The energy of winter

In Chinese Medicine we believe the energy of the body mirrors the energy of the environment. During winter the yang energy is at its lowest ebb the yin energy at its height. Winter is a time where the energies of the earth turn inward and so to the energy of the body. Thus leaving us susceptible to the influence of cold and other external forces.

For us winter should be a time of regenerating our body. Nurturing the yang which will awaken as spring starts to bloom. Our activities and actions should be yin, quiet walks in nature, more rest and sleep and meditation. We should be conscious of protecting the yang, by eating lots of warm, well-cooked, nourishing soups and stews and keeping the body warm and protected against the cold.
The kidney and the bladder are the organs that relate to winter in Chinese Medicine and they are sensitive to cold. The kidney and bladder channels have a great influence over the immune system. So the illnesses we see often in winter are bladder and kidney infections, lower back pain (the kidneys govern the lower back), and immune system issues (colds/flus). There is also a link between the kidneys and depression which can worsen at this time of year. If you feel like supporting your body and mind at this time of year, acupuncture is the ideal modality.

There are many food as medicine recipe’s we can use to support our body at this time of year. These are two you can try yourself at home.

Warm and spicy daily ritual for healthy digestion and to ease pain
½ tsp freshly grated ginger
½ tsp freshly grated turmeric
½ teaspoon of raw honey
½ small lemon or lime
Add ingredients to boiling water in large mug, let steep for 5 mins, top with cold water to drink hot or warm
Feed a cold chicken clay pot

In Chinese Medicine we use salted black beans, spring onion and fresh ginger to relieve colds and flu.

This meal has an amazing effect on regulating the immune system and nourishing the body.
400 g Chicken thighs
4cm piece of finely sliced ginger
Bunch of spring onions chopped, reserving a small amount to add last
Tablespoon of salted Chinese black beans rinsed (available Chinese grocery)
1 cup Chicken stock or bone broth
Chinese cooking wine or mirin
Pre-heat oven to 180. In a pan sauté onion, chicken and ginger until golden, add a splash of chinese wine, add black beans and chicken stock. Transfer to a clay pot with lid on and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Serve with rice of your choice and steamed Asian greens.
Brighten my day beetroot
Beetroot enters the heart and the blood supporting emotional health. Combining with fennel seeds helps to scatter cold and support the kidney.

Chelsea Prescott
Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese Herbalist

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