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Dietary Suggestions and Formulas for the Spleen and Stomach

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Dietary Suggestions for Deficient Spleen-Pancreas Qi

The dietary treatment for this Qi deficiency involves foods that, are either warming or at least neutral in thermal nature. Foods with cooling properties weaken the digestive system and extinguishes the digestive fire.
Foods that correct deficient spleen:

  • Most complex carbohydrates and certain animal products, well cooked rice, oats, spelt, sweet rice, mochi.
  • Carbohydrate-rich vegetables: winter squash, carrot, parsnip, garbanzo beans, black beans, peas, sweet potato, yam, pumpkin.
  • The pungent vegetable and spices: onion, leek, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, garlic, nutmeg.
  • Small amounts of certain sweeteners and cooked fruits: rice syrup, barley malt, molasses, cherry, date.
  • If deficiency is severe small amount of animal products prepared in soup or congee may be helpful: mackerel, tuna, anchovy, beef, beef liver or kidney, chicken, turkey, lamb, butter.

Food must be chewed well and taken in easily digestible form. At the beginning small frequent meals and everything should be at least moderately well cooked.

Dampness, Mucus, and Microbes

The amount and quality of dampness present in digestive system and throughout the body reflects the health of the spleen. The concept of dampness unifies many separate imbalances in the body named as mucous, bacterial, viral and yeast imbalances.

Dampness a yin disorder, includes any overly wet or moist conditions in the body. It can come from the environment, poor diet or internal organ weakness. Damp excess in digestive tract, lungs, bladder or sexual organs and elsewhere most often appears as: edema, cysts, tumors and cancer overgrowth of yeast, viruses, putrefactive bacteria, amoebas and parasites.

These groups are related to each other, since nearly every chronic mucous condition appears in context increase of numbers of microorganism.

Symptoms of Dampness

  • Dampness can invade joints and meridians, movement becomes difficult, numbness appears, and if pain it is in an fixed place.
  • Dampness can invade Lungs and heart and is the cause of the most common problems in these organs.
  • When dampness affects the spleen, the intestines and digestion in general become weak and symptoms may include: feeling of heaviness in the head, lack of appetite, bloated abdomen, watery stools, and the coating of the tongue is thick and possibly dirty and greasy.

Diseases caused by dampness in general have a sluggish, stagnant quality and often take a long time to cure.

Dietary Factors which Contribute to Dampness

  • Too much raw, cold, sweet, or mucus forming food. The digestive fire of the spleen is extinguished by an excess of raw food including to many raw fruits, vegetables, sprouts, juices, which cause a thin, watery mucus or dampness.
  • Intake of highly sweet and to much other mucus forming food needs to be eliminated. This includes meat, eggs, dairy products, fats, nuts, seeds;
  • To much sweeteners, fruits encourage the growth of infections and yeast.

A small amount of mucus and dampness is necessary in the digestive tract and along all mucous membranes. Moderate amount of complex carbohydrates ( grains, vegetable, legumes) in the diet supply a light and beneficial coating.

Foods which Dry Dampness

Rye, amaranth, corn, adzuki beans, celery, lettuce, pumpkin, scallion, alfalfa, turnip, kohlrabi, white pepper, raw honey, raw goat milk.

Bitter Tonics clear dampness and dispel heat, they have a drying and clearing effect. A small amount of so called “bitter tonics” taken before meal will stimulate digestive secretion. Bitter herbs cleanse the digestive tract and stimulate digestion, so that the food is better assimilated and more strengthening in its effect.

Herbs like: chaparral, chamomile, pau d’ arco, golden seal, gentian, barberry, Oregon grape, bitterroot, boldo, fringetree, centaury.

Herbal Formula – Six Gentleman

Tonifies the qi and strengthens the spleen, dries dampness and harmonizes middle burner.

  • Dang shen- codonopsis -sweet, neutral; Lu, Sp; tonifies middle burner, augments qi, Sp qi def, prolapsed uterus, stomach, rectum.
  • Bai zhu- atractylodes -bitter, sweet, warm; Sp, St; tonify qi, strengthen Sp, dries dampness.
  • Fu ling- poria -sweet, neutral, bland; H, Sp, Lu; promotes urination and eliminates dampness, strengthen Sp and transform phlegm, quiets heart and calm spirit.
  • Zhi gan cao- honey fried licorice-sweet, warm; stonger effect than gan cao to tonify Sp, benefit qi, moistens the Lu and stop cough.
    Chen pi – tangerine peel-acrid, bitter, warm; Lu, Sp, St; regulates qi, regulates transportive function of Sp, adjust the middle relieves diaphragm.
  • Ban xia – pinellia-acrid, warm, toxic; Lu, St, Sp; dries dampness, transform phlegm, rebellious qi to descend, cough with copious sputum.
  • Digestive Strengthener Organ Lifter- (Bu zhong yi qi tang):
    tonifies the qi of the middle burner and raises sunken yang( keeping organ in place).
  • Huang qi – Astragulus–sweet, slightly warm; Lu, Sp; tonifies Sp, augments qi, raises yang qi of Sp and St, prolapse disorder uterus, stomach or rectum, uterine bleeding
  • Ren shen – Ginseng-sweet, slightly bitter, slightly warm; Sp, Lu, H; root; chi tonic, demulcent, stimulant, rejuvenating.
  • Bai zhu – Atractylodes- bitter, sweet, warm; Sp, St; tonify qi , St, Sp def.; strengthen Sp, dries dampness.
  • Dang gui – Angelica Sinensis – sweet, acrid, warm; H, Liv, Sp; tonifies blood, regulates menses.
  • Zhi gan cao – Honey Fried Licorice – sweet, warm; stonger effect than gan cao to tonify Sp, benefit qi, moisten the Lu and stop cough.
  • Chen pi – Tangerine peel – acrid, bitter, warm; Lu, Sp, St; regulates qi, regulates transportive function of Sp, balances the middle burner, relieves diaphragm.
  • Sheng ma – Cimicifuga – sweet, acrid, slightly cold; Li, Lu, Sp, St; raises the yang and lifts the sunken, for middle qi deficiency leading to such symptoms like, shortness of breath, fatigue and prolapse.
  • Chai hu – Bupleurum – bitter, acrid, cool; Gb, Liv, Per, Tw; -spreads Liv qi, raises and lifts the yang qi of the St, prolapse, hemorrhoids, vaginal discharge, bleeding or exhaustion.

