Originally published January 11 2010
Keep the Kidneys Strong All Winter Long with Traditional Chinese Medicine
by Melissa Sokulski
(NaturalNews) According to traditional Chinese medicine, when the seasons change different organs become vulnerable as our bodies shift to keep balanced. In winter, the water element predominates which corresponds to our kidneys and bladder. There are simple habits, foods, herbs and acupuncture techniques we can employ to keep our kidneys and our whole system healthy and strong all winter.
In Chinese medicine, there are certain symptoms associated with the kidneys becoming weak, including:
- bladder and kidney infections
- low back pain
- knee pain
- cavities in teeth
- weak or broken bones
- premature gray hair or hair loss
- ringing in the ears
- increase of phobias or fears
To strengthen the water energy and keep the body in balance it`s important to keep warm. Wear scarves around your neck and extra layers or scarves around your mid-section. In Japan a belly warmer, or haramaki, is often worn. A haramaki is a tube of material which goes around your midsection and keeps the abdomen and kidneys warm.
If one is on a high raw or 100% raw food diet, add spices such as ginger to juices and cinnamon to foods. Gently warm soups and eat plenty of well-blended food, as blended meals are easier to digest. Fresh cranberries make a nice addition to juices or purees this time of year while protecting the bladder and kidneys from infection.
Here is a warming winter juice recipe:
Juice the following:
- 5 carrots
- 3 apples
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 inch knob fresh ginger
Warm miso soup makes a wonderful meal: heat the water and let it cool back down to ninety or one hundred degrees so it is warm to the touch. Add scallions, sliced mushrooms, wakame (a sea vegetable), grated ginger and carrots and miso. Before adding the miso, make it into a paste with warm water and then add to the soup.
In macrobiotic cooking, azuki beans and black beans are beneficial for the kidneys. These beans are cooked, as the macrobiotic tradition cooks most food. Millet and winter squash are also good choices for balancing water energy this time of year.
Herbs which benefit the kidneys are nettles, He shou wu (also known as Foti root), and the Chinese herbal formula Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, or Rehmannia Six.
Winter is a wonderful time of year to get acupuncture, especially if you notice any of the above symptoms. Points such as Kidney 3 and Kidney 6 on the ankle boost the Kidney energy, as well as bladder points along the spine on the back. Burning moxibustion over the skin is beneficial this time of year to add heat to the body via the acu-points, abdomen and meridians.
Balch, Phyllis, A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Avery Trade. 2006
Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. Second Edition. Churchill Livingstone. 2005.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books. 2002.
Xinnong, Cheng. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Foreign Languages Press. Beijing. 1990.
About the authorMelissa Sokulski is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and founder of the website Food Under Foot, a website devoted entirely to wild edible plants. The website offers plant descriptions, photographs, videos, recipes and more. Her new workbook, Wild Plant Ally, offers an exciting, hands-on way to learn about wild edible plants.
Melissa also runs The Birch Center for Health in Pittsburgh, PA, providing the best in complementary health care: acupuncture, therapeutic massage and herbal medicine.
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