The Heart as our Inner Sun
Do you LOVE your HEART??
Your HEART could really use some extra attention in the summer!
Why not try some of these Tips this Summer?
- The heart is your gateway to Joy.
- By the time the Heart is producing symptoms, other organs have failed to help the Heart in distress.
- Learn how Stress can be seen in your body to impact your Heart
- Anemic is hard on the Heart? Find out how to you can tell if you are anemic.
- Learn the Foods that help nourish the Heart.
Too much heat can be damaging to your Heart. The summer season is characterized as the Summer Vacation time. Lounging and relaxing, swimming and barbequeing. It is also the time that our Farmers have to “ make hay while the sun shimes:” So, for some fo us, it is the time of year that we work the hardest.
~Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.
~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Heart as the Gateway to Joy
The Heart is the Gateway to Joy, according to the Classics of Chinese Medicine. The level of joy that you experience is dependent on the health of the heart. If you came to my office as a patient, I might ask you: “How much joy do you have in your life, on a scale of 1-10, with 0 being NO JOY, and 10 being the most joy you have ever felt. Ask yourself that question and write down today’s date and your answer. As we nourish the Heart, we can see the level of feeling joy increase. This is one way to approach Heart Health. In the Summer Strategies Cheat Sheet below, you can see different ways to nourish the Heart through Foods, herbs and actions.
By the time the Heart is producing Symptoms, other organs have failed to help the Heart in distress.
Since the Heart is considered the Sovereign Ruler of the body, the rest of the organs of the body will run interference to save the “emperor” organ. If you are having Heart Symptoms, then the other organs are fatigued too, according to this system.
In Chinese Medicine, we break the symptoms related to the Heart into categories based on the Chinese Medicine Diagnostic Terminology. These are the Heart Diagnostic Categories:
Heart Qi Deficiency
Heart Yang Deficiency
Heart Blood Deficiency
Heart Yin Deficiency
Heart Blood Stasis
Phlegm misting the Heart
Phlegm Fire Harassing the Heart
Stress and the Heart
Stress as we all know can put such a strain on the heart that we begin to develop some of the classic heart distress signs: Angina pain, chest pain, stabbing pain in the jaw on the Left side. Pain going down the left arm from the chest, shortness of breath, anxiety and panic disorders, heart palpitations and worried thoughts of heart attacks.
Do not wait if any of these symptoms show up. This is a sign of the Heart crying out for help. Do not ignore the Heart when it cries out.
Anemia is a form of Blood Deficiency
The relationship of Blood with the “blood organs” dictate how well the Blood forms and circulates.
The Liver is a storage place of blood
The Heart is the organ that governs the circulation of blood.
And the Spleen/Pancreas/Stomach. Are the source of the formation of Blood from Food Essence, Gu Qi.
There is a special relationship the blood has to the Stomach.
Only Iron (the red substance) is absorbed in the Stomach. If you have stomach problems, this could eventually lead to iron deficiency.
Excess and Deficiency of Blood
In the Western Medical View, the name for Blood Deficiency is anemia.
The Signs of Anemia are:
- Easily Fatigued and loss of energy
- Unusually rapid heart beat, particularly with exercise
- Shortness of breath and headache, particularly with exercise
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pale skin
- Leg cramps
There are 6 types of Anemia, however anemia is most often ecognized as
blood that as 1. Deficient in Iron,
and/or 2. Deficient in B-12
And in the Chinese Medical Herbal Tradition, We use Si Wu Tang to build back the Blood.
It takes a few months, but it is straightforward and simple.
But in the Chinese Medicine Tradition, we want to define the contribution to Blood Deficiency, as being related to a possible failure of Blood Organs to function.
We, as Practitioners of Chinese Medicine, do a Further analysis to determine if the Blood deficiency is related to the Gut (Earth Organs ST.Spleen Pancreas, Food Allergies, leaky gut, SIBO, Loss of oral Tolerance, Diabetes, etc)
or the Liver (problems with joints, PMS problems, Tendonitis, etc. )
or with the Heart or the Blood Vessels (poor circulation, High Blood pressure, Plaque formations, blockages, DVT, Hemorrhage, TIA etc)
Easy Home Tests
Two easy home tests, to see if you have anemia, are:
- In the First Home Test, Examine the Pale Skin inside the lower Eyelid. It should be Pink, If it is white, the same color as the Sclera of the EyeBall, then that is a Physical Sign of Anemia.
