In TCM, every individual’s body constitution is unique and changes from time to time based on our age, diet, lifestyle habits, mental state and the external living environment.
WHAT IS YIN & YANG?
Did you know? There are two forces in our body – Yin and Yang. Yin is a cold, dark but nourishing force, whereas Yang is a hot, bright and energetic force. These two opposing yet complementary forces are constantly flowing, changing and balancing – when one of the two grows in excess, it forces the other to shrink and trigger a transformation. Too much Yin or Yang can cause an imbalance in the body and create health issues.
Check if your dominant symptoms correspond with these common characteristics to find out if you have a Yin- or Yang-deficient constitution:
Common Symptoms: Warm palms and soles; Dry mouth and prefer cold drinks; Dry stools; Dry skin; Dizziness; Insomnia; Ringing or buzzing in the ears and scanty urine; Thready pulse.
How to nourish the Yin and strengthen the kidney
- Recommended herbs: Dendrobium Tea 石斛明目茶 (Shi Hu Ming Mu Cha), Premium Dendrobium 龙头凤尾石斛 (Long Tou Feng Wei Shi Hu), Premium Dendrobium 铁皮石斛 (Tie Pi Shi Hu), American Ginseng Tea with Dendrobium, Concentrated Golden Bird’s Nest (150g), Concentrated White Bird’s Nest (150g), Bird’s Nest Concentrate (42g x 6), Seal Rhizome 玉竹 (Yu Zhu), Chinese Yam 淮山 (Huai Shan), Poria 茯苓 (Fu Ling), Lily Bulb 百合 (Bai He)
- Food to take: Strengthen kidney and nourish the Yin with food such as sesame, glutinous rice, tomato, cucumber, towel gourd, lotus, melon, white mushroom, water chestnut, cuttlefish, sea cucumber, oyster, abalone, crabs, clam, jellyfish, milk, duck meat, pig skin, pork and tofu; Clear heat and nourish the Yin with fruits such as sugar cane, banana, persimmon, grapes, apples, peach, pear and pipa.
- Note: Refrain from eating deep fried and roasted food to prevent hurting the Yin fluid. Steaming, stewing and boiling cooking methods are recommended. Avoid cherries, almond, mutton, walnut, chives, onion, garlic, lychee, longan, pepper and anise.
- Lifestyle tips: Ensure sufficient sleep to preserve Yin energy; stay hydrated – drink water and nourishing soups regularly; Avoid intensive exercises and excessive perspiration; Engage in light exercises such as yoga, taijiquan and qi gong.
Common Symptoms: Aversion to cold and cold limbs; Physical or mental tiredness and prefer hot drinks and food; Fatigue; Pale fatty tongue with teeth-mark at tongue edge; Slippery tongue coating and deep pulse; Pale lips and scattered hair; Perspire easily; Loose stools and large volume of urine.
How to strengthen the Yang energy of the kidney and spleen
- Recommended herbs: WJL Waist and Back Tonic Soup Pack, Eucommia Bark 杜仲 (Du Zhong), WJL Wild Cordyceps (Tied 6g), WJL Wild Cordyceps (Tied 10g), Chinese Yam 淮山 (Huai Shan), Poria 茯苓 (Fu Ling), Chinese Angelica Root 当归 (Dang Gui), Wolfberries 枸杞 (Gou Qi)
- Food to take: Mutton, pot belly, chicken, pigeon meat, eel, walnut, chestnut, ginger and leek.
- Note: Refrain from taking raw, cold, sticky and greasy food to avoid hurting the spleen and stomach energy. Avoid watermelon, pear, bitter gourd, cucumber and iced drinks even on hot-weather days.
- Lifestyle tips: Avoid direct contact with cold environment; pay special attention to keep the lumbar area and lower limbs warm; avoid long periods of working in damp and cold environments; do mild exercises e.g. jogging, slow walking or taijiquan; avoid excessive exertion as it may hurt the Yang energy.
ACHIEVING INTERNAL BALANCE
By adopting positive changes to our diet and lifestyle, we can help shift our body to a more neutral constitution and achieve internal balance. Here is what the ideal body constitution looks like:
Common characteristics: Glowing facial colour and complexion; Sharp olfaction and vision; Red and moist lips; Dynamic and energetic; Cope well with heat and cold; Able to sleep well and have good appetite; Normal bowel movement and urination; Light pink tongue and thin white coating; Smooth and regular pulse rate.
How to maintain neutral state of balance
- Food to take: Maintain a balanced diet by eating food that contain different flavours.
- Note: Avoid improper eating habits such as too spicy foods, too much cold, raw and frozen foods, over-eating, high-salt diets, and ill-balanced dieting.
- Lifestyle tips: Maintain a good balance of work and leisure; avoid staying up late; avoid direct exposure to wind and cold.
In TCM, there are actually nine different types of body constitutions. We will be sharing more in our upcoming series, so stay tuned.
Note: The information above is for general reference and does not serve as a substitute for a physician or any form of medical care. For a more accurate diagnosis and treatment, please consult a licensed TCM practitioner.