Health Intuitive

The Pernicious Elements Of Phlegm And Dampness

The buildup of phlegm and dampness occurring in the body can make us feel ‘phlegmy’ or just tired and heavy. Our mind works overtime when we take in a diet that is out of sync with our body and we likely become stagnant with phlegm and damp when the weather is very humid and damp.

Phlegm can manifest as a wet type of cough or runny nose and is thinner than dampness.

Dampness generally has a heavier/thicker viscosity than phlegm, but this may be less evident in terms of physical signs. Sensed in the fogginess of thinking and the heaviness of the body, dampness and phlegm can be manifested in the coating of the tongue.

Symptoms of Phlegm and Dampness

➢ Wet pustulant skin problems
➢ Poor memory
➢ Poor concentration
➢ Low energy, particularly after eating
➢ Loose Stool
➢ Leucorrhea
➢ Foggy head
➢ Difficulty waking up in the morning

Signs of Phlegm and Dampness

➢ White fur tongue
➢ Swollen tongue with teeth marks
➢ Slippery pulse
➢ Runny nose, particularly after eating dairy or greasy food

Thick Fur in the Tongue

Swelling of the tongue and a thick tongue fur are some of the signs of dampness. The tongue’s coating occasionally is white and very thick, more so in people who eat lots of dairy such as milk and yogurt. Oftentimes, these individuals also scour the coating of their tongue as it is so thick. This merely takes out one of the signs but doesn’t treat the underlying cause of the damp.

Phlegm and damp build up for certain reasons. Initially, this can be broken down into two categories: External and Internal.

External phlegm/damp may buildup because of:

1. Humid climate: Tropical climate. In a hot day for extended periods of time the air-conditioner is blasting on you.

2. The couple of weeks between the change of each season particularly at summer’s end, which is viewed as damp time of the year or late summer dampness is expected to amass.

The five element theory of Chinese medicine includes Wood, Water, Metal, Earth, and Fire.

Each element is associated with a function, emotion, organ, season, etc. The earth element is the one most closely affiliated with dampness. This element is associated with the stomach and spleen organs and to late summer.

The stomach and spleen is responsible for converting water and food to energy and waste. But from time to time, when this system is overworked or weak, it is unable to transform things properly. This overwork or weakness can be due to a rich diet, for example, when an excessive amount of food is consumed and not all the material can’t be efficiently converted or disposed creating the condition of dampness. According to Chinese medicine, when dampness overflows from the earth element, the metal element (which is represented by the large intestine and lungs) contains it. This may be the reason why when we sometimes eat a milkshake or greasy chips and fish, we tend to get a runny nose, diarrhea, or cough.

Dampness tends to drain down and out and is heavy. But it can’t usually drain out because it gets very viscous and gets blocked. To eliminate damp, there are a few ways to do it. First we need to lessen eating foods that tend to exacerbate the problem. Next, we use acupuncture and herbal remedies to either eliminate waste through urination or the stool or open the skin pores to scatter through sweat. Finally, we reinforce the digestion with acupuncture, herbs, exercise and a bland diet.

Internal phlegm damp may buildup because of:

1. Poor diet. Too much rich, raw, cold, sweet, fatty, oily, greasy, and dairy foods.

2. Stress/over-thinking resulting to a weakness of digestive energy (the spleen qi) that is unable to cope with all the damp foods being devoured which leads to a sluggish digestion.

Energy and Matter

Basic physics can be an ideal way to explain ‘digestive fire’ and Chinese medicine.

Energy and Matter: Two of nature’s most fundamental aspects are water and fire. These two elements can be referred to as energy (fire) and matter (water). All things can be reduced as a form of energy and matter, energy as an insubstantial and more dispersed form and with a high vibrational frequency and matter a more compressed form with a denser vibration.

These two elements are exchangeable; nature and life are constantly changing and moving. All of us are composed of matter and are impelled by love, will, emotion, and passion; in this instance, we can state this is the fire or ‘energy’ that is life. Hence, we are driven by energy and composed of matter. But what sustains this energy? Water, air, and food. So, we have inner fire which is life that we want to add wood or fuel to sustain the fire.

What strains digestive fire?

When creating a good fire, we need a good kindling material such as dry and light wood. If we use wet wood or green sticks, it becomes very difficult to get the fire started.
The stomach and spleen benefit well with light dry food. Dense, raw, oily, and heavy foods are not the type of foods that would reinforce an already frail digestion. This is akin to adding a heavy wet log on a small fire that all only the fire.

Our kindling would be eating foods that are not well processed, well-cooked foods, or easily digestible grains.

Foods That Can Restore Digestive Fire and Lessen Dampness

➢ Protein/Meat: Small portions of stewed, slow cooked, or well cooked foods to drain damp. Chicken, lamb, or beef.

➢ Veggies: Leafy greens, alfalfa, turnip, pumpkin, celery, beans

➢ Cooked whole grains: Corn, amaranth, buckwheat, pearl barley, quinoa, millet, rye, barley, oats, rice

➢ Herbs/Spices: Pepper, cumin, paprika, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom to warm the digestion. To heat digestive fire, ginger, works particularly well in congee.

Things to Avoid That Weaken Digestive Fire and Add to Dampness

➢ Processed foods: Dairy, lassies, iced water, smoothies, ice cream, chocolate, eggs, soy milk, tofu, bananas, avocadoes, wheat grass, salads, duck, pork, pastries

➢ Improper chewing of foods

➢ Overeating

➢ Eating late at night

➢ Eating too much sushi, salad, cold foods, juices, sprouts, vegetable, and raw fruits

➢ Eating too much mucus-forming, oily, sweet, or raw foods

A salad diet or raw food may be good for people with red and very hot face and a strong constitution but they would not be recommended for tired, pale, or skinny people.

Lowering Unwanted Weight and Further Enhancing Digestion

We get a left over residue (that turns into dampness) when our digestive fire is weak and we eat more of the wrong foods. This dampness is energy that has become dense and turned into matter. This unexpended matter can transform into more solid material like cysts or may manifest as deposits of fat.

To prevent this from occurring, you need to:

➢ Clear your mind with relaxation breathing and meditation

➢ Exercise everyday and become active

➢ Bring back your digestive fire

➢ Avoid foods that accumulate damp in the body

Acupuncture Plus
11851 Jollyville Rd #102
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 453-5352

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