When we use the earth soil element from the Five Essential Elements to analyze the earth’s structures and its related life systems, the soil means the crust and mantle layers of our Mother Earth.
Between Mother Earth’s core, the fire, and surface, the water and air, lays the soil, the crust and mantle layers. Use a metaphor to compare this to how human life’s fire cooks its life water, the soil plays a safeguard role as the container of water, prevents the fire from directly burning the water into vapor, and also prevents the water from directly extinguishing the fire. The better quality the container has, the longer and safer the cooking can last.
No matter in what season, no matter at what stage of energy cycle change, it has the same important role. Ever since Mother Earth’s acquired life started, the soil started its important role.
Since humans live in the middle of the sun and the earth, are they supposed to or are they playing the role of protecting the sun and the earth too?
Chinese medicine tells that spleen and stomach together are playing this soil role on a human body. They represent the foundation of a human’s acquired life.
Modern people’s living conditions are getting better and better, but their stomachs are getting worse and worse. From Chinese medicine point of view, the stomach cannot be separated from the spleen. The “spleen” in Chinese medicine has the function of digesting and transporting nutrients. Therefore, the spleen and stomach are collectively referred to as “the foundation of acquired nature”.
The spleen and stomach are the key to the biochemistry of Qi and Blood in the human body. Deficiency of the spleen causes all kinds of diseases. Chinese medicine tells that the spleen and stomach have four fears:
- They are afraid of cold food;
- They are afraid of raw food;
- They are afraid of overeating;
- They are afraid of being angry.
Why do Chinese people think the stomach does not like cold food? Why Chinese people drink warm water even in summer? It is because they know how human life energy changes in the human body. And this human body life energy change process follows the same rule and pattern as our Mother Earth’s energy change processes.
Because they know, for example, in summer, when the outer environment is so hot and humid when people feel their body is so hot, deep inside their body, Yin Qi is rising quietly. Yin starts in the middle of extreme Yang! So, when people drink cold water, eating cold food, their body will very quickly absorb these cold Yin energies. Excessive Yin will either damage their body’s Yang Qi, or be stored in internal organs, joints, or in the belly. Once the Yin Qi is rooted inside the human body, it will be extremely difficult to move it out.
When the excessive Yin Qi is in internal organs, it blocks the organ functions. When it is in the joints, it disables people’s activity capabilities. When it is in the human abdomen, since our reproductive system is born to like to be supported and surrounded by warmth, our body will produce a lot of fats to surround the abdomen and waist to safeguard the reproductive function. Our body’s north, Kan water, in the abdominal area, always needs to be safeguarded in warmth while our body’s south, Li fire, head, is okay to be naked in winter.
When Yin energy quietly rises inside the human body, while the outside of the body is hot, people are having poor digestion, poor appetite, and easy diarrhea. This is why humans normally lose weight in summer. The root cause is because of the body Yin Qi and improper eating habits. In China, many people enjoy eating hot pot in the hot summer. It is not a bad choice.
In winter, while the internal body life Yang Qi is rising, humans also need a lot of heat to resist the cold winter, they naturally get a good appetite and good digestion. Winter is the season when the body gains weight unconsciously. What is the feeling of eating ice cream in winter? The ice cream in the malls is not selling well in winter.
Thinking it from another point of view:
The most suitable temperature for human stomach digestion is the body temperature 36.5°. In the hot summer, when Yin Qi sprouts in the body, and when large glasses of iced drinks and raw food are poured down to the stomach, the momentary psychological pleasure is satisfied, but all the problems are left to the stomach and spleen. Should they consume the body’s energy, Qi and Blood, to heat the food before digesting them? Or should the stomach and spleen change their original characteristics to work at a lower temperature? This refreshing choice of iced drink and raw food does not need to go through the brain, but the stomach needs to grow an effective brain, plus a fast temperature regulator, plus a quick powerful heater so it can barely complete its basic functions.
