10 Nov Spring time! The Wood Element in Chinese Medicine, and the benefits of Green Foods!
So, we are well into spring, and past the spring equinox, and on our way to welcoming the summer. While we are still enjoying spring time, which is represented by the Wood Element (and Green Colour) in the Chinese Medicine theory of the 5 Elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water), I thought I would provide some perspectives on Chinese Medicine’s thoughts on Spring, green foods, and the green colour in nature, and its benefits.
Read below for some fascinating and helpful tips that you can apply during spring and most importantly, all year round, for health and healing.
Spring – New Beginnings! – Advice for Spring
The beginning of the year as far as ancient Chinese Culture (in the Northern Hemisphere) was concerned started with the Spring Festival, which is the beginning of spring (usually in February). And of course in the southern hemisphere, we experience spring at the opposite time of the year.
When the relevant hemisphere of the Earth is at a certain position (due to it’s angle of tilt) as it moves out of winter while the Earth travels around the Sun, the period of spring arises.
All life, guided by the seasons knows what to do in spring as it moves out of winter. New plant life begins to flourish and grow after winter dormancy, and the body and mind also has its own changes as the seasons and energies change. According to the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (Yellow Emperor’s Internal Medicine Classic) Chapter 5, spring is related to the Wood Element, which has a resonance with the Liver, Gallbladder, the sinews and tendons, the nails, the eyes, the sour flavor, the green colour, the emotion of anger and the shouting sound.
So what can we glean from this?
Look after the Liver and Gallbladder particularly (include cleansing foods, and focus on clean foods which are free of chemicals, avoid or minimise intoxicants, and moderate fats and oils) at this time of the year, attend to the musculoskeletal structure of the body, be mindful of your emotions, and focus on green foods. Another focus (which we cover in another blog article connecting the body clock and the Liver) related to the Liver and Gallbladder, is also related to focusing on good quality sleep, at regular hours.
When cooking/preparing/eating foods in spring (and moving into summer), the focus should be on:
- Shorter cooking times
- Higher cooking temperatures
- This translates into less thoroughly cooked foods, especially the inner part
- If cooking with oil, a quick high-temperature sauté method
- If cooking with water, light steaming or minimal simmering
Include some more raw foods in your daily intake, but keep it balanced with cooked foods too.
Despite some of the great info above, what we will primarily focus on in this article is one of the easiest and most beneficial things to bring into your daily diet/life- green foods.
The Power of Green Foods!
The power of green plants has been recognized throughout history. Many indigenous peoples and all mammals except modern Homo sapiens live primarily on grasses and green foods in times of disease.
Many green foods are available on the market today, which are all loaded with Chlorophyll, the special substance that makes the plant appear to be green. The greater the amount of Chlorophyll in a plant, the greener it is.
The regenerative qualities of Chlorophyll can be found in all green foods, such as green plants and green vegetables, and super-foods like Chlorella, Spirulina, Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Liquid Chlorophyll extracts (from Alfalfa, etc.) or Green Tea/Matcha.
Chlorophyll rich foods discharge residues of toxins in the body, build new blood and support cell renewal. They have the ability to assist the health of the blood, potentially due to the similarity of the molecular structure of Chlorophyll to that of Haemoglobin (found in the red blood cells). Their molecules are virtually identical except for their central atom: The center of the Chlorophyll molecule is magnesium, whilst the center of the Haemoglobin molecule is iron.
This is why Chlorophyll is sometimes called the “Blood of Plant Life.”
Some of Chlorophyll’s many amazing Properties:
- Stops bacterial growth in wounds and anaerobic fungi and yeast in the digestive tract.
- Deodorizes and eliminates bad breath and body odor.
- Removes drug deposits and counteracts toxins and deactivates carcinogens
- Halts tooth decay and gum infection
- Counteracts inflammation- of the stomach, pancreas, intestines, throat, gums, skin and arthritic conditions.
- Builds blood
- Renews tissue
- Counteracts radiation
- Promotes healthy intestinal flora
- Improves Liver Function
- Activates Enzymes to produce vitamins E, A, and K
In Colour Therapy, green is referred to as the “Master Colour” which benefits all conditions. Green can be used for correcting most imbalances when uncertain what to do, and it can sedate excesses in the body, as well as strengthen weaknesses. Therefore, adding a healthy amount of green foods to the diet can create many benefits. When used in a meal, green plants provide a refreshing, vital and relaxing presence.
