The spleen is an often overlooked organ in western medicine but actually does so much in the human body!
It’s responsible for blood cleansing, the immune system and digestion. Luckily eastern medicine see the importance of a healthy spleen and have many herbs and protocols for healing it.
I’d been dealing with some gut issues that weren’t resolving after throwing all my usual tool kit tricks at it.
Turns out my gut issues are originating from spleen being tired and not dealing with certain emotions. I was also craving food constantly and could not stop eating.
If you have gas, bloating, constant dehydration, change in bowel movements, have certain cravings, and know you’re not dealing with life stressors ie. suppressing or avoiding emotions or find yourself over thinking or worrying, time to take a deeper look at what’s going on in the body…
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), craving certain foods or being stressed indicates a weakness or imbalance in different systems of your body. Even craving different foods at different times of the day can indicate weaknesses in certain organs.
Cravings are clues! When we’re out of balance, we develop a craving for the flavour that will correct that imbalance.
In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), each of the 5 organ meridians correspond to the 5 flavours of food. For example, the “spleen”/stomach meridian corresponds to sweet, so people with imbalances in the “spleen” will either crave or have an extreme aversion to sweet foods.
This craving signal can be helpful if the person listens to it in moderation and consumes mildly sweet foods such as sweet potatoes or oats with honey.
But someone who overindulges in extremely sweet foods such as cake, chocolate or ice cream risks further damaging the spleen.
Craving salty foods can indicate kidney weakness.
So, if you have certain cravings that occupy you at different times of the day or are stressed & anxious, I recommend trying a period of fasting or getting additional support, such as seeing an acupuncturist as they can help you understand what’s going on for you holistically and they can help balance your organs with acupuncture or traditional chinese herbs.
And try to make better food choices when the cravings hit. Small amounts of the flavour can be beneficial, but large amounts not so much.
If you have salt cravings, snack on salted nuts, wasabi peas, seaweed crackers, or miso soup. I find sauerkraut is great for those salty cravings. And you are getting a hit of good bacteria and enzymes that pre-digest your food at the same time.
Lowered organ function generally means stress or toxins. Look after you, get lots of sleep and try to eliminate some stressors and toxins from your daily life. Look into changing your diet to a more clean, wholefoods based diet.
If you crave sweets, snack on some fresh or dried fruit, a spoonful of honey, or bake some pears or apples with honey and cinnamon. Use cravings as a clue to look into supporting your digestive system, or go all out and have a proper cleanse and reset with a fast and a break from food all together to give your digestive system and organs a chance to detox, regenerate and heal.
Other foods that the spleen love are sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, legumes, kidney beans, lightly cooked vegetables, small amounts of lean meats (if you are not vegan), figs, coconuts, grapes, cherries, dates, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, rice, ginger, spring onions, astragalus and pu’er tea.
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Much raw <3
PS> Good to see science finally catching up, check out this scientific study here about spleen deficiency syndrome.