The Root of Emotional Imbalance, According to Your Organs.

The mind and the body are inseparable and a vessel to the Soul…who we truly are.
Ancient Eastern civilisations have long understood the way our
mental and spiritual bodies inform our physical nature. Western
science too has begun to understand the interdependence between
the emotional and physical body: we know the ‘gut’ acts as our
second brain and stress is toxic.

In fact, every organ corresponds to the energy of a certain
emotion, and every disease stems from an imbalance in an organ
or its meridians (energy channels). This is a fundamental idea in
Chinese Medicine. Many times a physical disorder linked to a
certain organ actually stems from an imbalance in the emotion
associated with that organ. The reverse could be true: an
imbalanced organ can heighten the specific emotion experienced
by an individual. It can become a vicious cycle.

All emotions are inevitable, physiologically normal and will not
cause disease when they arise in daily life. Chinese medicine only
considers emotions as pathological when they are repressed,
contained, or expressed intensely, often, without control, or out of

Specific herbs and foods with each organ’s correlating energies can
be used to appropriately strengthen, tonify, and detoxify the organ
to help even the scariest emotions to pass through easily! Likewise,
the more we decide to participate in our emotional lives through
awareness exercises like journaling and meditation, the more we
can help treat the energetic organ systems.

Grief is the emotion of the lungs and the large intestine, organs
associated with the metal element. Loss of any kind will often
trigger a cold, a feeling of being energetically drained, and difficult
bowel function. Grief can stay with us for a while, and can go
unresolved until we decide to release it. When grief is unresolved
and becomes chronic, depression and an inability to ‘let go’ of
things can arise from this lung Qi Deficiency. This could eventually
interfere with lung function and oxygen circulation. Since our lungs
control the flow of energy in our bodies, it’s important that we give
ourselves space to deal with painful events rather than stifling them!

To Balance: pungent flavoured and/or white coloured foods and
herbs. Onion, radish, mustard greens, daikon radish, scallions (white
part), almonds, white
mushrooms, gingko nut, white mustard seed, angelica root tangerine
Reduce: eggs, dairy, meat, oils, processed or fatty foods that cause
congestion, fish, salt.

Fear is the emotion of the kidneys and the bladder, organs
associated with the water element. It is a normal adaptive emotion,
but can become chronic when we ignore it. Kidney issues often arise
when we are dealing with fear, such as a change in life direction or
unstable living conditions. When we experience extreme fright, our
kidneys struggle to hold qi and we can quite literally pee our pants.
Involuntary urination like this is often seen in ‘stage fright’.

To Balance: sodium rich seaweeds and celery and/or black coloured foods and herbs.
Black beans, walnuts, black sesame, mushrooms, water chestnuts,
seaweed, blackberries, black tea, psoralia root, lotus seed, stephania
Reduce: cheese, salt, eggs, meat, sugars.

Worry is the emotion of the spleen and the stomach, organs
associated with the earth element. Too much pensiveness, worrying
and insecurity can weaken our ability to digest. When we are
anxious, we find it hard to digest and accept a situation or life event.
Lack of trust and ease towards the experiences and the foods we
take in to our lives will make it impossible for us to digest them.
This can make us feel tired, lethargic, and unable to concentrate: a
bit of a paradox, too much mental stimulation can actually cause
mental heaviness. A week spleen can also be the cause of stubborn
weight problems!

To Balance: sweet flavoured and/or yellow, orange, brown coloured
foods and herbs. Root veggies! Carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin,
parsnip, squash, chestnuts, fig, taro, liquorice root, ginger root,
dates, astragalus root
Reduce: meats, frozen foods, iced drinks, excess
refined sugars.

Anger is the emotion of the liver and the gallbladder, organs
associated with the wood element. Emotions like rage, fury or
aggravation can indicate that this energy is in excess, and when we
experience these emotions consistently, our liver can get further
damaged. At this point, headaches and dizziness can be common. An
imbalanced gallbladder can be caused by longstanding feelings of
repressed anger, such as resentment, frustration, and irritability.
Avoiding outbursts of anger will protect liver and gallbladder health.

To Balance: sour flavoured and/or green coloured foods and herbs.
Dandelion greens, beetroot, green bell pepper, peas, sprouts, bok
choy, string beans, cabbage, zucchini, mung beans, avocado, citrus,
barbat skullcap, fo shou, milk thistle, goji.
Reduce: dairy, meat, fish, buckwheat, alcohol, fried foods and oils,

Joy is the emotion of the heart and the small intestine, organs
associated with the fire element. When we experience true joy and
happiness, we are nourishing our heart and small intestine energy:
we feel mentally clear and able to process experiences. When we are
lacking joy in our lives, the heart suffers and we can feel stuck,
mentally chaotic, and have difficulty sleeping. Mania or obsessive
joy can indicate excess scattered heart energy, and can be the cause
of severe mental emotional disorders. Over stimulated heart energy
could also cause agitation, insomnia and palpitations. Even the good
emotions can be out of balance!

To Balance: bitter flavoured and/or red coloured foods and herbs.
beet, tomato, okra, cherry, watermelon, broccoli rabe, bitter melon,
lettuce, arugula, dandelion, berries, green
tea, lotus root, sour jujube seed, arbor-vitae seed, mimosa tree bark,
ginseng, hawthorn berries
Reduce: excess spicy foods, chocolate, sugar, salt, vinegar, garlic, alcohol, meat, dairy, eggs, fish.

Anxiety can have one of 4 origins according to TCM:
If related to the lungs and large intestine (metal), QI blockage can
provoke shallow and irregular breathing or even holding off the breath.
The large intestine can be detrimentally affected by anxiety, making
one more prone to issues like ulcerative colitis and IBS.
Kidney and bladder (water) issues could also be at the root of this
emotion. Our adrenals regulate our stress response and when adrenal
problems become chronic, they can cause anxiety. TCM recognises
the adrenal glands as the same as the kidneys. Anxiety can also be
caused by disharmony between the kidneys and a blazing heart fire,
in this case rapid heart palpitations are experienced.
Anxiety can stem from liver (wood) imbalance too, when
longstanding anger and irritation goes unresolved. In this case
anxiety manifests as nervous tension, irritability, and insomnia.
Anxiety from excess worry and pensiveness stems from spleen and
stomach (earth) imbalance. This can cause stomach swelling and
bloating after eating.

General anxiety aids: cooling raw foods to build yin, celery,
valerian, chamomile, plums, tangerine, liquorice, ginseng
Reduce: caffeine, stimulants, alcohol, cinnamon, cacao, meat, fish, eggs, chilies, vinegar, salt.

*Chinese herbs are usually more effective in formulas than alone.
Always check with a trained TCM physician before taking anything
new. Foods should not be restricted to these suggestions, they aresimply a guide!