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Let's talk about the Spleen!

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

In Chinese medicine, the spleen is a very important organ as it is in charge of making energy and producing blood. If you always feel tired, are low in iron or have food sensitivities, read below!

You may remember from biology class that the spleen is an important organ in our lymphatic system, producing lymphocytes (think antibodies) that are crucial for an immunological response. Well, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we think about the spleen a little more differently.

The spleen; a small organ with a big job

In TCM, the spleen is not only in charge of making new Qi (think life force), but it also:

  • Rules the transformation and transportation of food/energy via the digestive system, which includes our mouths and so it is no surprise that spleen health manifests in the lips

  • Governs the blood

  • Controls the muscles, flesh and the four limbs

  • Regulates thought and concentration

  • Raises the Qi along the midline, towards our mouth

As a result, when there are imbalances in our spleen, we often see symptoms such as:

  • Pale, dry lips

  • Poor sense of taste or lack of appetite

  • Heavy periods

  • Cramps, pins and needles

  • Overthinking, worry, inability to concentrate

  • And in more extreme cases; haemorrhage or prolapse of organs

So, what can we do to show our spleen some love?

  • Avoid having cold or iced drinks, especially with meals

  • Eat mindfully; this means not rushing and not eating in front of the TV, or while on your phone or laptop. Sit down at the table, enjoy your food and better yet, enjoy the company of others.

  • Avoid the usual suspects such as dairy, wheat, fruit juice, refined sugar, coffee, alcohol

  • Reach for warming foods like pumpkin, walnuts, oats, lentils and kidney beans, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches

  • See your TCM practitioner to strengthen your spleen with herbs and acupuncture

Click here for a soul warming pumpkin soup recipe, perfect for these cold winter nights as well as for your spleen.

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