So….we want to share a few powerful green Super-foods with you below…
Some Special properties of 4 Green Super-foods that you should consider including in your diet (in moderation):
+ The micro-algae, Chlorella, is known as a blood builder and cell/body regenerator due to its special component CGF (Chlorella Growth Factor). CGF, which is a special nutrient factor first isolated in the 1950s, is not available in any other food source. CGF is related to the special Nucleic acids present in Chlorella. Nucleic acids (which are part of our RNA and DNA) in our body decrease with age, causing premature aging as well as weakened immunity. Nucleic acid is depleted by no exercise, stress, pollution and poor diet. Therefore replenishing DNA/RNA is important to every aspect of bodily health and longevity. Chlorella offers superior levels of DNA/RNA to regenerate the body, and has an effect of strengthening the immune system by improving T-Cell and B-Cell activity. The robust cell walls of chlorella also bind with heavy metals, pesticides and carcinogens (such as PCBs), and carry these toxins out of the body, making it excellent for detoxification.
Chlorella is a genus of about 13 species of single-celled spherical green algae belonging to the division Chlorophyta.
+ Spirulina contains a blue pigment, Phycocyanin, a Biliprotein, which has been shown in studies to inhibit cancer-colony formation. Phycocyanin also helps draw together amino acids for neurotransmitter formation, which is good for increasing mental capacity.
Interestingly, the special predigested proteins (Biliprotein) in Spirulina provide an excellent and highly digestible protein source (85% digestibility as opposed to 20% digestibility of Beef protein), and therefore Spirulina is highly recommended to vegetarians and vegans.
Spirulina is a non-toxic blue-green algae variety characterized by a blue pigment, and a spiral shape. It is believed to be one of the oldest/ancient known life forms on earth that continue to exist to this day.
+ Wheat/Barley Grass contains generous amounts of 2 amazing enzymes:
P4D1 and SOD (Superoxide Dismutase). P4D1 can activate renewal of DNA and RNA, has been shown to repair DNA damaged by radiation, and also has potent anti-inflammatory properties as powerful as corticosteroids.
SOD is also a potent antioxidant that protects against free radical damage.
Wheat and Barley Grass powders, supplements or juices are prepared from the freshly sprouted leaves of the common wheat or barley plant.
+ Green Tea/Matcha Green Tea Powder (from Camellia Sinensis) – contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), Epicatechin Gallate (ECG), Epicatechin (EC), Epigallocatechin (EGC), which are all types of Catechins (varieties of Polyphenols). These plant compounds have amazing effects on the body, such as immunomodulation (effects on the immune system, such as, but not limited to supporting and buffering CD4 Helper T Lymphocyte response), protection from chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers; are powerful antioxidants (reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals), and reduce inflammation. The polyphenols mentioned above also have shown to have radio-protective (protect from ionizing gamma radiation and microwave radiation) effects.
Green Tea is made from the un-oxidised leaves and buds of the Camellia Sinensis Plant.
Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed (stems and veins removed) young tea leaves (from Camellia Sinensis), which are cultivated in the shade for 3-4 weeks prior to harvest to maximize the green colour and other health benefits of the tea.
Be sure to include some of these super-foods in your life, in moderation, for a great effect of health and vitality.
Green is Good!
As mentioned at the beginning of this article- Green, represents the Season of Spring, and therefore, the power of renewal.
In the Five Elements Correspondences, outlined in Chapter 5 of the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (an ancient Chinese Medicine Text), the colour green has a correlation with Spring, the Liver and Gallbladder.
However, in metaphysical and Vedic teachings, green has a connection with the heart organ and the Heart Chakra (energetic centre) also.
So, from a number of different perspectives, Green is good for you.
You are what you Eat, but you are also what you absorb…
So we have all heard about that we are what we eat- the cells that are in our body are literally made from the food we consume. But there are different viewpoints on this that take us out of the realm of the physical body, and into the energetic layers of the body and our environment.
So this is going to be a bit different to our usual discussions in our blog articles, into the realms of energetic healing.
Various Vibrational Properties of Green:
Cleanser, purifier, detoxifier, disinfectant, dissolver, creates equilibrium, muscle and tissue builder, balances the brain and physical body, disintegrates detrimental vibrations, soothing and relaxing for the mind.
Green Vibrations to be found in nature:
- Green Foods (Chlorophyll Rich Foods such as green plants, green vegetables, wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina and chlorella)
- Sea Salt (salt washes or salt bath)
- Sea Water and the ocean
- Shinrin Yoku- Japanese term- Forest Bathing- spending time in nature for health.
