In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Lungs are considered a “tender and delicate organ”. They are easily affected by respiration, acute colds and emotions. The Lungs governs Qi and respiration – we inhale pure Qi (air and oxygen) and exhale impure Qi (carbon dioxide). Because the Lung gathers Qi from the air, it is the most external of all our Yin organs. As such, lungs are easily attacked by external pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and fluctuations in temperature (particularly cold) making them delicate.
The Lungs also control the space between the skin and muscles which is considered ‘exterior’ and influenced by Defensive Qi (or Wei Qi). Defensive Qi allows the body to protect itself from those external pathogens like that of the common cold and controls the pores of our skin with sweat production. Furthermore, it opens into the nose and controls nasal mucus. Weak Lungs can be clinically seen as a runny nose, blocked nose, loss of smell, sneezing, and nasal discharge. If the external pathogens penetrate the ‘interior’, infection continues and leads to chest colds and coughs, asthma and difficulty breathing. As Ted. J. Kaptchuk said in his book The Web That Has No Weaver – Understanding Chinese Medicine, “A person whose Lungs or Lung Qi are not functioning well may constantly get colds. Every time something is going around, he or she catches it”.
It’s the time of year to focus on strengthening the immune system and our Defensive Qi to stay healthy throughout the colder months! More tips and recipes to come.