The Heart – Love and Health
It’s Valentines month so lets talk about the HEART!!!
The Heart in Chinese Medicine is associated with the emotions of joy and happiness. These emotions often are present when one is in love but of course, one doesn’t have to be in love to feel joy and happiness. These emotions can also come from time spent with close friends, a relaxing vacation and from achieving a great accomplishment. Sometimes though there can be overjoy and this can lead to manic and uncontrolled behavior; this is an example of the Chinese theory of yin and yang in all things
The Heart in Chinese medicine controls blood circulation, blood vessels and pulse strength. It houses the mind and effects mental activity and sleep. In Chinese medicine there are many heart patterns. Some of these are as serious as a coma or heart attack, but some are as simple as stuttering because the heart opens into the tongue and can effect speech. When the tongue has a red tip that is a a sign of heat in the heart which can manifest as anxiety and insomnia. Below are a few common heart patterns and food that can help.
Heart Qi deficiency – symptoms may include palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, fatigue and a pale complexion. A good food to help strengthen all qi, including heart qi is sweet potatoes
Heart Yang deficiency – symptoms may include palpitations, feeling cold, cold limbs, pale face, fatigue, discomfort over the heart area. A good food to help strengthen the heart yang is the spice cinnamon
Heart Blood deficiency -symptoms may include palpitations, pale face and lips, insomnia and dream disturbed sleep, poor memory. Shitake mushrooms are a good food to help strengthen the heart blood
Heart Yin deficiency – symptoms may include palpitations, red cheeks, night sweats, dry mouth and throat, insomnia, mental restlessness. These symptoms can be common during menopause. Mung beans are a good heart yin tonic
Heart fire blazing – symptoms may include palpitations, thirst, mouth ulcers, red face, insomnia and a bitter taste in the mouth, dark or bloody urine. This pattern often arises in summer and watermelon is a great way to cool down the heat and prevent a heat stroke.
Phlegm fire – symptoms may include mental confusion, uncontrolled behavior and incoherent speech. This pattern is often associated with mental illness. Pumpkin and dandelion are good foods to dispel the phlegm and cool down the fire.
Heart Blood stasis – Palpitations, pain in the heart radiating down the left arm, purple hips, cold hands. Heart attack.
On Valentines Day we give roses. Hawthorne is a member of the rose family and a Chinese herb and a flower essence. As a flower essence it can energetically open the heart up to receive love and it can also help to heal a heartache. In Chinese medicine it can be used in cardiovascular disease, to help lower cholesterol and help treat non alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Heart patterns can also be treated with acupuncture! There are 9 acupuncture points on the heart meridian and also 9 acupuncture points on the pericardium meridian (gate keeper and protector of the heart). These points, along with many on other meridians, can help balance both the mental and physical conditions of the heart