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Traditional Chinese Medicine series #1

Posted Jan 16 2010 12:00am

TCM series #1


Within Chinese Cosmology, all of creation is born from the marriage of two polar priciples, Yin and Yang: Earth and Heaven, winter and summer, night and day, cold and hot, wet and dry, inner and outer, body and mind. Harmony of this union means health and disharmony leads to disease. The strategy of Chinese medicine is to restore harmony.

Body Constituents

The human body is comprised of Qi,  Moisture, and BloodQi is the animating force that gives us our capacity to move, think, feel, and work. Moisture is the liquid medium which protects, nurtures, and lubricates tissue. Blood is the material foundation out of which we create bones, nerves, skin, muscles, and organs.

Organ Networks

Nature is organized by five primal powers- Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water- so the body is divided into five functional systems known as Organ Networks. Kidney Network includes yet extends beyond the job of managing fluid metabolism which we in the West ordinarily associate with the kidneys. The Kidney stores the Essence responsible for reproduction, growth, and regeneration. It controls the treeth, bones, marrow, brain, inner ear, pupil of the eye, and lumbar region. So problems such as retarded growth, ringing in the ears, infertility, low back pain, paranoia, fuzzy thinking, weak visionare veiwed as dysfunctions of the Kidney Network.

The Heart not only propels blood through the vessels, but harbors the Spirit and governs the mind. Symptoms as varied as anxiety, restless sleep, angina, and palpitations occur when the Heart is agitatied.

The Spleen is in charge of the assimliation of food and fluids, as well as ideas, so when this Network is disturbed, indigestion, bloating, fatigue, scattered thinking, and poor concentration ensue.

The Liver is responsible for the storage of Blood, flow of Qi, and eveness of temperament- so when the Liver is frustrated, tension in the neck and shoulders, high blood pressure, headaches, cramping, moodiness, and impulsive behavior may follow.

The Lung sets the body rhythm, defends its boundaries, and affords inspiration. A troubled Lung might trigger tightness in the chest, skin rashes, vulnerability to colds or flus, rigid thinking and/or melancholy.

Health and Illness

Qi, Moisture, and Blood circulate within a web of pathways called channels that link together all parts of the organism. Health exists when adequate Qi, Moisture, andBlood flow smoothly. Symptoms as varied as joint pain, headache, anxiety, fatigue, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, asthma, indigestion, and the common cold occur when thier circulation is disrupted.

All illness is understood as a consequence of either a depletion or a congestion of Qi, Moisture, and Blood. Depletionleads to weakness, lethargy, frequent illness, poor digestion, and inadequate blood flow. Congestion results in aches, tension, tenderness, pain, a distended abdomen, irritability, and swelling.

TCM series #2 will talk about Diagnosis and Treatments.

TCM series #1 and #2 give you an overview to set the base. From there I’ll talk specific treatment, illness and concerns. So if you have any specific illness, treatment that you want to know, let me know and I’ll focus on that at some point. :)

Disclaimer: I’m not a TCM practioner, whatever I say here is from my personal learning and experience.

I hope this TCM series can be useful for some people to have a general knowing about TCM. I am aware that some people don’t believe on its effectiveness and would never go to a TCM doctor if he/she gets sick, but I think at least it’s good to know about it, maybe you might want to consider it one day when western medicine can’t give you the solution. :)


Next, some chinese food that we’ve been eating! :D As you will see, I’m hooked with porridge right now ;)

pickle raddish


pickle ginger


served with oatmeal porridge


Star had two kinds of fermented veggies


steamed buns (bought in asian market) and oatmeal porridge too


It is extremely important to replenish nutrients and blood after those special days for girls. So I made a black chicken soup with black fungus, red dates, goji berries and other chinese medicine herbs.


sauteed greens with garlic


served with porridge made with black rice, aduki beans, peanuts and black sesame seed.


The other night we went to Star’s friends home for a hot pot meal.



I’m sick of the hot pot right now. I might have had 6-8 times during the last month. I like it… but I need a break now ;)

Q: What’s your latest dietary or eating style change? I’ve been having savory breakfast for more than a month and I find it more satisfying than sweet breakfast.

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