- Wednesday, 25 April 2018 15:25
The higher humidity levels in spring causes dampness symptoms such as brain fog, a heavy sensation in the limbs and an overall feeling of tiredness.
From the Chinese medicine perspective, beside damp weather, improper eating habits such as consuming too much cold, raw and frozen foods will lead to internal dampness. One is advised to undertake food therapy designed to eliminate dampness (according to body type) during the transition period from winter to spring.
Mr Leung Ho-wing, Lecturer of the Clinical Division of the School of Chinese Medicine says that spring in Hong Kong is humid, especially near the hillside or shore. External dampness from prolonged high humidity in the external environment can invade the body through pores, aggravating dampness symptoms. Internal dampness, on the other hand, mainly affects the spleen and kidneys. Weakened spleen and kidney function and ability to transport and transform fluids will lead to accumulation of fluids, causing dampness.
Mr Leung reveals, "A lot of dampness in the body can become pathogenic and reduce spleen and kidney function. Normally the body can adjust and eliminate the fluid automatically, however, dampness will affect the circulation of qi and blood in the body and eventually lead to common dampness symptoms including heaviness in the head and limbs, tiredness, swollen face and legs, sticky stool and heavier vaginal discharge."
There are herbal soups for strengthening spleen and eliminating dampness, but are they suitable for everyone? Mr Leung points that herbal tea for expelling dampness and coix seed water can be taken to increase the body's ability to flush out excess water. Moreover, many ingredients used in Cantonese soup are good for draining dampness as well. "Treatments for expelling dampness differ according to body type." Poria, white atractrylodes, Chinese yam, euryale ferox, and cooked coix seed are mild in nature and suitable for those with a cold body constitution while chrysanthemum, wormwood, canton love-pea vine are good for those with a hot constitution. In order to reduce symptoms and get rid of spring dampness, consuming these herbal soups twice or three times a week is recommended. However, if dampness is severe and persists over a long period of time without treatment, one should seek professional advice from Chinese medicine doctors."
Mr Leung reminds that the best way to prevent the accumulation of dampness in the body is to maintain healthy habits and lifestyle. One should avoid consuming too much cold, raw and frozen foods like 24 herbs' tea, salads, sushi and ice drinks which can impair yang qi of the spleen, affecting its function and contributing to dampness. In addition, sunbathing and exercising are great ways to get rid of dampness because sweating can enhance spleen, kidney and lung function as well as provide qi for the body. This gives the organs more energy to work, resulting in better fluid metabolism.