Pungent & Lungs
Do you get colds easily or your immune system is run down? This article will show you how to help your lungs with just one flavour!
In Chinese Medical 5 element theory, each organ is related to a specific flavour. The 5 flavours are bitter, sour, sweet, salty and pungent/spicy/aromatic. If you crave a certain flavour it is your bodies way of notifying you of a problem with the related organ. In this post we will talk about the pungent/spicy/aromatic flavour of the lung. By consuming small amounts of this pungent flavour we can benefit our lungs energy.
The lung in chinese medicine is seen as the most external organ of the body. This is easy to understand due to the lungs anatomy, we breathe in oxygen which is a necessity of life, the first place the oxygen goes is into our lungs, thus, the lungs are the most external of the internal organs. For this reason the lungs hold an important role in the bodies defence system.
The lungs have the role of battling external pathogens when they arrive. The lungs are also said to ‘open into the nose’, ‘regulate the water passages’ and ‘manifest on the skin’. If you feel you have very dry skin or suffer any dermatological related disease perhaps you should consider your lung health. It is known in western medicine that lung conditions such as asthma are often associated with skin conditions like eczema. The exact reason in western medicine however is not clear. However, In Chinese medicine following this theory, it makes sense.
If you feel like your coming down with a cold and have signs such as sneezing, sore throat, blocked nose, cough or headache your lungs are in strife.
TIP: Our bodies respond differently to colds and flu, in chinese medicine it is important to distinguish whether the pathogen is of heat or cold. If you have a high fever, your tongue is red, your thirsty, your pulse is fast and have a sore throat; this is heat. In this case drink plenty of peppermint tea. If you have body aches, a headache, feel chilled and have a slow pulse this is cold, in this case drink ginger tea.
From a mental perspective, if the lung is weak sadness may dominate the emotions. Vice versa, too much sadness can also damage the lungs. In fact Asthma Australia states that having asthma can double the risk of depression. It would be interesting to do research to see if having depression will double the risk of asthma?
So to assist the transportive and dispersive and protective functions of the lungs, it is important to add some lightly spicy and pungent foods to our diet. Such foods include onions, garlic, ginger and radish. This is especially important in winter to assist our immune systems and prevent external attacks!
To learn more about the 5 elements and their flavour associations click here