Indian Summer in Chinese Medicine

We are now enjoying what is often referred to as an ‘Indian Summer’.  This is the period just after the height of Summer and before Autumn and the cooler weather set in. Summer has peaked and fruit and veg are bountiful. This is a time for harvesting and preparing for the colder and darker months ahead.

harvest

Earth, the Element of the Indian Summer

In Chinese Medicine this is the time of the Earth element, and its associated organs the Stomach and Spleen. This is all about digestion; the Spleen is in charge of  ‘transformation and transportation’ and the Stomach of ‘rotting and ripening’.  This is about how the food we take in gets digested and the nutrients absorbed to energise our body.

Emotional aspects of the Earth Element

Empathy is the main emotion of the Earth element. When this gets out of balance it turns into worry and overthinking, which affects our appetite and digestion.  When we worry or overthink a lot for longer periods of time you may notice that your digestion isn’t as smooth; bloating, gas, stomach aches and indigestion can be a result of our emotions not flowing smoothly. If you also feel stressed, this affects the liver and will indirectly also affect the Earth element and our digestion.

How to nourish your Stomach and Spleen

Our digestion runs best on having regular meal times. Eating on the go, skipping meals, grazing all day or snacking between meals can upset our digestion. Taking time to sit down and eat and relax and slow down helps our Stomach and Spleen do their jobs better and improves our digestion.

Foods that nourish Stomach and Spleen

– brown rice, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat
– squash: butternut, kobocha, spaghetti, acorn, delicata, etc.
– legumes and lentils
– small amounts of seasonal fruits
– seasonal vegetables, especially mildly steamed, roasted, or baked
– sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds
– walnuts, pistachios
– small amounts of meat
– spices such as: black pepper, cinnamon, caraway, clove, turmeric, sage, cayenne, nutmeg

Keep it warm

Stomach and Spleen like warmth, so eating or drinking straight from the fridge is not a good idea. If it becomes too cold in our digestive system it will slow things down and we may feel more bloated, sluggish or have lose stools. Also foods that are cold in nature such as diary, ice cream, raw foods can upset our digestion. Of course everyone is different and if you are blessed with a  robust digestive system this may not affect you. If not however, then taking into account the above will make a big difference.

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