How to Prepare Your Body for Winter with Chinese Medicine
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the seasons of each year are associated with various climates. Those climates are then associated with certain organs in the human body. During winter and early spring months, the body will be more prone to illnesses that are associated with TCM’s concept of cold wind. These include well-known ailments like the common cold as well as the flu.
When it comes to TCM’s view of time, practitioners observe yearly, monthly, and daily rhythms. They classify the summer as yang and the winter as yin.
Winter as Yin
Yin and yang complement one another. The concept of yin is associated with blood flow. It both moistens and nourishes the body’s organs and tissues. Many vital organs are considered yin organs. These include the liver, spleen, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Since winter is associated with yin, Chinese medicine in winter aims to ensure that your body’s yin organs are well-prepared when the winter months approach.
Tips on How to Stay Healthy This Winter
To be certain that you stay healthy using Chinese medicine in winter, one important step is to start by planning ahead. Since illnesses such as cold and flu are quite common during the winter months, it is important to begin tonifying Yang during the summer months. Yang supporting herbs tonics such as Buzhong -yiqi-tang, which includes astragalus membranaceus and panax ginseng, and Shiquan-da-bu-tang, which includes atractylodes and angelica sinensis, have been used to tonify yang in patients suffering from intestinal cancers in an effort to strengthen both qi and yang.
If summer has already passed, there is no need to worry as there are still plenty of actions you can take to position yourself to remain in good health throughout the cold winter months. Read on to learn more about Chinese medicine and winter and how to best prepare your body to stay healthy.
- Build Up Your Protective Qi: Replenishing qi is important when the cooler weather appears. The use of Chinese medicine herbs can aid in doing just that. Certain herbal preparations containing ginseng and salviae miltiorrhizae have been shown to promote the circulation of blood while nourishing yin and replenishing qi. A study out of the Department of Cardiology at the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Capital University used these preparations in the treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction and found that they provided cardioprotective properties.
- Allow Yourself Plenty of Rest: Not getting adequate amounts of rest alongside elevated stress levels and a poor diet have been shown in studies to lead to kidney yin deficiency. Wind that is created throughout the winter months can influence the kidneys, so it is important to allow yourself to get plenty of rest to maintain and protect the health of your kidneys.
- Make an Effort to Nourish the Kidneys: According to TCM, kidney essence is responsible for many different bodily functions. The concept of wind is associated with wintertime which may also have an effect on the kidneys. The kidneys play a very important role in reproduction and growth. They also moisten the body’s tissues and organs while strengthening bones. Due to the vital part they play in maintaining optimal health, it is important to ensure that the kidneys are well-nourished.
Astragalus herb supplements (Huang Qi) has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. This powerful herb can be added to your daily routine to strengthen the immune system, increase stamina, strength, and vitality.
Food Choices According to Chinese Medicine in Winter
Changes to the diet can go a long way in preparing your body for the upcoming winter months.
Avoid foods such as dairy and those that are high in fat and sugar since these have been shown to lead to the development of phlegm.
Given how important it is to maintain the health the kidneys, you will want to choose foods that will ensure that the kidneys remain nourished. Select warming foods such as beans, seaweed, stews, and soups. Lean proteins such as chicken and seafood are also great choices for supporting kidney health. Seasonal vegetables are also a delicious option. Load up on squash, cabbage, and root vegetables which are abundant during the colder months of the year.
Additional Winter Tips
In addition to dietary changes, take some time to treat yourself to a warm cup of tea. Herbs such as dandelion or red clover are high in nutrients which are extracted when steeped in hot water.
Though it may seem as if it is the most obvious tip, it is still worth a mention that Chinese medicine in winter recommends keeping your body warm as this will go along way in supporting kidney health. Let that be all the motivation you need to treat yourself to a new winter hat, scarf, of jacket.
When considering Chinese medicine and winter, it is important to understand the role of yin and the associated yin organs. To ensure that you are in top shape for the upcoming season, start with making sure your kidneys are cared for. Consider Chinese herbs to replenish qi and nourish the kidneys. Make sure to get an adequate amount of rest as lack of it can be draining on the kidneys. Simple changes to diet will also help to prepare your body for winter. Don’t forget to kick back with a warm cup of tea while donning a new scarf to ensure you are staying warm both inside and out. If you are interested in preparing your body for winter, consult with your TCM practitioner so that you may enjoy a healthy, and hopefully illness-free, winter season.
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