TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE: ORGANS AND INTERNAL CORRESPONDENCES
Macrobiotics finds its system of diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Therefore, when we look at an individual as a ‘whole’; we look at the internal organs as the ‘core’ in drawing conclusions about the state of an individual’s health at the time they come to see us.
Chinese medicine sees each organ as complex energetic system encompassing not only its anatomical entity, but each organ is correlated with a particular emotion, tissue, sense organ, mental faculty, colour, climate, taste, smell and more. We refer to them as ‘internal organ correspondences’.
So here is some information for you – let’s take the major organs: liver, kidneys, heart, stomach (which includes spleen/pancreas), and the lungs.
EACH ORGAN AND ITS CORRESPONDENCES:
ORGAN – TASTES, SOUND, COLOUR, EMOTION (NEGATIVE), EXTERNAL ORGANS, BODY PARTS
KIDNEYS – SALTY, GROANING, BLACK, FEAR, HAIR, UNDER EYES
LIVER – SOUR, SHOUTING, GREEN, ANGER, NAILS, BTW EYEBROWS/EYES
SPLEEN/PANCREAS – SWEET, SINGING, YELLOW, ANXIETY/PENSIVENESS, LIPS, LIPS/TEMPLES
LUNGS – PUNGENT, CRYING, WHITE, GRIEF (DEPRESSION), BODY HAIR, CHEEKS
HEART – BITTER, LAUGHING, RED, NOT BEING JOYFUL, COMPLEXION, NOSE (SP TIP)
**Stomach would include spleen/pancreas
How does this work for you??
Apart from a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, good quality fermented foods and minus the processed foods, sugar, dairy, animal foods (meats) – a brief description of what works for each organ is given below.
Kidneys: Usually people who push themselves with work, lifestyle, diet, and are constantly plugged into fear will burn out their adrenals (adrenals sit on top of the kidneys). Usually dark circles are indicative of such a condition; even eye bags show a weakened kidney condition. Such people will crave salt, or could be using too much of it in their diet and could suffer from hair loss, premature greying or dull lifeless hair. Apart from following a healthy diet (as stated above), replacing table salt with rock salt or sea salt would help them; such people may gravitate towards salty products like chips, the wrong type of farsaan with plenty of trans fats; so turn this around by incorporating the right salt and the right snacks. In addition to the diet – Include black beans like black soybeans or black kidney beans in their diet would also help. Magnesium-rich foods help calm the nerves to overcome fear like: spirulina, wheat grass, soybeans (esp. Black), among the whole grains add: millet, corn, barley (jov) and brown rice; sesame seeds; leafy green vegetables:spinach, methi, chowli and broccoli, avocado; cooked lentils; peanut butter; fruits: bananas, prunes, dried apricots, cantaloupe (melon); fish.
Liver: If your liver is not functioning at its optimum; you will most likely have an issue with being angry and frustrated. Your eyes will have some indication – like the yellow colour in jaundice (even in your nails-as liver manifests in your nails). But recently I made the mistake of having a watermelon juice when I was out and came down with a bad case of food poisoning the next morning. My eyes were not yellow, but had a dull gray colour and my complexion was white; the in between area of the eyebrows is the liver area (according to TCM) which had red spots. This gave me an indication that my liver was off. Sure enough a blood test indicated the SGOT and SGPT levels were out of whack. This led to a viral fever which left my liver a little weak.
Sour works in favour of the liver; and you might naturally crave sour like lime and anything “khatta” – Apart from the diet; one thing that really helps the liver is green apples – again sour and green. Also,
Among herbs -turmeric, basil,
cardamom, cumin, ginger, mint leaves,
strawberries, cabbage, cauliflower,
turnips, broccoli, all sprouted grains,
all bitter foods: arugula leaves,
fenugreek, amaranth (rajgeera), among grains:
Quinoa; among vegetables – raddish and raddish leaves (which are bitter),
all chlorophyll rich plants, spirulina,
People with liver issues abuse oily and greasy foods, saturated fats from animal foods and dairy and eggs.
Spleen/Pancreas: Governed by anxiety and worry; people of this nature tend to abuse sugar; and land themselves up with hypoglycaemia or diabtetes. Usually these people also suffer from digestive issues which will manifest in the lips (swollen, dry, cracked or unusually red or pale). The rights sugars should come from fruits and vegetables – here the sweet vegetable intake of the diet should be higher like: sweet potatoes, cabbage, carrots, squash (bhopla) and onions. This will help curb sweet carvings as well. Apart from the diet given above, include fox tail millet called cheena which is a great grain for anyone with issues in these organs and cook and chew brown rice well, this aids in breaking down the sugars in this grain supplying you with natural sugars as well. Include the sweet herbs: cinnamon, saunf, and nutmeg in food.
REMEDY: To keep sugar levels in check and curb sweet cravings –
SWEET VEGETABLE DRINK – DRINK WHENEVER YOU CAN PREF LATE AFTERNOONS DRINK WARM ONCE A DAY FOR ONE MONTH EVERYDAY
1. Use equal amounts of four vegetables, finely chopped (onions, carrots, cabbage, and sweet squash [bhopla])
2.Boil four times the amount of water and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce flame to low, cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes
3.Strain the vegetables from the broth and can use them later in soups or stew or leave as is
Drink the broth, either hot or at room temperature
Lungs: Governed by grief and depression, these people have a tendency to slouch (or have a hunchback-indicative of limiting their supply of oxygen to this area). Such people may not know they are in a stage of depression or grief-stricken; but they might have inflamed cheeks as the lungs manifest in this area of your face. These people may be abusing dairy and sugars; sometimes overconsumption of fruits and fruit juices could add to issues in this organ. All pungent foods help discharge mucous like build-up in the lungs; so raddish, cabbage, arugula, asparagus, mustard (sarson) greens, turnips, carrots, red peppers, broccoli also help. Wheat grass and spirulina rich in chlorophyll help detoxify this organ. Fiber-rich foods like whole grain and vegetables especially lotus root (kamal ka kakdi) helps a lot.
Lung remedy: FRESH LOTUS ROOT TEA
½ Cup Lotus Root Juice
½ Cup Water
Pinch Sea Salt
1. Grate Lotus Root and squeeze juice
2.Place in pot to boil with Water
3.Stir continuously and after first boil simmer 3-4 minutes, reduce flame
Heart: People with a weakness in this area will have a red or swollen looking nose; in some cases the tips of the nose maybe seem swollen and even green. The emotional state is that of not being joyful; and the complexion could also be sallow or have a dull colour. People who abuse refined foods: packaged foods, sugar, refined flours, simple carbohydrates, animal foods (excessive protein in the diet), intoxicants like alcohol, drugs; rich and greasy foods, late-night eating, large dinners would build-up to a heart weakness. Apart from the diet which is given above focus on:all whole grains especially amaranth (rajgeera); buckwheat (kuttu); include pungent foods like raddish, onions, mustard, garlic,; include magnesium rich foods (given in kidney section) as it will help alleviate the not so joyful state. In herbs include dill (suha), basil,chamomile (babunphul), catnip (fudina), and use ghee.