In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that the spleen and stomach are the foundation of the acquired constitution. Many illnesses arise from these organs. Weakness in these organs can lead to a series of health problems. This is particularly true in the hot summer months when problems with the spleen and stomach are more common.
Dr. Cheng Yong, a physician from the Department of Preventive Treatment of Disease at The People’s Hospital Affiliated to Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, once appeared on the live broadcast of “Great Doctors Live” to popularize how to protect the spleen and stomach in hot weather.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a weak spleen and stomach often exhibit the following symptoms. Do you have any of them?
•Drowsiness, difficulty waking up, heaviness in the body, fatigue and lack of energy
•An unpleasant or bitter taste in the mouth with thick tongue coating
•Decreased appetite, easy belching, and bloating
•Stools stick to the toilet bowl, and severe cases may have chronic diarrhea
•Darkening of the lips
•With age, the complexion becomes sallow and the body becomes weaker
Why are there more spleen and stomach problems in the summer?
Summer is the season of growth. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the spleen belongs to the earth element, which can generate all things and corresponds to the long summer season. Therefore, nourishing the spleen is a priority in summer. However, summer is also the most humid and hot season of the year, and people tend to prefer cool foods and drinks, which can easily harm the spleen and stomach.
The spleen prefers dryness and dislikes dampness. If one does not pay attention to dietary conditioning at this time, it can easily lead to disharmony between the spleen and stomach, resulting in poor digestion and absorption of nutrients. As a result, the body may not be able to properly nourish itself in the autumn and winter, leading to the condition known as “deficiency unable to receive supplementation”. Therefore, nourishing the spleen and stomach is particularly important in the summer.
So, how should one protect and strengthen the spleen and stomach during the long summer season?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the principle of health preservation is to “nourish yang in spring and summer, and nourish yin in autumn and winter”. Health preservation should follow the natural course of things. In summer, one should promote the growth and development of yang energy, using a warming yang approach to combat spleen and stomach deficiency and coldness. This is also the principle behind “treating winter diseases in summer”.
1.Eat a light diet, consume meals at regular times and in moderate amounts, and chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
It is not advisable to overeat or consume excessive amounts of greasy food. A balanced diet with a reasonable combination of coarse and fine grains, meat and vegetables, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is recommended. Have a good breakfast, a full lunch, and a light dinner. Especially for people with poor spleen and stomach function, it is recommended to eat easily digestible foods, such as hawthorn, malt, and chicken’s gizzard-membrane, which can be used as both medicine and food.
2.Keep warm and avoid eating cold and raw foods.
The spleen and stomach prefer warmth and do not like cold. It is not recommended to drink cold beverages before meals, and it is also important to eat less cold and raw foods. In summer, when there is a large temperature difference between day and night, pay attention to keeping the stomach warm.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is a health concept known as “promoting the spleen through movement,” which means that engaging in physical activity can aid in gastrointestinal motility and promote digestion. As such, there is a saying that “walking several hundred steps after eating can greatly benefit one’s health.” For this reason, it is recommended to take a walk after meals to improve digestion and overall well-being.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ganoderma lucidum enters the spleen meridian. It is effective in strengthening and protecting the spleen and stomach.
In addition to the above methods for nourishing the spleen and stomach, it is also beneficial to incorporate high-quality Ganoderma lucidum into one’s daily diet to warm and nourish the spleen and stomach.
As a valuable medicine in the treasure trove of Traditional Chinese Medicine for “reinforcing healthy qi and securing the root”, Ganoderma lucidum has a mild nature, neither warm nor hot, and is suitable for various constitutions. It is one of the few Chinese medicinal materials suitable for nourishing the body during the summer. One can choose to drink a cup of Ganoderma lucidum tea or take products such as cell-wall broken Ganoderma lucidum spore powder or Ganoderma lucidum spore oil to provide an extra layer of protection for the spleen and stomach during the hot summer months.
Unlike other nourishing medicinal materials, Ganoderma lucidum is valuable for its comprehensive conditioning of the body. It can enter the five zang viscera and nourish their qi. Whether the heart, lungs, liver, spleen, or kidneys are weak, it can be taken.
In the second episode of The Discussion on Ganoderma lucidum and Original Qi, Professor Du Jian, a renowned national TCM practitioner, stated that Ganoderma lucidum enters the spleen meridian, enabling the spleen and stomach to absorb nutrients normally and replenish original qi. Additionally, Ganoderma lucidum enters the liver meridian to assist in eliminating toxins. Furthermore, Ganoderma lucidum enters the heart meridian, where it helps to calm the mind and indirectly protect the liver, resulting in a person being full of vitality.
Recommended Medicinal Diets for Summer
Avoid overindulgence in coolness, drink less cold beverages, eat less chilled watermelon… How can we cool off in the summer? Dr. Cheng recommends several summer medicinal diets that are simple and practical. Let’s learn together.
Jujube Ginger Tea
[Ingredients] raw ginger, jujube and tangerine peel
[Medicinal Diet Description] It has the functions of warming the center and dissipating cold, stopping vomiting, supplementing the blood and healthy qi, drying dampness and reducing inflammation.
Four Herbs Soup
[Ingredients] yam, poria, lotus seed and Euryale ferox
[Method] Simmer the four things together to make soup and take the juice for drinking.
[Medicinal Diet Description] This soup has many benefits for the body, including nourishing the skin, clearing heat, and promoting urination.
[Ingredients] 50g each of red beans, mung beans, and black beans
[Method] Simmer the three types of beans together to make soup. You can consume both the soup and the beans. Additionally, you may add some dark plum to the soup to engender liquid and allay thirst.
[Medicinal Diet Description] This recipe comes from Volume 7 of Zhu’s Classified Compilation of Verified Medical Prescriptions and has the effect of fortifying the spleen and dispelling dampness.
Millet Congee for Fortifying the Spleen
[Ingredients] millet, beef, yam, poria, raw ginger, red dates, and a small amount of seasoning such as thirteen-spice powder, celery, mushroom essence, and salt
[Medicinal Diet Description] This recipe fortifies the spleen and dispels dampness.
Protecting your spleen and stomach during the season when dampness is at its peak can help you stay healthy throughout the rest of the year.