The same situation only happens once, not a problem; occasionally, small problems; frequently, big problems. What is the result of the big problem? Is it the stomach-ache? Ha! But the interesting result might be the human’s getting fat, a weak and unhealthy fat. Or, humans will get skinny and sickly, based on different people’s different Qi and Blood circulation weaknesses. Therefore, it is recommended by traditional Chinese medicine doctors to eat fewer fruits and raw salad, avoid icy drinks and eat more protein-rich cooked foods, grains, eggs, noodles, milk…
Take a further step, outside the nervous system, the stomach is the organ with the most nerve cells in the human body. It is very sensitive to external stimuli and is the largest “emotional organ” in the human body. “Anxiety hurts the heart and lungs, and depression hurts the stomach and intestines.” Once a person is depressed, it is easy to cause his loss of appetite, fullness, and nausea, or go to the other extreme and overeating. This is a huge harm to the stomach and intestines. Chinese medicine also believes that the liver grows the spleen. When the liver is not depressed, the spleen is not weak. Therefore, to nourish the spleen and stomach, you must control your emotions, do not get angry, and minimize your temper.
To have a healthy stomach, Chinese medicine tells us: every day at 7-9 am, the stomach meridian is on duty. With active Qi and Blood flowing through, it gives a good time to nourish the stomach. The best thing we should do is to eat a good breakfast on time. Although in real life, it is a busy time between 7- 9 am for people to rush to school and work and it is easy to neglect breakfast.
From traditional Chinese medicine’s point of view, human gastrointestinal activity is strongest during 7-9 am, and the support of food will make this gastrointestinal meridian compensated by Qi and Blood. On another hand, this is the time the sun rises, when the Yang Qi between heaven and earth occupies a dominant position, as well as in the human body. Eating breakfast during 7-9 am makes it easiest to digest and absorb, and strengthens the body Yang Qi.
Furthermore, why is there more and more Gastric Ulcer? Scientists had one experiment: by hanging a monkey and stimulating it to keep it in constant anxiety, soon the monkey has a gastric ulcer. Scientific experiments, electroencephalography, X-ray, and biochemistry were used to study the cause of this disease on this monkey and scientists found that the occurrence of gastric disease is closely related to the overexcitation of the cerebral cortex and autonomic dysfunction.
Why do humans get a gastric ulcer? It is because of no fresh blood in the stomach! And fresh blood is the best “cure” containing antibodies, phagocyte cells, and nutrition. But why is there not enough fresh blood in the stomach? “The Emperor’s Yellow Canon” says: anger hurts the liver. If a person is constantly angry and complaining, the liver slowly accumulates turbid gas. As the liver and gallbladder are connected, the turbid gas will be transmitted to the gallbladder, then to the stomach.
Excessive thinking and unsuccessful thinking will affect the normal operation of Qi, and the Qi will be out of balance, resulting in Qi stagnation. This leads to abdominal distension, nausea, loss of appetite, and dizziness. When people think endlessly, they inhibit gastric acid secretion. When they are angry, it stimulates gastric acid secretion. That’s why “anger” prevails over “over-thinking” and “missing”.
Think about everything in the world, each has its own laws and walks in its own way. We should be happy when we live between heaven and earth. Grateful for the world, give us life; grateful for all things, provide us with the necessities of life, and give us happiness. Always think about the good of others, be grateful, kind, and happy, so that the mood will naturally open, the liver will naturally be smooth, and the spleen will be healthy. This is also the way to nourish the spleen.
The mouth is the organ that the spleen expresses in the five senses. People with spleen disease will have yellow lips or yellow around the lips, peeling lips, bleeding and other symptoms, which are caused by excessive Yang Qi and dry fire.
The thinner part of saliva protects and cleans the mouth. There is more salivation when eating, and it can also moisturize and dissolve food, making it easy to swallow and digest. If the spleen and stomach are not in harmony, it often leads to a sharp increase in salivary secretion.
Do we ever care about Mother Earth’s stomach? Does Mother Earth get angry too? Does she have a digestive problem?