According to Chinese medicine in Orlando, the concept of dampness is deemed to be the cause of many health problems like cancer, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue syndrome, metabolic disorders, allergies, fibromyalgia, and environmental diseases. This article will just discuss the symptoms of water metabolism dysfunction. Dampness is divided into two general categories: internal dampness and external dampness. The most common of the two is internal dampness. This condition easily merges with cold or heat that results in cold-damp (or damp-cold) or heat-damp conditions. Dampness is believed to be due to a “high humidity” condition within the body. It produces symptoms like turbidity of fluids, loose bowels, nodular masses, phlegm discharge, stomach distention, water retention, swelling, and a sensation of heaviness. People with dampness in their bodies usually suffer from sluggish energy and tend to gain weight easily. TCM diagnosis will reveal a puffy tongue with a greasy coat and teeth marks and a slippery pulse.
External dampness is a state of health characterized by high humidity lingering in the body that usually develops in late summer. When external dampness infiltrates the body, it often first affects the lower extremities. Then, it affects areas around the legs, stays into the lower jiao and then travels all throughout the body. People suffering from external dampness usually report pain and soreness in the joint, a heavy sensation in the body and head, and dizziness. There can be turbid eruptions that develop in the body (such as stools containing blood and/or mucus, turbid urine, abundant purulent and foul smelling leukorrhea, weeping eczema, and blood suppurating sores) in both types of dampness. Dampness with summer heat can result in heaviness in the head, dizziness, nausea, heavy sensation in the chest, loose stools, poor appetite, fever, general lassitude, thirst and restlessness.
A buildup of heat and dampness in the body may lead to conditions such as urinary tract infections, weight gain, high blood sugar, food allergies and inflammation. Symptoms can include a deep-yellow colored urine, leukorrhea, pain in the stomach, and slow and smelly bowel movement. The hands are often red and puffy, with swollen red cuticles and a mottled appearance; the nails are usually red; the tongue has usually a greasy yellow coating and is red and the pulse is usually fast and slippery.
Dampness is a condition characterized by stagnation and viscosity. Patients often suffer from obstructed urination, a sticky tongue with a greasy fur, and perhaps stool that is viscous and difficult to evacuate. Illnesses caused by dampness are usually intractable and prolonged. Damp causes chi stagnation and is a yin imbalance that weakens the yang. Symptoms and signs include viscous stools and hard to void stools, scanty and difficult urination, stomach distention, and a fullness sensation in the chest. Morbific damp negatively affects the yang of the spleen causing fullness and distention in the lower and upper stomach, generalized edema, loose stools and poor appetite.
What is the difference between water, phlegm and damp?
All these three concepts relate to the effects of water metabolism disturbance in the human body, which, after coming into being, can result in further pathologic changes. They really have some differences but are often used interchangeably; still, they should be used differently. In TCM, dampness is both and a physiological concept. As a pathologic TCM concept, it relates to the water retained resulting from the disruptions in the spleen. It is often used in water retention condition emanating from issues in the spleen system. As a physiological TCM concept, dampness relates to the water sent to the abdomen that’s been digested and absorbed by the spleen, hence it’s also referred to as water damp. Dampness is abhorred by the spleen but liked by the abdomen. Generally, phlegm fluid retention relates to all jellied water metabolism in the body. This is usually a sign of retained water that’s not related directly to spleen function that has been changed. For instance, we may blame the origin of diarrhea to excess dampness’s downward movement from the middle jiao or spleen/abdomen, or the origin of edema to the external movement of dampness caused by disruptions in the spleen system. However, we often state that the cause of rubbery thickened lymph nodes (scrofula) is from the buildup of phlegm fluids in the body. This condition is often secondary to stagnation of liver chi (that disrupts water metabolism further), rather than secondary to spleen conditions. For its part, water is mainly used to describe fluid such as edema, ascites or pleural effusion that builds up in a cavity of the body, and which easily is treated via the restoration of normal function of the spleen.
Overthinking, pensiveness, and worrying usually harms the spleen’s distribution and transformation abilities and play a huge role in water metabolism disorder along with internal dampness. Other than the spleen, the body organs also assist in bringing about water metabolism activity. The upper jiao (lungs) manufacture arginine-vasopressin that affects the kidney nephron to change water balance in the body. Melancholy and grief restrains lung chi, which interferes in the manufacture of arginine-vasopressin. The adrenal glands’ (part of the kidneys) mineral corticoids also normalize water balance in the body through the kidney nephron. The lower jiao (liver) manufactures angiotensinogen which helps in water balance by means of the –aldosterone-renin-angiotensin system. The kidney manufactures renin, which helps in the normalization of water balance in the aforementioned system. Dysfunctions with the spleen system amongst the liver, kidneys, and lung’s organ systems can all result in some type of water metabolism disruption. The systems involved, the duration of the disturbance, and the level of anomaly determine the progression and symptoms of pathogenesis inside the body. Based on TCM theory, the san jiao energy channel is the meridian in which all fluid travels within the body. Therefore, any disruption in this meridian and channel will eventually negatively affect water metabolism in some way or another.
Chinese Nutritional Therapy
A poor diet can result in internal dampness. Chinese Nutritional Therapy is commonly used to offset internal dampness. Foods that adversely affect digestion can result in food stagnation and disrupt the function of the spleen. This and the disruption of water metabolism in the body can lead to the rise of internal dampness. When you eat too much, food stagnation can arise which causes the digestive system to stop functioning effectively. This leads to adverse conditions like diarrhea, vomiting, epigastric pain, abdominal pain, bloating, distention, acrid regurgitation, and foul belching. Overconsumption of raw or cold foods can easily inhibit spleen yang and lead to the rise interior cold-damp. Ensuing symptoms include stomach pain and diarrhea. Also, overconsumption of spicy, sweet, and greasy foods as well as too much alcohol drinking can result in blood and chi stagnation, phlegm, and heat-damp. Subsequently, symptoms appear and may include yang-type sores, bleeding hemorrhoids, vertigo, dizziness, abundant sputum, and fullness sensation in the chest.
Foods that’s suspected of causing dampness include: Wheat flour (white), vegetables (and soil mold), sweets and sugars, refined starch, peppers, dairy products (except yogurt), processed starch products, foods that contain yeast, raw sugary fruits, vinegar, fungi and mushrooms, cold beverages (slows down immune cells on the digestive tract walls) and fermented foods
Foods that are believed to generate heat-damp include: greasy foods, fatty foods, deep-fried foods and alcohol
Foods with fungus/yeast-inhibiting qualities believed to remove heat-damp and damp include: turnips, scallion, sage, rye, rosemary, raw honey, parsley, oregano, onion, nutmeg, lettuce, leek, Job’s tears, ginkgo nut, ginger, fennel, euryale seed, dill, corn, coriander, clove, cinnamon, chives, celery, cardamom, basil, anise, alfalfa and aduki beans
Concerning the condition of dampness, the affected organs in the metabolism of water require specific attention. The kidneys, spleen, and lungs all are closely involved in several ways with water metabolism. Dampness and when combined with heat, cold, and wind can lead to blockage in flow of blood and chi in some way, if not directly affecting the mechanisms of the kidneys, spleen and lungs. Addressing damp and its combinations entails the removal of the blockages as well as the clearing of the pathological elements and the restoration to normality of the zang-fu organs.