(For a great list of Shinrin Yoku places-bushland and seaside walks in Sydney, check out our list at the bottom of this article. )
- Tea Tree Oil/Essential oil
- Cypress Essential Oil (E.g Japanese Hinoki)
- Cedarwood Essential oil
- Sandalwood Essential Oil
- Green precious stones such as Emerald, Peridot, Epidote, Olivine, Jade, Greenstone (Pounamu), Green Aventurine, Green Calcite, and more…
Green as an Antidote to detrimental waves and energies
In the early 1900s a group of radio wave researchers (Leon Chaumery and Andre DeBelizal and others) in France were studying the Electromagnetic wave spectrum, and specifically waves emitted by objects, things, foods, drinks, plants, medicines, people, states of health and disease, certain illnesses, and how these waves effect us. Their branch of alternate science was termed: Vibrational Radiesthesia. These researchers were using pendulum-like instruments that they designed based on ancient principles from Egypt and other ancient sources, as well as other methods to detect and emit different electromagnetic waves. They built a number of odd shaped objects to emit different waves based on their shapes alone. Through this research unfortunately one of the early researchers (Chaumery) died from the detrimental waves that were emitted by his inventions, which had an effect of dehydration and mummification on his body (he was found on the floor in his laboratory with strange phenomena which had occurred to his body). It was discovered that it was in fact the opposite frequency to green (termed “Negative Green”), in the Electric (Vertical) wave band (detrimental) as opposed to the Magnetic (Horizontal) wave band (beneficial) that led to Chaumery’s death.
After this unfortunate event (much Like Marie Curie dying from exposure to radiation from her experiments), the other researchers learned that to reverse such a situation, it was required to provide an antidote wave to reverse such an effect, and that was basically to provide one with significant dosages of the Green wave in the Horizontal Wave band, which was possible through their various devices.
So what does this story mean to us, and how can it help us?
Basically- detrimental waves cause illness.
It was later that researchers (such as Dr. Ibrahim Karim) many years hence discovered that EMF waves generated by electrical and wireless devices also emit similar detrimental waves to those we discussed above, which are harmful to living systems (animals, plants, humans, etc.). And also it has been discovered that when people are ill they also emit detrimental waves. So for our wellness, we need to mitigate the presence of harmful waves and energies in our lives.
Therefore it’s important to maximize the green waves/vibrations in our lives to have an effect on mitigating or clearing harmful waves (as an antidote), which are unfortunately around us and interpenetrate us daily, with the use of Mobile phones, computers and other devices, or also being in the presence of detrimental energies from other sources. An example is: those who spend a lot of time around those who are ill or unwell- they will benefit by bringing these solutions in this article into their lives.
The simplest way to bring the green vibration/wave (antidote to harmful waves) into your life to benefit your health is to consume foods or medicines that emit those beneficial green waves, and to also surround one’s environment with objects and substances that also emit those waves. Or going into places in nature, which have plenty of these waves, for significant periods of time, on regular occasions will help balance our energies.
Please read this point again, and take it in, and consider using the solutions in this article if you believe they will benefit you.
Looking to “Green” your weekly exercise?
Seaside walks or bushwalks are great!
Check out our Sydney Shinrin Yoku (Forest-Nature Bathing) List:
10 SYDNEY COASTAL WALKS
- Palm Beach to Barrenjoey Lighthouse (North of the city – Northern Beaches) – read more here
- Manly to Spit Bridge Walk (North of the city – Northern Beaches) – read more here
- North Head – Shelly Beach to Barrack’s Precinct Walk (North of the city – Northern Beaches) – read more here
- Bradley’s Head Walking Track – Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach via Bradley’s Head and Cliffton Gardens (North of the harbour bridge – Sydney Harbour North) -read more here
- South Head Heritage Trail at Watson’s Bay/The Gap (Eastern Suburbs) – read more here
- Hermitage Foreshore Walk (Eastern Suburbs) – read more here
- Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk (Eastern Suburbs) – read more here
- Bare Island/Le Perouse (Eastern Suburbs South) – read more here
- Botany Bay Coastal Walk (South Sydney Beaches) – read more here
- Bundeena to Wedding Cake Rock (Royal National Park) – read more here
For this article, great appreciation goes to researchers of modern nutrition and super-foods, and to Paul Pitchford- the author of Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. This was the first Oriental Medicine themed book that I bought that was recommended to me by the first acupuncturist I visited in my teenage years to help with my health issues at the time. It was the first of many books that I have gathered over the years since commencing my journey in Chinese medicine, and has been a great source of knowledge in combined eastern and western nutrition. And further appreciation goes to the bodies of work in the more energetic and vibrational domains of healing- Pranic Healing (Master Choa Kok Sui), Vibrational Radiesthesia (French Researchers of the 1900s) and BioGeometry (Dr Ibrahim Karim).
Article written by:
Chinese Medicine Herbalist
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