Strengthening the Spleen Qi

Purple Carrots
Purple Carrots

Greetings Dear Readers,

Now that we are entering Earth season, also called “late summer” in TCM, here are some seasonal tips to support your Earth energy and Spleen.

Lifestyle:The Spleen is about nourishment, mothering energy and feeling grounded and connected. It’s about the way food is eaten, ideally sitting down, chewing thoroughly, enjoying regular meals eaten mindfully in a peaceful setting.  The mental side of the Spleen is the Yi (say “yee”) which means intellect.  Students, people who study a lot, or anyone doing a lot of concentration and difficult mental tasks are using Spleen energy which can be supported by these tips here.

Exercise: The Spleen governs the muscle tissue of the body.  Massage is excellent for the Spleen system.  A balanced amount of exercise, neither too much nor too little is ideal.  Listening to your body is important.  Regularity is best, a little each day, even 10 or 20 minutes of walking, dancing, stretching, or weights is great. A stretch for the Spleen channel is a yoga pose called “Reclining Hero Pose”. A Qi Gong exercise for the Spleen can be found at:

Diet: The Spleen belongs to the Earth element in TCM.  Earthy things are round and have earthy colours such as brown, orange and yellow and as such Spleen foods include grains, squash, carrots, potatoes, and beets (esp. good for women).  The Spleen is associated with naturally sweet foods such as dates, grapes, maple syrup and molasses.  The Spleen needs Yang (warm, dry) energy to function at best so adding some warming foods such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and clove to foods will help with digestion and strengthen Spleen Qi.

Happy Earthiness!

Yours in health,


6 thoughts on “Strengthening the Spleen Qi”

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, while it is true that too much cold food is contra-indicated for a Spleen Qi deficiency because the
      Spleen requires Yang energy, it is important to know the difference between thermally cold food and raw. Many TCM books talk about avoiding cold/raw food when there is a Spleen Qi/Spleen Yang deficiency however it’s important to examine the facts in more detail because not all raw food is thermally cold in TCM, for example, walnuts are warming and good for Kidney Yang, dates and ginger are warming and good for Spleen Yang. Also, many fruit drinks, ice cream. dairy are cooling even though they are cooked (i.e. pasteurized) so it’s important to make a clear distinction between cold foods and raw foods. Please see my post TCM Does Support a Raw Food Lifestyle for a deeper investigation of this topic. The main thing is observe the body on these foods and notice, are the stools loose and/or undigested (Spleen Qi/Yang deficiency) or is it digested, formed and evacuated completely (healthy Spleen) as the true test of how the body is reacting to any particular diet, while keeping in mind that there are multiple causes of Spleen Qi deficiency such as over-work, excessive worry or studying (overuse of intellect), chronic illness, Liver Qi stagnation/Liver Fire (which improves with a raw diet) and excessive physical activity.

      There have been many changes in the way the raw vegan lifestyle is done in modern times that makes it a lot more Spleen friendly.
      One main thing is the use if dehydrators which warm the food up to 118 degrees making the food more warming while preserving the life-giving enzymes which are destroyed by more conventional cooking methods such as boiling. The use of blenders, juicers and cultured foods are techniques used by raw vegans to pre-digest foods making them easier on the digestive system.

      It’s also true that many vegans and raw vegans who have not been educated on how to do the diet properly have run into problems such as Spleen Qi deficiency or Blood deficiency. However, this can be avoided by eating the right foods (warmer foods) at the right time (colder months, or colder climates) and this is what I’m offering here in this blog, how do do the raw vegan diet in a healthier way using the principles of Eastern nutrition. I don’t say that raw veganism is for everyone but for those who want to try raw vegan all the while listening to the body, or those who have been doing this diet for a while and have run into problems and could use some help from Eastern nutrition, I’m here to support people.

      My approach to health is always to notice the signs that the body is giving and eat the foods that balance those patterns rather than using a one-size-fits-all style of nutrition.

      Have you tried raw veganism? What is your approach to diet?

      Take care,

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