Digestion in TCM

It may not seem like it should be such a big deal, but over 3,000 years of Chinese medical understanding of health and illness will tell you that drinking ice water over a long period of time can have a negative effect on your digestive system. Not just ice water, in fact, but other foods and drinks that are considered “cold” in nature (not just temperature), such as raw veggies, salads, smoothies, and raw fruit/vegetable juices. Now, this doesn’t mean that you cannot indulge every once in a while, but most Americans think that these things are actually “healthy” choices to eat all the time, and that way of thinking is erroneous. When you consume too many cold-natured foods, drinks, herbs, and medications (antibiotics are also considered cold), then the chemical reactions in your digestive system slow down and it becomes very sluggish. A sluggish digestive system can manifest symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and much more if left untreated. 

If you have ever been to a licensed acupuncturist, you’ll notice that the practitioner will ask to see your tongue to get a better idea of how your internal organs are functioning. A tongue that looks pale, puffy and swollen with teethmarks on the edges, too moist, or has a yellow coating could mean that your digestive system needs a boost. Acupuncture and the correct selection of herbs will certainly help get things flowing again, but you can also simply choose cooked, warm meals, hot tea, and room temperature water with a squeeze of lemon or lime whenever possible. Go ahead- be a bother and send the waiter back for water, no ice! Your tummy will thank you.