Different medical perspectives look at the human body differently.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the human body in different body constituent types that changes over time. Interestingly, many people may have a mixture of body constituents, not just a single one.
If that is the case for you, just refer to the type that contain most of your dominant traits.
For women, there are mainly five types of body constituents that can ring alarm bells for our menstrual health - Kidney Yang Deficiency, Kidney Yin Deficiency, Liver Qi Deficiency, Blood Stasis Constituent and Damp Phlegm Constituent.
The basis concept is that health is compromised when balance is disrupted within the body.
We will talk about each constituent in detail - the symptoms, possible menstrual conditions, lifestyle habits, as well as how we can use nutrition and home remedy to regain balance.
Kidney Yang Deficiency 肾阳虚型
Feeling coldness in extremities, dislike cold weathers, feeling discomfort after eating cold and raw foods like cucumbers.
Likely aggravated by regular consumption of cold foods and drinks.
The person with Kidney Yang Deficiency is likely to experience delayed menses or even cessation of their period.
They are also likely to experience poor blood flow that is pale red, with lower abdomen feeling cold and achy.
Eat more warming foods like beef, chilli and onion. Avoid cold and raw foods like melons and icy drinks.
Engage in mild exercises like jogging and avoid staying in air conditioned rooms for prolonged periods of time.
Black beans, sesame and walnut drink is a great way to warm your body if you are experiencing Kidney Yang Deficiency.
Soak the black beans overnight. Steam the black beans until soft. Then blend the beans with a tablespoon of black sesame seeds, as well as a few walnuts.
You may wish to add milk or water for a smoother consistency.
Kidney Yin Deficiency 肾阴虚型
Prone to experience hot flushes, and vulnerable to sore throat and fever. Dislike hot weather, and easily irritated.
Likely aggravated by keeping late nights, or have lifestyles that are reversed day and night. The person may experience metabolic illnesses such as diabetes or thyroid problems.
The person with Kidney Yin Deficiency is likely to experience irregular menses, that is low in volume and the blood flow can be slow and sticky. The color of the blood is often dark red, almost purple.
Eat more cooling foods like melons, barley drink and duck, while avoiding warming foods like garlic and mutton.
Engage in mild to moderate intensity exercise like swimming.
For those who have Kidney Yin Deficiency, one drink that can be consumed to help regulate the menstrual cycle is the Black Fungus, red dates and goji berry drink.
Wash and soak all ingredients. Add water and blend for a smoother consistency.
Liver Qi Deficiency 肝气郁结型
Easily breathless and tires easily. Tends to perspire easily and can catch cold frequently.
Likely to be easily anxious, and may experience high levels of stress for prolonged periods of time.
Irregular menstrual cycle, and very likely to experience premenstrual symptoms like migraine and emotional roller coaster.
Eat more Qi nourishing foods like chicken and lotus seeds. Avoid Qi depleting foods like garlic and onions.
Establish good and adequate sleep patterns, and brisk walking is a great exercise to do regularly. Be careful not to stay in windy areas after strenuous exercise to avoid depletion of qi.
Drink this simple chrysanthemum and peppermint tea regularly to boost your liver qi.
Blood Stasis Constituent 血瘀型
Dry and coarse skin, easily bruised. Complexion usually looks dull and the person may have dark circles under the eyes which cannot be improved with any amount of eye cream.
A person with blood stasis constituent is more likely to experience uterus problems such as endometriosis, adenomyosis as well as ovarian cysts.
Experience dark purple menstrual blood, as well as blood clots. Also likely to have abdominal and leg pain before onset of menses.
Consume foods that promote blood circulation like ginger, goji berries and green tea. Avoid oily and greasy foods like milk and fatty meat.
Exercises that improve blood circulation like Taichi and yoga are great options to start with.
Another simple tea you can make at home to improve your blood circulation is the Chinese Motherwort Tea.
Drink when warm.
Damp Phlegm Constituent 痰湿型
Easily fatigued and tend to experience profuse perspiration. Body shape wise, likely to be fat/rounded.
Tends to experience recurrent vaginal infection, increased likelihood of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Tend to experience oedema (swelling) of limbs before and during menstruation.
Women with damp phlegm constituent also tend to have increased vaginal discharge and experience itchiness down there.
For people with damp phlegm constituent, it is best to maintain a bland diet, avoid foods that are sweet and greasy.
Try to exercise in warm and dry environment, and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
The popular four miracle soup （四神汤） is a good start for people with damp phlegm constituent. Add chinese barley to the soup to boost health.
Ingredients for Four Miracle and Chinese Barley Soup:
- Euryale Seed/Fox nut/qian shi 芡實 8g
- Chinese Yam/ Shan yao 山药 8g
- Poria / Fu Ling 茯苓 8 g
- Lotus seeds/ Lian zi 蓮子 8 g
- Chinese barley 薏仁 120g
- Chicken/Pork or beef 500g
Add herbs to 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add meat and simmer the soup for another 50 minutes. Add salt for taste.
As always, the information presented are for educational purposes and are not meant for diagnosis.
Please consult the relevant medical professionals for a more comprehensive consultation and diagnosis.