Autumn is upon us! Today, Sept 22, 2022, is the fall equinox which has already been bringing about changes in nature. The days grow shorter, cooler and dryer (eventually anyway). As a part of nature, our bodies are also affected by these changes and constipation may result!
In Traditional Chinese/East Asian Medicine (TCM or TEAM), the autumn season is identified by the METAL element – think of the cool dry surface of a mineral filled rock. As rain seeps through the earth, it gathers up those minerals and distributes them to plants – or as ancient five element philosophy so eloquently puts it, earth nourishes metal, metal nourishes water, and water nourishes wood!
In the human body, metal governs the Lung and Large Intestine channel-organ systems. The great news is that this means their energy is strong during this time, however, if they are not supported properly as nature intended, they can easily become hampered by the season’s dryness and lose their ability to function properly. Read on to find out the remedy!
This season, you’ll see plenty of blogs from acupuncturists about Lung health, in fact, we love “Dietary Recommendations for Lung Disorders” by our affiliated practitioner Teri Calandra of Calandra Center for Health and Wellness! But today we are discussing why in this season we need to pay close attention to the Large Intestine and it’s elimination of toxins!
In TCM, we know that the channel organ systems do not operate independently, but all work together to keep the body in balance. One of these wonderful symbiotic relationships is between the Lung and Large Intestine where the former can transfer its problems to the latter which will help get rid of the problem. If you have young children you may have noticed a phlegmy cough & cold ending after a particularly stinky bowel movement! *Please Note – never try to force a bm for this purpose, the body needs to choose the exit, we just support it!
Bowels that don’t move regularly – naturally, this would occur every time you eat (infants & pets anyone!?), however, for adult humans, we’ll define it as at least once daily – could hamper your ability to overcome an illness by releasing toxins in this way.
Why are we constipated in the first place?
Humans, as a part of nature, should mainly consume products from the earth; fruits, plants – knows as vegetables, and nuts and seeds. The typical western solution to constipation is to increase fiber which absorbs water (if you have enough in your system) providing bulk for bowel movements (apples are excellent for this and are in season right now!), but what if that isn’t enough? In TCM most fruits (excluding pineapple or banana) are sweet, sour, and cool (and full of water) which nourishes yin and helps clear heat from the digestive tract. Additionally, nuts, seeds and their oils such as cold-pressed hemp, flax, or fish oils often missing from the modern diet provide moisture to the Large Intestine thereby assisting with regular elimination. Being mindful to eat many of these things daily can remedy chronic constipation.
But what if that still isn’t enough? Although the goal is not to rely regularly on supplements, a chronic issue may require the use of herbal formulas or supplements for relief while working on improving the diet. A few short term solutions to try are cold pressed hemp oil (an herb that specifically moistens intestines according to TCM), inner filet aloe vera juice, or a soluble &/or insoluble fiber supplement.
If you have chronic bowel irregularities, TCM can help! Contact us for an appointment with an acupuncturist OR stop in to see what natural products we recommend. You can also scroll to the bottom of our website to sign up for our seasonal newsletter!
Wishing you the best!