Assorted fruits and vegetables

Nutrients in Chinese Medicine – Part 2, B vitamins

B vitamins are a group of nutrients that are essential to numerous processes in the body. The list consists of thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Most of us know about them, as they are an essential part of every multivitamin supplement. As a group they are involved primarily in the chemical reactions of energy metabolism, as well as synthesis of a variety of compounds necessary to life. In an attempt to understand these vitamins as a system, let’s examine them as a group, looking for commonalities of function, and common symptoms of deficiency. Individual aspects can be explored if necessary.

The Four Earth Organs

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are generally only two Earth organs, the Spleen and the Stomach. However, there are several ways to assign phase-elements to the organ systems, and one of the models uses the organ clock, or calendar, rather than the five-phase model. This calendrical model is older than the five-phase model and offers some wonderful insights into the function of the organs beyond their traditional physiology as explained in TCM. According to Dr. Hammer Earth functions in the formation of bonds and boundaries. All four of these organs function in this capacity to one degree or another.

Parkinson’s and the Stomach

Parkinson's disease may be related to dysfunction in the gut, including issues with the vagus nerve and the microbiome. Blockage of Stomach and Pericardium qi is almost always part of the Parkinson's picture. Internal Wind is generated when the Liver becomes weakened from pushing against the blocked Stomach qi. The Stomach is involved in chronic disease even in cases that don't stem from systemic inflammation.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 5, Chronic Disease

The Stomach in Chinese Medicine is responsible for the suppression of indigestible toxins, chemicals, emotions, and experiences. The digestive system is a major source of inflammation and plays a major role in the development of chronic inflammation, and thus chronic disease. Treating chronic disease must involve restoring the microbiome, regulating inflammation, and releasing stored trauma.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 4, the Microbiome

The microbiome, the community of microorganisms living in our guts, is an integral part of us. They aid in digestion, regulate immunity, produce important vitamins, regulate behavior, and influence the brain. Some have argued that the merging of human and microbes is what makes someone complete, and chronic health issues can result from a faulty merge. The Stomach in Chinese Medicine explains and accounts for much of what we know about this microbiome.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 3, Nervous System

In American popular culture neurotransmitters are known as brain chemicals, since many mental health issues have been ascribed to an imbalance of these substances in the brain. What many do not know is that the nervous system in the gut – the enteric nervous system – uses all these same neurotransmitters. It is helpful to examine how they influence the gut as well as the mind, giving biomedicine a way to talk about integrated organ function as it is understood in Chinese Medicine.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 2, Hormones

By expanding the concept of the stomach to encompass the functions of the entire digestive tract connections can be made with the idea of the Stomach in Chinese Medicine. The organs of the digestive system secrete a variety of hormones, many of which have effects on major endocrine glands or in the brain. Similar to how the Stomach functions in Chinese Medicine, these hormones control things like appetite, blood sugar, cardiovascular function, weight gain, muscle mass and bone density, mood disorders, and more. Understanding the digestive system from the more functional perspective of Chinese Medicine allows for greater flexibility in diagnosis and treatment.

The Importance of the Stomach – Part 1, Chinese Medicine

The Stomach is so important! The Stomach in Chinese Medicine encompasses not only the physical stomach but the entirety of the digestive tract, corresponding more specifically to the hollow space within the stomach and intestines. The Stomach plays a role in nourishing the whole body, helps us to make sense of our life experiences, helps determine our mental well-being, and gives us the desire to “take in” the world. Our relationships, both to ourself and to the outside world, are encompassed within the role of the Stomach. Let’s examine how the Stomach works from a Chinese Medicine perspective.

Different Types of Insomnia – Part 3

Insomnia can be caused by stagnation of various substances, such as qi, blood, food, or phlegm. Each type of stagnation creates a different pattern of insomnia, and it is crucial to differentiate these patterns before trying any treatment. Qi stagnation in the Heart can be correlated with reduced circulation in the chest, and often results from shock or trauma. Blood stagnation, a more localized obstruction, can present as coronary artery disease. If there is stagnation of food in the digestive system the parasympathetic nervous system can be under-activated. Insomnia that presents with other mental health issues is considered to be phlegm, or mucus, that is obscuring the Heart and effecting consciousness. The phlegm often comes from the digestive system, and there is a link between digestive function and mental health issues.

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