The organs of the human body feed primarily on light and all the forms of qi that are available in nature. Early doctors of oriental medicine understood that our great cosmic meal varied from season to season with the ever changing angle of the sun’s rays.
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it is now deep winter. These short courses of sunlight each day and the constant cold temperatures have a powerful effect on our basal metabolic life fire – the kidneys. This root fire of life powers all the systems of the body, and ensures proper hormonal output. It directly controls the urogenital system, bone development and the brain. When this kidney root fire gets too low we lose our interest in life and our health begins to suffer. In the winter, the kidneys therefore, require a bit of extra attention; we need to intentionally compensate for what the sun is not giving our bodies.
For those of you in the southern hemisphere, enjoy your summer. I know your kidneys are happy.
For those of us living in deep winter right now, here are some simple and effective means to maintain kidney fire and strengthen immunity.
Warm those Kidneys
This kidney fire also supports our digestive fire and together these two fires support immunity and keep our protective shield of qi circulating. Heat lamps, heating pads and hot water bottles allow you to periodically nurture that fire. We can add warmth directly over the back, where the kidneys are located, and from the front: the area between the navel and the pubic bone. Time and time again, I have seen this dual application of heat to the kidneys, miraculously restore the body.
Feel free to hibernate
Winter is traditionally a time to consolidate and build energy or qi in preparation for the expansive and creative energy later in the year. So it is a good time to retreat and sleep a little more. You can probably feel that tendency to hibernate, as the qi or energy is rooted deep in the earth right now. But stay active enough to ensure that the spine and joints remain exercised and flexible. The grizzly bear will have fierce energy in the spring but right now he is sleeping.
Reduce raw foods and eat more cooked
This will help thicken the blood, giving the body a bit more protection from the cold. We can transfer fire into the body by first putting it into the foods that we eat. In winter time, oriental doctors in China use soups as a primary delivery system for medicine. Immune supporting herbs would be added right into the mix for good effect. Walnuts, ginger, cinnamon, onions, black beans, garlic, are all good kidney warming foods.
Get as much sunlight on your face and body as is available
Facing the sun for 10 minutes, with your eyes open or closed is an excellent way to absorb the energy of the sun. Take your dose of Vitamin D3 at the same time in order magnify the body’s production of Vitamin D. This will boost and protect immunity.
Use those wonderful winter herbs that nourish and protect the kidney fire
These plants gather the yang of the sun and earth during the summer so that we can use them during the winter. Morinda, Eucommia, Epimedium, Dipsacus, Ginseng, Astragalus, Psolorea when blended properly are just some of the outstanding herbs for nourishing and Protecting the Kidneys and adrenal fire. The Traditional Botanical Medicine Adrenal Protector formula contains a combination of these herbs and is designed specifically to support the kidneys during these winter months.
About the author:
Angelo Druda practices oriental medicine in Cobb, California. He is the founder of Traditional Botanical Medicine and the Author of The Tao of Rejuvenation.