It’s been a rainy June. Some days, I can feel the humidity clinging to me like a second skin.
All of my patients this week have complained of a “heavy feeling”, whether it be across their forehead, in their sinuses, behind the eyes, or all over. My best friend told me that her whole body felt sluggish, and she suffered a severe headache that made her head feel “so heavy”. My grandmother always complains of joint aches in this weather. These are all sign that dampness has invaded the body.
Moisture is good for the body. Blood and body fluid nourish our tissues so that our flesh stays supple. Drinking water keeps us hydrated.
But too much moisture can cause heaviness, fogginess of the mind, tiredness and body aches. These feelings are usually caused by a pathogen called “Dampness”, which can be contracted from humid, rainy environments.
Dampness can also be generated internally. Ever notice that when you eat a big, greasy meal that you feel a food coma coming on? Large amounts of food (especially if greasy) are hard to digest. From a TCM perspective, the spleen is having a hard time transforming it and transporting it. Therefore, the food clogs up your system, and starts to accumulate water, phlegm, and mucus in your body, making you feel anything but light and sprightly.
4 herbs to the rescue!
These four herbs work together to internally strengthen your Spleen’s transforming function, and externally strengthen your resistance to environmental dampness.
Job’s tears (Yi Yi Ren) promote spleen function, Fox nut also strengthens the kidney function so that you can get rid of excess fluid accumulation through urination. Adzuki beans remove toxins from the body. Ginger warms the stomach and spleen, and distributes warmth throughout your body from the internal (organs) to the external (skin). It is also good for joint disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
When the spleen function is strong, it can support the lung. The lung governs “Wei- Qi”, which means “protective” energy, which helps guard against environmental toxins, and pathogens such as dampness.
This salad has you covered from the inside-out, so that you can feel energetic and light even in such wet and rainy weather!
1 tbsp Job’s tears (Coix Seed) : Strengthens spleen, drains dampness
1/2 tbsp Fox Nut (Euryale Seed): Promotes spleen and kidney function
1 tbsp Adzuki Beans: Removes toxins from the body, drains dampness
3 slices of ginger: Circulates warmth and qi circulation, promotes digestion
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of sugar snap peas
1 green onion, cut up
1.5 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
Bring the 4 herbs to a boil in 2 cups of water, and simmer on medium for 45 minutes. When the herbs are soft, strain out and reserve the herbs.
Keep the liquid and sip it throughout the day as a tea. It tastes a little bit salty, but salty is the flavour of the kidneys, which strengthens the kidney to promote urination.
Bring the quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil, and reduce heat to low for 15- 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let it cool.
Blanch the sugar snap peas in salted water, and rinse them under cold water for one minute. Drain the cold water, and let the peas dry. Put them in a serving bowl, and pour the dressing over them to marinate.
Once the quinoa has cooled, mix in and combine with the cooked herbs. The herbs should be soft and slightly chewy.
Add them to the serving bowl with the marinated sugar snap peas, and toss.
Garnish with green onions and tomato slices
Modifications: Steam the tomatoes if you are feeling cold or have loose bowel movements. Raw food is cold in nature and hard to digest and may cause more internal dampness in the long run.