Herbal Formula – Eight Treasures

Tonifies and augments the qi and blood. It contains the same herbs as six gentleman.

  • Shu di huang – rehmannia – sweet, slightly warm; H, Ki, Liv; tonifies blood, nourishes yin, night sweats, nourishes blood, tonifies essence, low back pain.
  • Bai shao – peonia – bitter, sour, cool; Liv, Sp; tonifies blood, regulates menses, vaginal discharge, calms Liv. yang, disharmony between Liv and Sp.
  • Dang gui – Angelica sinensis – sweet, acrid, warm; H, Liv, Sp; tonifies blood, regulates menses.
  • Chuang xiong – Szechuan Lovage – acrid, warm; Liv, Gb, P; invigorates blood, moves qi.

Herbal Formula – Spleen and Lymph Support

Tonifies Spleen qi, warms digestive fire and dries dampness.

  • Bai Zhu – Atractylodes – bitter, sweet, warm; Sp, St; tonify qi, strengthen Sp, dries dampness, Sp yang failing to rise with accumulation of dampness.
  • Fu Ling – Poria – sweet, neutral, bland; H, Sp, Lu; promotes urination and eliminates dampness, strengthen Sp and transforms phlegm, quiets heart and calm spirit.
  • Cang Zhu – Black Atractylodes – acrid, bitter, warm; Sp, St; dries dampness, induces sweating, strengthen Sp + St.
  • Fu Zhi – Aconite – acrid, hot, toxic; H, Ki, Sp; restores devastated yang, warms the fire and assists the yang, for deficiency of H, Sp or Ki yang.
  • Sheng Jiang – Fresh Ginger – acrid, warm; Lu, St, Sp; releases the exterior and disperses cold, warms the middle burner and alleviates vomiting, reduces the toxicity of other herbs.
  • Ze xie – Alisma – sweet, bland, cold; Ki, Ub; promotes urination and leaches out dampness, for stagnation associated with such symptoms as urinary difficulty, edema, diarrhea, esp. when there is damp heat in the lower burner.
  • Zhu Ling – Polyporus – sweet, bland, slightly cold; Sp, Ki, Ub; promotes urination leaches out dampness, for problem caused by stagnation of dampness such as edema.
  • Bai shao – Peonia – bitter, sour, cool; Liv, Sp; tonifies blood, regulates menses, disharmony between Liv and Sp, painful abdominal cramping and spasm, reserves yin.
  • Gui Zhi – Cinnamon – acrid, sweet, warm; H, Lu, Ub; warms the channels and disperses cold, for wind cold damp obstruction in the joints and limbs esp. in the shoulders, unblocks the yang and transform the qi, for edema due to accumulation of cold phlegm or weak movement of the yang qi.
  • Siberian Ginseng – Eleuthero – acrid, sweet, bitter, warm; Liv, Ki; bark of root; qi tonic, anti rheumatic, antispasmodic, low vitality, lack of endurance, increase athletes stamina, reduces swelling, difficult urination, edema, poor circulation, coldness and damp swelling of legs.
  • Bu Gu Zhi – Psorala – acrid, bitter, very warm; Ki, Sp; tonifies Ki, fortifies yang, tonifies and warms Sp yang, diarrhea, borborygmus, abdominal pain.
  • Mu Xiang – Aucklandia – acrid, bitter, warm; Gb, Li, Sp, St, Tw; root; moves qi, strengthen the Sp., prevent stagnation, used with tonifying herbs to ease side effects, esp. when transportive function is weak.
  • Sha Ren – Cardamom – acrid, warm, aromatic; Sp, St; transforms dampness stop vomiting, dampness in Sp, moves qi, strengthen Sp + St, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, diarrhea.
  • Da Fu Pi – Areca – acrid, slightly warm; Li, Si, Sp, St; expels dampness in St and intestine, promotes urination and reduces edema.