Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM has been an herbal tradition dating back to 200BC. It is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang, the five elements, and how nature (our environment) effects our health. The Chinese believe that everything has Yin and Yang aspects, which are opposites like day or night. They look for patterns of disharmony when assessing one’s health with ill health being a result of a deficiency or excess between Yin or Yang. Here are some aspects of Yin vs. Yang.
Yin Feminine, Substance, Material, Conservative, Quiescent, Conserves inner Vitality, The Earth & Moon, Night, Water and Viscera (internal organs)
Yang Masculine, Function, Activity, Aggressive, Active, Protects Body Strength, The Sky & Sun, Day, Fire and Somatic(structure-muscles, bones)
The five elements corresponds to the five natural elements and how they relate to the fundamentals of the seasons, emotions, tastes and parts of the body. This five phase or element theory- wood, fire, earth, metal & water- has a central role in TCM representing the continual process of life. The five elements are interrelated in two ways- trophism and suppression. Trophism relates to production and stimulation- Wood produces Fire, Fire produces Earth, Earth produces Metal, Metal produces Water. Suppression is inhibition- Metal suppresses Wood, Wood suppresses Earth, Earth suppresses Water, Water suppresses Fire and Fire suppresses Metal. Each is suppressed by another and each can suppress another. Their interactions are related and the ideal body health being that all are in proper balance within and among each other.
Element Wood Fire Earth Metal Water
Location East South Center West North
Season Spring Summer Midsummer Fall Winter
Climate Windy Hot Wet, Damp Dry Cold
Taste Acid Bitter Sweet Pungent Salty
Emotion Anger Joy Reflection Grief Fear
Chinese herbs have made their way into our cupboards used for cooking and spices as well as many types of herbal and green tea blends. When choosing a Chinese herb, use it’s actions to your advantage to help balance the five elements and the Yin/Yang within your body.
The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis. Always consult your health practitioner when needed.