The spleen is an organ in the upper far left part of the abdomen, to the left of the stomach. The spleen varies in size and shape between people, but it’s commonly fist-shaped, purple, and about 4 inches long. Because the spleen is protected by the rib cage, you can’t easily feel it unless it’s abnormally enlarged.
The spleen plays multiple supporting roles in the body. It acts as a filter for blood as part of the immune system. Old red blood cells are recycled in the spleen, and platelets and white blood cells are stored there. The spleen also helps fight certain kinds of bacteria that cause pneumonia and meningitis.
In Chinese Medicine, the spleen and stomach are associated with Late Summer. They belong to the element of Earth. The stomach’s function is to rot and ripen food and break it down for transportation. The spleen’s functions: transform and transport foods and body fluids to make ready for absorption. The spleen raises our (Qi) energy up. The spleen controls the blood and keeps it in the vessels. The spleen also nourishes the muscles.
Signs and symptoms of poor spleen function include dizziness, pale complexion, low energy, prolapse of organs such as the rectum (hemmorhoids) and uterus. Spontaneous bleeding, muscle weakness and muscle atrophy can all be due to problems with the spleen.
Signs and symptoms of poor stomach function are numerous. Stomach heat manifests as too much heat in the stomach and is represented by bad breath, bleeding or swollen gums, burning sensation in the stomach, extreme thirst, frontal headaches and/or mouth ulcers.
The spleen transforms the ingested food and drink to extract the Qi. The function of transformation and transportation is crucial in the process of digestion and the formation of Qi and blood. If this function is impaired there may be a poor appetite, poor digestion, abdominal distention and loose stools. The spleen separates the usable part of fluids from the unusable. If this process is impaired there can be an accumulation of dampness, phlegm, and/or edema.
The Spleens ability to transform and transport can be adversely affected by the excessive consumption of cold drinks and raw foods. The action of chewing prepares food for the Spleen to transform and transport. If Spleen-Qi is abnormal, there may be an impairment of the sense of taste or the presence of an abnormal taste , lack of appetite and the lips may be pale and dry. If the Spleen has heat a person may complain of a sweet taste in the mouth and have dry lips.
The stomach transforms food and drink by the process of fermentation. This prepares the ground for the Spleen to separate and extract the refined essence from food. After transformation in the Stomach the food is passed down to the Small Intestine for further separation and absorption.
The Stomach together with the spleen is responsible for transporting food essences to the whole body, especially the limbs. If Stomach Qi is strong a person will feel strong and full of energy. Stomach Qi also ensures that the Qi of the organs reaches the pulse. A pulse with good stomach Qi is said to be neither weak or strong with yin and yang harmonized and it has a regular, slow beat.
The stomach is responsible for the coating on the tongue. A thin white coating on the tongue indicates the Stomach is functioning properly. The absence of coating indicates that the stomach’s function of digestion is impaired. A thick white coating reflects either cold or dampness and a thick yellow coating indicates heat.
Consider a healthy, nutritional diet, getting good quality sleep and moderate exercise this can keep our physical form at it’s best, always. Need help? Consider Traditional Chinese Medicine , herbal medicine or homeopathic medicine .