- In the Second home test, Squeeze your fingernail of the index finger. The Nail Bed turns white. Spoiler: This will not work if you have fingernail polish on your nails. You have to be to see your nail beds.
Now time the refilling of your nail beds with blood by counting the seconds it takes for it to return to a nice pink color. It should only be 1-2 seconds to return to pink once you stop squeezing.
Blood Excess signs fall into 2 categories
Blood Stagnation and Blood Heat
Blood Stagnation is the stopping of the blood flow.
Blood Heat is the overly rapid movement of the blood due to too much heat in the Blood Level. This often leads to Bleeding signs.
Bleeding can lead to Stroke, or Purpura bruises under the skin without any injury.
Massive Blockage can lead to Heart attack, Thrombosis, or ischemia, the death of cells due to the lack of blood supply.
In Chinese Medicine, we are taught to read these signs on the roadmap accurately and PREVENT the body from going down this road. Prevention is the key goal of Chinese Medicine Practitioners.
The Esoteric Application of Blood from a poetic Taoist Viewpoint:
We say we put our blood sweat and tears into something.
The building of a house, of a business, the raising of children
And the reason we say that is because in the Chinese view, we need our substance, our blood to make something materialize. To become real.
So to go through a master’s degree program, we give our lifes substance, our blood to make it come true. We substantiate our dreams into reality and we need our blood to do that.
Your Summer Strategy Cheat-sheet
Fill your Heart with Joy:
- Write down 5 things each day that have brought you joy. Make this a Heart Nourishing ritual.
- Take yourself on a date this summer. What do you love to do? (And feel that you do not get to do it often enough). Write down what first pops into your head!
- Make one day every week of the summer a Summer Vacation day. I call this “Adventure Day” and have a list of things that I hear about, something new, that I have never done, or take myself on an excursion and go somewhere new that I had never been. In the Summer, I do this every Friday.
What does your Heart tell you to try?
Your Tongue tells a Story:
If there is a midline crack and it goes all the way to the tip of your tongue, the Stress you are under has impacted the heart, and you need to take action. Try the Foods listed below or the Herbs that Nourish the Heart
Stand before the mirror and lean in. Pull your lower eyelid down till you can see where the skin of inner eyelid meets the White (Sclera) of your eyeball. Observe the color of that inner skin. Is the color of that skin that same color as the White of your Eyeball? You have signs of anemia. Is it Pink? That is the color is should be.
And take one of your fingers. Let’s say the index finger of your left hand. Pinch the tip of that finger, pressing against the Nail for a few seconds. When you release the tip of your finger, you will see a white nail bed. Count the seconds it takes for that nail bed to fill up with Blood and become pink. The longer it takes to turn pink, the more anemic you are.
Foods for the Heart:
Lotus Seed- Easily boiled and added to Oatmeal, congee, or soups. A rice Porridge with Lotus Seed, Aduki Bean and Dried Apricot makes a delicious morning Hot Cereal.
Aduki (adzuki) Beans. Also commonly referred to as “red bean”. These are often found in Mochi desserts. They are available cooked and canned at Whole Foods or other Local Health Food Stores in your area. Asian Markets usually carry this item as well.
Wheat Germ is very typically a great food to Nourish the Heart, but with the increasing incidence of Gluten intolerance, a better choice may be a non-grain based food high in Vitamin E, like Sunflower Seeds.
Herbal Formulas that help Nourish the Heart:
To place an order, visit:
Three Pots of Tea
The collective wisdom and perspective of three women who study and practice acupuncture and herbal medicine for over 22 years each. We have consumed countless pots of tea as we compared notes, case studies, and furthered our education in our commitment to grow as practitioners and help our patients reclaim their health and vitality.
Kathleen Port, L.Ac. West Los Angeles
Kia Sinay, L.Ac. Manhattan Beach
Therese Walsh-Van Keuren, PhD, L.Ac, Los Gatos