their condition is not outwardly serious and may not accurately fit into one of the syndromes discussed above. 

In our experience, a good portion of people, when told that they have cancer, relate the news to their friends with statements like this: "But I've hardly been sick a day in my life, and I never even get a cold!"
People who never get a cold are either exceptionally healthy or - more often - holding onto toxins that will contribute to serious diseases later. One or perhaps two colds a year should not necessarily be considered an unhealthy sign, particularly if the level of toxins where the person lives or works is high. 


Reference: Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, third edition. Pages 349-354

Categories: TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)

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