Discussion of Winter / Kidneys
As mentioned in prior discussions, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses terms and ideas to explain physiological, biological, spiritual, metaphysical and environmental manifestations that are around us. As such, when discussing the kidney, we are depicting the Shen (Chinese word for kidney) which encompasses all of the above, and as well as some of the physical western medical kidney definition.
A chapter in the ancient Nei Jing Su Wen text describes and gives insight into the four climatic seasons and how they both harm and harmonise our bodies. To be in harmony within the winter season, the Nei Jing states that winter is the essential time to “close and store”. We are instructed to not disturb the yang Qi energy, thus one must go to bed early and rise late (one must wait for the shining of the sun). In addition, to be in harmony with winter, we have to adopt the posture of stillness and conservation. We should sleep and rest more; our state of mind should be quiet and reflective. Nei Jing says, “Avoidance of the cold and seeking warmth is of the utmost importance. During winter, we should refrain from sweating as it causes the Qi to be scattered rapidly.”
Important aspects of the TCM Winter
Winter is the most important time to tonify and strengthen the TCM kidneys and kidney function. In the darkness of winter, the emotion of fear can damage the kidney, so avoiding fear and fearful events are advisable. The kidneys are said to store Jing (life essence) which is the essential product for longevity and long life. Wasting Jing can lead to premature aging and age related illnesses.
During winter periods we should cook foods for longer periods at a low constant temperate and use less water to cook with. Hence the use of slow cookers are ideal and so is the use of fermentation to store foods for a later date.
Activities and substance that harm the kidneys [according to the Nei Jing Su Wen text] are varied and peculiar to some. These include excessive salt (some good salt ill nourish kidney, such as Celtic). A lack of water will cause damage to the kidneys and urinary bladder. Too many consecutive pregnancies for females (without appropriate time to recover) and excessive ejaculations for males will place a taxation on the kidneys.
Activities and substance that harm the kidneys [according to the Nei Jing Su Wen text] are varied and peculiar to some. These include:
- excessive salt (some good salt ill nourish kidney)
- lack of water will cause damage to the kidneys and urinary bladder; and
- too many consecutive pregnancies for females (without appropriate time to recover) and excessive ejaculations for males place a taxation on the kidneys.
Functions of the TCM Kidney
- Stores essence (Jing)
- Governs birth, growth, reproduction and development
- Produce marrow and fill the brain
- Controls bones [osteo conditions]
- Governs water
- Controls the receiving of qi
- Opens to the ears [hearing and tinnitus ]
- Controls the lower two orifices
- Houses the will power
Foods to support the Kidney include
Cinnamon , Clove, Ginger, Onion
Watercress, Celery, asparagus, carrots
Rye, Barley, oats quinoa, Miso soy sauce, Salt
Bone broth, Warm slow cooked soups, Roasted nuts
Dark beans, Kidneys, Dried foods, Chicory root, burdock root