We’re entering the middle ground where the yang energy of Summer meets the yin energy of Fall. Late Summer and the Earth element constitution is the prime time to pause, reflect, and look inward from your internal organs to the outside of your body. Your body in the Earth element begins with digestion which governs our appetite and desire for (or lack of) for food. The organs that govern the Earth element first require that we have an appetite, so we can know what is nourishing to our bodies, which then our bodies will know what to do with this nourishment.
Each step in this process depends on the Earth element’s health overall. Even more so, the elements health is based on the well-being and functionality of the organs that are represented and supported within the Earth element. The organs that are associated with the Earth element make up the digestive system and are:
In traditional Chinese medicine, the stomach is referred to as the ‘Official in Charge of Rotting and Ripening.’ It’s a muscular sac that is responsible for receiving food from the esophagus and secreting the appropriate amount of hydrochloric acid and enzymes needed to break the food down and churn it up to be sent along to the small intestine.
When the stomach is healthy, the perfect (rather acidic) environment is ready and waiting to receive food and this environment allows for a healthy appetite that is aligned with our individual constitution, lifestyle, and activity level.
On an energetic level, the stomach is responsible for knowing what is nourishing to us (i.e: having a social potluck when you’re actually exhausted and in need of rest.) When well cared for, the stomach can help us root our physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment – especially when we learn to take our time and listen to our body’s cues when we need something.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the spleen is called ‘Official in Charge of Transformation and Transportation’ and is viewed differently than in Western medicine. The job of the spleen is to know what to do with the food we’ve consumed in order to use the nourishment.
The spleen has an important role in transforming the food nutrients received from the stomach into chi and blood, then transporting the chi and nutrients via the blood exactly where it needs to go. From a holistic lens, the spleen is responsible for helping us process everything that comes into our body, mind, and spirit – know what to do with it and where it will be most beneficial and finally send it there.
In the Western medicine lens, its primary job is its role with the blood and the manufacturing of white blood cells by filtering out red blood cells in order to add in new platelets and white blood cells. Making this a key player in supporting the immune system.
This glandular organ sits behind the stomach and its main function is to secrete enzymes in the junction where the stomach and the small intestine cross paths to further assist in breaking down food. The pancreas is also responsible for the regulation of blood sugar – or insulin – which has the sole purpose of removing sugar we eat from our blood and sending it to our muscles and other tissues to be used as energy.
When the pancreas isn’t producing enough enzymes, the whole body suffers the consequences as nutrients from food will not be extracted. Long story short, healthy spleen = healthy pancreas.
The organs of the Earth element are remarkable indicators of our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Each has important roles and responsibilities in determining what to bring in and what to do with it, and when we experience desire (or no desire) to bring in nourishment in all its forms – we always look at the Earth element.
Do you know what your Five-Element Constitution is made up of? If not, take one of my Five-Element Quizzes to learn more about yourself through the lens of the five-elements and how you can support yourself through the seasons and throughout the year.