October 02, 2018
How Diet can Contribute to Mental-Emotional Problems in Chinese Medicine
My cousin had a gorgeous little girl recently and as is common in Chinese tradition, I wanted to help her by supporting her health. What is it that commonly happens to a woman’s energy and vital substances during labour?What does she need to ensure that her and the newborn are at their optimal level of health?
Much Blood is lost during and after childbirth, resulting in Blood and Qi (energy) deficiency, and therefore, a woman is susceptible to contraction of disease. At this time, Kidney energy and Essence is also low as a result of the pregnancy, and Yang is low due to the energy used to push the baby from the Uterus. The deficiency of Yang means that the woman is in a state of Cold and is also susceptible to being penetrated by cold and having it lodged. It does seem like nothing good for the mother comes out of the pregnancy and birth as it is believed that during a period of approximately 40 days after birth, the Golden Month, illness contracted will stay with a person for the rest of their lives but alternatively, this is also a time when existing illnesses can be eliminated. With the appropriate self-care, a woman can end up healthier than before having the baby.
Most of the issues that occur post-partum are a result of Blood loss. An example of this would be hair loss because there is not enough Blood to nourish the hair or insufficient lactation due to deficient Blood. Postpartum depression is also quite common and is also due to lack of Blood. The Spirit resides in the Heart and when there is not enough Blood in the Heart to nourish the Spirit, lethargy, insomnia, despair, anxiety, sadness, worthlessness, apathy or feeling separated from reality can develop. Therefore, it is vital to have foods that nourish the Blood, some of which include:
A very simple recipe that I used for a chicken soup to bring to my cousin was:
Both the herbal ingredients can be bought from a Chinese grocery store, with the dried logan fruit found in the refrigerated section of the store. The soup is best had several times in a day and will also help prevent joint pain that is common after childbirth as bone soups contain marrow and in addition to nourishing Blood, also nourishes Essence and the Kidneys.
For further information, check out “Traditional Chinese Medicine for Women” by Xiaolan Zhao and if you are having postpartum problems, please see your Chinese Medicine practitioner for some acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to bring you back to good health!