Chinese Medicine: Living with Winter

Chinese Medicine: Living with Winter
Amy Lor Naturopathic Physician Hickory, North Carolina

Dr. Amy Lor is a Naturopathic physician, Acupuncturist and herbalist located in Hickory, North Carolina. She went to Bastyr University for her studies in Naturopathic Medicine, Acupuncture and Oriental medicine Dr. Amy focuses on the foundations of health to promote healing and well-being in individuals by utilizing holistic... more

Living in this season can be beneficial to your overall health. Winter is the season of “reserve and recharge”. In Chinese medicine, winter correlates with the water element, kidneys, black, salty and is also where things flow downwards. Remember, this is a time where we need to be more aware of our body and to care for ourselves. We need to “recharge” for the next season to come. In addition, we need to incorporate more warm, cooked and nourishing foods and avoid cold, greasy, raw and damp foods. Our kidneys are like our heat source. We like to keep them warm and happy.

The kidneys are vital and are the reservoir for our jing qi. Our prenatal jing qi is passed down by our parents. It’s important to preserve it as much as possible. An abundance of it shows that you are healthy, resilient, vital, and you have longevity. If it’s decreased, there’s degeneration, aging and you may become more susceptible to diseases. Depletion is typically through over-working, over-exercising, stress, too much sex, diseases, inflammation, blood/bodily fluid loss, etc. Preservation requires balance/moderation. For example – stress: it’s important to identify the cause of it and manage it properly. If there’s a health condition, then make sure that the disease is being managed and the cause is being treated. Post-natal jing qi comes from the functions of our spleen and stomach. It’s like our nutrients that we get from food therefore, it’s important that we nourish ourselves with food that’s good for our body!

There’s an energetic aspect to each food and moderation is key. Dark colored foods are great during the winter. Some kidney foods include: black chicken, black sesame seeds, black beans, black/dark colored rice, yam, sweet potato, oats, lotus seed, Chinese chives, tomato, asparagus, wheat, grapes, chestnut, and cabbage. Salty foods dissipate accumulations, soften hardness like masses, cysts and nodules, nourish our blood and lubricate intestines inducing bowel movements. They move inward and downward, helping to improve cough, acid reflux, vomiting and hiccupping. The key is balance and moderation! Some salty foods to consider this winter include: millet, barley, kelp, sea clams, sea shrimps, oyster, seaweed, pork, pig’s bone marrow and pig’s blood. Other guidelines to eating: eat until you are 80% full, take your time to chew, be present with your food, and balance your meals between different foods and tastes.