- over-consumption of hot and spicy foods
- over-consumption of broiled and baked foods
- blood and yin deficiency
- living in a hot and dry environment
In Traditional Chinese Medicine “Heat in the Large Intestine” is caused by over-consumption of “hot” foods. Hot foods are all spicy foods, all meats (with the exception of pork), and most nuts. “Hot” drinks are coffee, wine and spirits. Cigarettes have also heating nature.
“Dryness in Large Intestine” is caused by the over-consumption of “dry” foods. Such foods are broiled and baked foods. Another cause for “dryness in the Large Intestine” is blood and/or yin deficiency. In order to understand that we need to make a quick review of the concept of Yin and Yang in Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Since Yang in nature represents activity, light, warmth it logically represents function/warming faculty in the human body. Since Yin in nature represents rest, quiet, slowness in the human body it translates to structure, substance, matter. In other words Yin represents blood, body fluids and matter, while Yang is the force that gives them live.
There is good health when Yin and Yang are in balance. When there is deficiency of Yang, Yin instantly becomes excessive and vice versa – when there is deficiency of Yin, Yang becomes excessive. Yang deficiency manifests in coldness, lethargy, overflow as there is "deficiency of warmth and energy" which struggles to contain the matter. And vice versa - when there is Yin deficiency the warming principle of the body (Yang) becomes excessive which in time will lead to accumulation of heat. Since blood and body fluids belong to Yin, Yin deficiency will also manifest in dryness.
Living for a prolonged period of time in hot and/or dry environment can also lead to “heat and dryness in the Large Intestine”.
If you want to learn more about the Large Intestine and its functions from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine you can read the material "The Large Intestine in Traditional Chinese medicine" in the Physiology chapter.
- dry stools
- scanty dark yellow urine
- dry mouth and throat
In the case of “heat in Large Intestine” there is constipation with dry stools as the heat has dried out the fluids needed to nourish the intestine. The urine is scanty and dark yellow (heat sign). There might be a burning sensation and swelling in the anus. (1)
In the case of dryness in Large Intestine there will be constipation with dry stools difficult to discharge, and dry mouth and throat.
To clear "heat and dryness in the Large Intestine" the foods and drinks mentioned in the Cause section need to be avoided. Foods with cool and moistening nature should be selected.
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(1) Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Nanjing: Harcourt Publishers Limited
(2) Pitchford, Paul (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books
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