TCM Dampness and Food Therapy

Edward F. Block IV

One of the most central concepts of TCM is that of the intimate connection between the body and the environment. The physiology of the cells, tissues, zang-fu organs and meridian system of the body is in dynamic internal equilibrium and constantly adjusts to the vagaries of the external environment.

There is a saying in TCM: “The earth element creates damp and the metal element stores it.” The organs associated with the earth element are the stomach and spleen. The organs associated with the metal element are the lungs and large intestine. When dampness is created by impaired digestion, it likes to end up in the lungs and large intestine. When dampness moves into the lungs, the usual symptom is phlegm coming up while coughing (especially after eating something that is inherently difficult to digest such as cold dairy products or greasy foods). When the dampness is stored in the large intestine, we find mucus-lined stools, loose stools, sticky stools that are difficult to clean up after or diarrhea with undigested bits of food. Even intestinal rumblings are due to dampness. Internal dampness is directly due to the impaired transfomative and transportive function of the spleen system that then results in some form of pathogenesis within the body, zang-fu and meridians.

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