Dampness body type in the Chinese Medicine
Do you feel tired, swollen, puffy, and difficult to lose weight? You might have the Chinese body type called “Dampness”.
Characters of dampness
The characters of dampness include heavy, feeling weighted downward, turbid and sticky sweat or other body liquid. Dampness is one of the “evils” in Chinese medicine that can cause illness. When the dampness invades, we tend to feel heavy, loose stool, excess urination or discharge in women. It can cause cold hands and feet, fatigue, and overweight.
If the dampness invades the respiratory system, it can cause phlegm, allergy coughing. When it invades the bone, it might show up as “Wind Damp” or painful joints.
The dampness can be combined with “Heat” evil to show heat signs such as painful yellow urination, sticky smelly stool, or yellow leukorrhea in women. If the dampness is combined with summer heat, besides the damp heat symptoms, there is a danger of a heat stroke or skin rashes.
Where is the dampness from?
Dampness can come from the environment. If staying in a damp location for too long, it is easy to be affected. It can also come from internal factors such as diet. Too much cold food or junk food can affect the digestive system and damage the Spleen’s function of balancing water metabolism. Ice cream, sweet drink, deep fried food are common cause of the dampness.
Obesity and Dampness
In Chinese medicine, Obesity is usually related to dampness in the body. If you feel edema and swollen easily, you should certainly check with your family doctor first to rule out serious diseases. If all exams are normal, we have to improve our lifestyle and diet.
Avoid staying in a damp or wet environment too long, avoid processed food, avoid high fat, high sodium, high sugar food or drink, and drink plenty of water.
You might think drinking water will increase the dampness. In fact, it is the opposite. Water can dilute any junk food and help our system run smoothly. It lessens the burden of our organs and reduces the edema. That is why water is detoxing. Drinking plenty of water is necessary for everyone.
Most overweighted people have the problem of dampness and phlegm retention. The bad food choice and irregular lifestyle are usually the reason. Once it becomes a habit, it is difficult to change. Our Qi and blood get weaker day by day. The related symptoms might show up such as skin rash, allergy, coughing or wheezing. To reverse the process and regain health and fitness, we have to control our diet and lifestyle.
Food and herb to reduce Dampness
There are many common Chinese food and herbs to help drain the dampness in the body. Check with your local acupuncturist or herbalist to get a more custom diagnosis.
- Yi Yi Ren (and Yi Ren water)
- Bai Bian Dou
- Shan Yao (Chinese Yam)
- Winter melon and winter melon seeds
- Corn silk water
- Red bean (red bean water)
- Green bean (green bean water)
- Bitter melon
Some of these herbs can regulate the spleen, some can drain the dampness, and the spices can warm up and transform the turbid phlegm.
Si Shen Tang
Si Shen Tang is a popular Chinese medicine formula to strengthen Spleen and digestive system. When the Spleen and Stomach are stronger, the dampness can be regulated.
The ingredients of the Si Shen Tang include Huai Shan (Shan Yao), Qian Shi, Lian Zi, and Fu Ling. There are many modern variations of this formula. Their functions are similar. You can cook them into the soup with chicken or pork, and drink 2-3 times a week until better.
Restricting diet might be the most difficult change for most people. To fight with dampness, first avoid junk food, no high fat, high sodium, high sugar food, and drink plenty of water. Add proper herbs and keep a regular lifestyle. Sleep well and be active. That is the best way to regain your health.