In Ancient Chinese Medicine, the spleen is the most important organ of digestion. Metaphorically I see the spleen as the conductor of an orchestra. In the same way that the orchestra can still function without the conductor being present, it performs in unison with the conductor.
As an example I went last week to listen to my youngest daughter sing in a local school choir competition. The two top choirs were both so talented it was a tough decision to make a choice between them. One small choir of 8 had a wonderful conductor and the result was simply awesome. The choir my daughter sang with had a larger group of vocalists and no conductor at all. They performed equally well , but the ability of this choir was that each kid had to play their role to a particularly high standard.
Both approaches work and what I am suggesting is that without the conductor, the spleen, each performer needed to be robust and healthy and have the capacity of doing their job at the optimum level. If one member of the choir is sick it would have impacted the delicate balance.
The way we live these days it's not easy to be sure that our digestive organs remain healthy. Any drug, medication or hormonal treatment, will affect the natural balancing mechanisms. Our body is the most amazingly designed piece of apparatus and is best mended naturally. Our bodies have self regulating mechanisms that are way beyond our present level of understanding. Nevertheless we live unnaturally, eat unnaturally and expose ourselves to tensions that are different to the straightforward survival needs we originally had to cope with. Stress shocks our nervous system to the extent that we frequently live our entire life in a state of 'active alert'. This keeps us operating in our sympathetic nervous system, shutting out the parasympathetic or unconscious nervous system which then has a difficult time performing its tasks of breathing and digesting food. This also creates all manner of unnatural conditions where germs can flourish.
Oriental Medicine has come some way to proplery understanding the body and thus addressing the body with the respect it deserves, healing only by supporting the systems and organs instead of chemically wiping out good and bad bacteria. Western medicine with its scant knowledge has looked at it too closely and lost sight of the big picture. Louis Pasteur's contribution was a major breakthrough in acknowledging how germs survive in the body. He noticed that germs need specific conditions to survive and when these conditions vary then the germs die. Instead of using broad-spectrum anti-fungal, antiseptic and antiviral drugs to wipe out the germs and causing damage to the liver and body as a whole, all that must be done is change those conditions. If the temperature, pH balance or light conditions are not correct, the germ is unable to survive. Pasteur found that different conditions suited different germs, and therefore specific treatment is needed. This is very far removed from the approach allopathic medicine takes today.
All these damage the spleen, as does emotional damage. The spleen is also badly affected by damp and humid conditions.
Dampness is also brought about by immuno-suppressant drugs and inactive lifestyles. Exercise helps to reduce the body's moisture levels and uses the more vibrant Yang energy to balance the passive Yin energy of the spleen. We will be able to feel moistness in the body when our limbs ache; our bowels doesn't work as they should and our head can become fuzzy and unclear.
Allergic reactions are also an indication of a weak spleen, especially allergies to wheat and dairy as well ascravings and addictions to (eg) sugar, alcohol, tobacco and even reckless gambling or abusive behaviour.
When moistness and humidity happen in the external environment; when we encounter stress and trauma compromising our digestion then we need to support the spleen by giving it the kind of food it needs. Green tea and jasmine tea have excellent properties which help to resolve the dampness. So have lemons, garlic, onions, parsley, kidney beans, aduki beans, pumpkin, anchovies and almonds.
When the spleen is strong and doing its job properly, the blood flowing through the body is clean and healthy, helping to maintain an ideal environment contrary to providing the conditions germs need to colonise. This demonstrates how it is quite possible to find good health.
Maestro is a 550 year old Ancient Herbal Remedy from Damascus that was used by our Meditaerranean ancestors for revitalising the blood and supporting the three filtration and repair organs - the spleen, liver and kidneys.
Phylipa Dinnen is a mother of four children, an Allergy & Nutrition Therapist, a Human Design Professional and a Practitioner of Pre and Peri-Natal Birth Trauma. Along with her husband Graeme they run Resources For Life a natural health business in Chichester, West Sussex.
For more information on Ancient Herbal Remedies for the spleen click here .