TCM: Understanding The Role Of The Lungs

The lungs occupies the uppermost position among the five organs, hence it is known as the “canopy”. Being delicate in character and attributing to its connection to the external environment, the lungs is most susceptible to attack by external pathogens. The primary functions of the lungs include governing respiration and regulating water passages.

Functions of the lungs

The lungs dominate the overall ‘qi’ of the body by maintaining an unobstructed circulation of ‘qi’ around the body. It is also the location where the exchange of ‘qi’ and regulation takes place.They take in oxygen from the external environment and expel carbon dioxide from our body to facilitate the respiration process. Lungs ‘qi’ plays an important role in ensuring optimal lungs function, all thanks to its unique dispersing and descending functions. The dispersing function of lungs ‘qi’ ensures that carbon dioxide is forced upwards and outwards, through the lungs and windpipes and exhaled from the nose or mouth. Likewise, the descending function allows fresh air to be inhaled through the nose or mouth. These complementary actions of the lung ‘qi’ coordinate the smooth exchange of gaseous substances.

The function of lungs ‘qi’ is manifested in the following areas. ‘Qi’ is the flow of energy throughout our body and is essential for life, just like gasoline is required for a car to function and move. The basic movements of this ‘qi’ is in four forms, namely ascending, descending, inwards and outwards. The descending and ascending actions of lungs ‘qi’ allows regular movement of overall ‘qi’ in the body. Zong ‘qi’ (pectoral ‘qi’) is a type of ‘qi’ in the body responsible for keeping organs and structures warm and maintaining normal physiological functions. It is formed from the combination of inhaled fresh air from the environment and nutrients from food.

Invasion of external pathogens can disrupt the normal movement of lungs ‘qi’, cause abnormal secretions in the respiratory tract and induce coughing. However, prolonged and untreated cough can have more implications. In TCM, prolonged cough can weaken lungs ‘qi’ and cause shortness of breath on exertion, spontaneous sweating, and a weak immune system in the long term.

The lungs regulates water passages by circulating body fluids and controlling the metabolism of water in the body. This also involves the excretion of unwanted fluids from the body via perspiration, exhalation and urination. A dysfunction in lungs function may result in water retention, painful or absent urination.

Lungs – Your Immune Support

The harmony of the lungs determines if wei ‘qi’ (defensive ‘qi’) is sufficiently strong to protect the body surface from pathogenic invasion. The lungs circulates the defensive ‘qi’ on the surface of the body and within the muscles and skin to protect and regulate body temperature. Should the lungs ‘qi’ be deficient, the immunity system is said to be weak and the person will be prone to falling sick. If exterior diseases are not resolved quickly, they enter the body and become more challenging to treat. Many young children face many respiratory issues such as common flu, chronic cough and allergic rhinitis because their lungs function has yet to mature and therefore, a weak immune system.

Eu Yan Sang’s Pure CordycepsTM is a supplement that helps to strengthen vitality and general health. It can be consumed by children as young as 3 years old to reduce the occurrences of respiratory conditions. Adults with fatigue or general weakness can also benefit greatly from this supplement. Research has shown that Cordyceps can improve respiratory function, increase oxygen absorption and enhance the immune system by increasing the growth of immune system cells and promoting the antibody production in the body.

Achieve brighter skin with healthier lungs

The lungs are also correlated with our skin and body hair. The skin and body hair attain their nourishment through the lungs’ disseminating actions, in order to maintain their lustre. The lungs’ health can be reflected in the appearance of the skin. For example, dry skin may imply that lungs ‘qi’ and yin are inadequate to nourish the skin surface; The appearance of acne may be attributed to heatiness in the lungs.

Therefore, it makes sense to select foods that can nourish the lungs for a brighter looking skin. For example, white fungus can nourish lungs yin and it is also high in collagen content to provide benefits for the skin. Almonds are another superfood for the lungs as they can moisten the lungs and relieve asthma, additionally the Vitamin E content in almonds can help nourish your skin and protect it from the sun's damaging UV rays.

The health of the lungs is directly related to the frequency of respiratory tract infection occurrence, as well as the severity of the condition. Hence it is absolutely important to focus on strengthening the lungs for an immune boost. There are many ways in which the lungs can be nourished to amplify lungs energy, such as regular exercise like swimming and diet. Regular exercise can improve the circulation and volume of ‘qi’ within the body as well as develop the physical capacity of the lungs. TCM also believes that white and light-colored foods resonate with the lungs, therefore common foods such as white radish, mushrooms, white fungus, lotus seeds are especially beneficial to the health of the lungs.

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