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Partners in Practice

January 13, 2016

Addressing Spleen Dampness


By: Brandon LaGreca, CAc, MAcOM

A new patient walks through your door, bloated and overweight. You know what awaits you when you ask to see the patient’s tongue. And there, amidst the dusky gray coat and scalloped sides, your diagnosis is confirmed; you have yet another case of Spleen qi Deficiency with Dampness.

It can be a daunting task to treat these patients. Processed foods, overconsumption, and eating while stressed (causing the Liver to overact upon the Spleen), all contribute to this imbalance. Now imagine that you had a defined solution to address this stubborn condition from all angles, with diet, acupuncture, herbal therapy, and whole food nutrition all lending support toward draining Damp and supplementing the Spleen energetic. Whole food nutrition gives traditional Chinese medicine practitioners an additional tool to restore balance to the patient.*

“Dysbiosis” is a biomedical term describing an association between dietary choices and gut flora composition linked to gastrointestinal challenge.1 To the practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, this is consistent with the symptoms and signs of gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements, slippery pulse, and swollen tongue with a thick coat. Treatment to supplement the Spleen and drain Damp is indicated, as well as removing Damp foods such as dairy, sugar, alcohol, and fried foods from the diet.

Acupuncture and herbal therapy work wonderfully in the compliant patient; however, those who take herbs and neglect diet will respond slowly and in some cases not at all. Patients consuming a diet of processed, devitalized foods are often not eating any raw fermented foods, which provide a rich source of beneficial bacteria. Some patients will have heard of the microbiome and sought out a probiotic supplement. Whatever the case, very few will avail themselves of all the strategies necessary to balance gut flora.

Like three legs of a stool, maximizing Spleen qi requires that we:

  1. Eat fermented foods or take a probiotic daily
  2. Consume a significant amount of fiber
  3. Consider using herbs to help balance gut flora*

Herbal therapy assists the body’s ability to naturally weed out unwanted strains, while fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding the native beneficial bacteria to help naturally repopulate the gut.

Prebiotic Inulin encourages a healthy intestinal environment to benefit probiotic flora. Inulin is a nondigestible soluble fiber found naturally in many plants; in this product, inulin is derived from chicory root. Inulin is a complex carbohydrate that can be digested by certain microorganisms, providing them with energy. Robust gut flora is an aspect of healthy Spleen qi; we can therefore categorize prebiotic fibers as a Spleen qi tonic.*

ProSynbiotic is a synergistic blend of four research-supported probiotic strains to support gut flora and overall intestinal health. This formula contains two different strains of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium lactis and the beneficial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. boulardii. These varying strains inhabit different environments within the gastrointestinal tract and work together as a comprehensive solution for balancing this diverse ecosystem. Modern practitioners of Chinese medicine will see a clear correlation between the function of the mircobiome and the Spleen qi/wei qi dynamic.*

MediHerb’s Gut Flora Complex works synergistically with Prebiotic Inulin and ProSynbiotic to cleanse and promote health in the lower gastrointestinal tract. This makes up the last leg of the stool to enhance digestive Fire and drain Dampness.

By encouraging a healthy intestinal environment with high quality supplements, Spleen Dampness responds quicker to your customized acupuncture and herbal protocol.

Always keep in mind that education is another tool to empower your patients and get the most out of traditional Chinese medicine therapy with whole food nutritional supplements as an adjunct to a healthy diet.*

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3448089

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.