Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine offers very appealing natural solutions for healthy living.  This eastern tradition has made its way into the western world and people are experiencing benefits from using their methods.

As an addendum to my previous post on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I have written what I hope is an expansion of the topic.  In this post I am giving a little more detail concerning each element, and more importantly, I have pointed out where you can go to gain more information about products which contain the formulas they use.

Chinese philosophy focuses on energy, which they call Chi. Western philosophy would call it spirit. Chinese philosophy therefore, believes that the physical and mental state of a person is inter-related with their “Chi”.  Therefore, when there is a disruption in the energy, it manifests itself as an imbalance both in the body, and in the mental state of mind and behavior of the person.

To rectify any situation, Chinese medicine centers on building up the body.  Some herbal companies have developed formulas which reduce excess from the body (eliminating toxins and congestion), while at the same time strengthening areas of deficiencies.  One such company is Natures Sunshine Products, whose products not only address the physical nature, but also the emotional.

Let me give you an example of how this works.  To start, you need to know that TCM divides health matters into five elements:  Wood, Fire, Water, Metal and Earth.  We will look at the Wood element.  The wood element gives people the drive that allows them to succeed in business or other endeavors.  If this Wood energy is excessive, the person will be irritable, aggressive, angry and frequently frustrated.  As a result, many health problems will develop.  On the other hand, if a person is deficient in Wood energy they will lose their will to succeed.  They will feel tired, disappointed, depressed and discouraged, thus causing other health problems.

Each element in the Chinese philosophy feeds another element.  For instance, the water element nurtures the wood element.  Wood burns to create fire.  Fire leaves ash (earth) behind.  Metal is mined from the earth. Water condenses on metal.  So, each element affects another element either in an enhancing way or a destructive way (e.g. water puts out fire).*

As I mentioned before, Natures Sunshine Products, the first company to capsulize herbs, and doing business for over 45 years, has a whole line of formulas which are specifically geared to Traditional Chinese Medicine.  I can share them with you.  Let us look at the elements individually.

Wood Element

The Wood Element concentrates on the Liver and Gall Bladder.  Characteristically, people who have a strong energy in the Wood element possess a clear vision of where they’re going and generally achieve their goals.  They are very good at planning and making decisions, and express their opinions strongly.  If the Wood element is imbalanced, these same people can become indecisive and lack direction.

As a result of this imbalance, problems may occur in the liver.  A few of the symptoms which people have experienced are migraine headaches, eye problems, sinus problems, dry, brittle nails and PMS in women. It is suggested that hot and spicy foods should be avoided.  Sour and bitter flavors are said to be helpful.

As promised, here are some of the unique blend of herbs recommended by Nature’s Sunshine.  For cleansing, there is LIV-J, Liver Balance and All Cell Detox.  For building up:  Chinese Blood Build, and Mood Elevator.

Chinese formulas for the Wood Element

Fire Element

The Fire Element concentrates on the Heart and the Small Intestines.  People with strong Fire energy love socializing and talking, and are very charismatic.  If the fire is weak, these same people become dull and monotonous.  They may experience anxiety and restlessness, and may even stutter.  Illnesses can range from heart palpitations and hypertension to mouth sores.  Dark, leafy green vegetables are best suited for them, and bitter flavors.

Nature’s Sunshine lists several products, among them are Chinese Stress Relief and Nutri-Calm.


Chinese formulas for the Fire Element

Earth Element

The Earth Element concentrates on the Stomach and Spleen.  People who fall into this element and have strong energy in it are said to be nurturing and compassionate.  They are peacemakers and reliable friends.  If there is an imbalance in their energy, they become worriers.  This often results in digestive problems, and some people tend to make excessive mucus.  They should stay away from dairy products and cold raw foods.  Grains are recommended.

Existing health conditions in these people are gas & bloating, food allergies, heartburn and excessive mucus in the sinuses.  Some of the products available are Anti-Gas with Lobelia, Chinese Anti-Gas and Papaya Mint Tablets to decrease those effects.  Then for building, there is Spleen Chi Activator and Trigger Immune.


Chinese formulas for the Earth Element

Metal Element

The Metal Element focuses on the Lungs and Large Intestines.  A person with a well-balanced Metal energy is well organized, self-disciplined and conscientious.  On the other hand, if there is imbalance, the people become very sad and critical. A weak Metal energy brings about illnesses associated with the lungs:  asthma, allergies and frequent colds.  The large intestines can be affected by chronic constipation or diarrhea.

To assist in restoring balance, Nature’s Sunshine recommends Chinese Lung Support, Trigger Immune to increase strength, and Breathe EZ, ALJ (I took this) and Sinus Support to decrease illness.

Chinese formulas for the Metal Element

Water Element

The focus of the Water Element is the kidneys and the bladder.  A strong water chi contributes to a determined, fearless person who endures many adversities.  When the kidney chi is weak, people experience problems with urination and possible fertility.  They could become fearful and anxious.  As one gets older, kidney energy declines and sometimes people experience a ringing in the ears or decreased hearing.

Suggestions for decreased kidney problems include Kidney Activator, Cranberry Buchu and Kidney Drainage Formula.  To build up there is KB-C.

Chinese formulas for the Water Element

In each category there are other formulas which are not listed here, but for more information you can read this article.

What is my Traditional Chinese Medicine Element

I’m sure we all experience “ups and downs” in our own emotions sometimes, so the Chinese philosophy seems true to life.  One way to find out which element you fall into is to take an online quiz which will point out your strengths and weaknesses, and you will find out how to rectify the situation.

Sometimes you will find that physical problems occur in more than one element, so you should not try to judge yourself just because of a symptom.  Take the quiz and answer it correctly.

I sincerely hope this post has been an education for you, and that you take steps to ensure that you will enjoy a healthy life.

The products mentioned above, and more, can be purchased by clicking this link.  Just do a search for the particular product which you need.

To Your Health,



Comments 6

  • It very interesting because traditional Chinese medicine has few thousand years of history so their science is very well thought out and complete. The five elements is interesting because they also apply to the food that we eat. For example, garlic is pungent in flavor and normally should be considered healthy because of their high allicin content. However, for those who have liver blood or yin deficiency, eating that is like eating poison because it’s metal in nature will over control the weak wood in the system. Wood is related to eyes but people won’t develop extreme vision problems right away but blurry vision symptoms will definitely worsen. Your herbs seem pretty good. I probably need the one that tonifies my liver. Do you mind sharing the herbal contents?

    • I like your comments Win.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge.  There are several products which deal with the liver. Maybe you might like to try LIV-J which is an all-rounder. The ingredients can be found here.  Another good product is the blood builder, ingredients found here. But you can also do a search for liver.

  • Judy, this is incredibly interesting and informative. I have a firm belief in the mind/body connection and this long living tradition just more deeply confirms my beliefs. I’m excited to try the online quiz and see if it coincides with what I have previously thought about my own element. Thank you for this article and the information on the products to help.

  • For me traditional Chinese Mediziner sound really healthy and not something to worry about. Anything you can buy usual in pharmacy sounds so unnatural and poison, let’s see which is my element

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