The spleen is paired with the stomach and assists in the 'transformation and transportation' of food and drink. The action of chewing prepares the food for the transforming and transporting work of the stomach and spleen. If food is not properly transformed by either organ, this can lead to a build-up of excessive dampness (water retention and mucus), and congestion. This saps our vitality and further weakens digestion, giving rise to symptoms such as fullness and bloating, lack of appetite, hiccups, loose stools and flatulence, and contributes towards a sluggish lymphatic system.
The climate for the Earth Element is humidity and dampness, both of which can weaken the functions of the stomach and spleen. If your symptoms are aggravated by either type of climate, this is a diagnostic clue to where your imbalances lie.
The Earth phase is associated with Late summer - or Indian Summer, as it is often known. It is a time of balance, transformation and neutrality. Describing it in nature's cycles, the Earth phase is when the flowers from Summer have transformed themselves into fruits. It is a time of ripening, just like the key function of one of the Earth organs, the stomach, 'ripening and rotting'. It encompasses everything about the Earth and exemplifies being steady, grounded and secure, with the fruits of the harvest in abundance.
Yellow is the colour associated with the Earth Element and is reflected in the golden hues that are so prevalent in Late summer. When there is a spleen imbalance, a TCM practitioner with a trained eye will be able to detect a yellow tinge in skin tone. A passion for the colour or, conversely, a strong dislike of yellow, can point to an imbalance in this element.
Time of day:
7-9 a.m. (stomach) and 9-11 a.m. (spleen) - good times for the stomach to begin digesting food and for the spleen to finish this 'transformation'.
The spleen controls the condition of our flesh and muscles; a firm, toned body is a good indication of strong spleen energy. On the other hand, poor circulation, obesity, flabby flesh, lack of muscle tone, feelings of fatigue or heaviness in the legs, weak muscles and atrophy of the flesh also connect to the Earth Element. Then the texture of the flesh is not smooth; it has the appearance of a watery version of cellulite. Poor circulation is more common in women; one reason this is thought to be so is that menstruation is dependent on strong spleen energy and a monthly loss of blood puts a strain on this organ as it has to generate more blood to replace this.
Speaking with a melodic tone points to the spleen and stomach, as a singing sound relates to these organs.
The mouth is the orifice or opening governed by the Earth Element and has a direct relationship with the spleen. The mouth secretes saliva, which is the fluid secretion of the Earth Element; a deficiency of this will prevent food from being digested properly.
The lips are thought to reflect the strength of the stomach and spleen. When they are moist and rosy, these organs are healthy and strong; when they are pale and dry, these organs need some attention.
Some symptoms of Imbalance:
Obsessions, over-protective, co-dependent sympathy, insecurity, worry, poor memory, excessive dampness of the body (water retention, excessive mucus), weight gain, congested lymphatic system, weak muscles, tiredness, prolapse and loose stools, digestive disorders, fatigue, nourishment issues, ungrounded and scattered emotionally.