Traditional Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive system focusing on bio-individual treatment, but we specialize in tonic herbs that are generally safe and supportive across personal diagnoses and needs. We believe everyone can become empowered to know themselves well, receive clues from their symptoms, and effectively integrate herbal medicine into their daily lives. In the spirit of “the more we know” ourselves, the better equipped we are to care for ourselves, the TCM body constitution system can provide potent guidance about each of our unique needs as well as herbal support that specifically addresses these needs. As you read about each of these constitutions, note which one or two resonate the most at this moment in time to gather insight about herbal recommendations.
This body type experiences a sensitivity to both cold weather and cooling foods, is prone to dampness (characterized generally by things like phlegm, constant fatigue, and bloating), and is vulnerable to catching colds. They can also be uncomfortable in windy and humid environments. Other symptoms include weak muscles, cold hands and feet, diarrhea, and low libido.
Herbal Support: Eucommia is a primary herb employed to restore Yang energy and bring vitality to the body’s physical and creative energy centers. It strengthens the skeletal structure (and can help relieve aches that may prevent adequate exercise), especially easing pain in the low back, knees, and ankles. This herb is also indicated to enhance sex drive and relieve impotence.
Herbal Support: Deer Antler Velvet is a substance that is produced from the antlers of male deer during the growth phase. It is believed to have various health benefits, including improved athletic performance, increased strength, endurance and speed, making it a popular supplement among athletes. Deer Antler Velvet may also increased energy levels and improve overall wellness.
Characterized by irritation to hot and dry weather, insatiable thirst, vulnerability to sore throat and fever, constipation, and hot flushes or frequently flushed cheeks. This type tends toward a thin physique, and an outgoing but impatient temperament.
Herbal Support: Tremella is a potent ally for revitalizing Yin energy, is deeply hydrating and moisturizing through its ability to replenish the fluids of the body, which also helps ease constipation. This special mushroom can help prevent burnout that manifests with extreme Yin deficiency.
This constitution indicates vital health from the internal to the external, characterized by balanced Yin and Yang energy. The neutral body type has strong energy, a radiant complexion, regular bowel movements, restorative sleep, and the capacity for flexibility/adaptability when it comes to weather and environment alike.
Herbal Support: Schizandra is a perfectly balanced Yin and Yang tonic herb, and is very rare in that it contains all five tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour. As a result, this berry has a very wide scope in terms of its bodily correspondences and benefits, supporting a continual process of maintaining harmony amongst all of the body’s systems.
Blood Deficiency is often the result of excessive bleeding (i.e. in childbirth, repeatedly heavy menstrual flow, or traumatic injury); or more commonly, the consequence of lackluster digestion (i.e. Spleen Qi deficiency) - the main source of new Blood in the body. Blood deficiency can also arise from dietary choices; TCM tends to incorporate meat, broths and other Blood nourishing foods in their daily diet.
Herbal Support: He Shou Wu is a major blood tonic, it increases energy and helps the body eliminate toxins. Research has shown that it helps strengthen the membranes of red blood cells and promote their growth and development. He Shou Wu’s traditional attribute of increasing essence and blood means it also increases female fertility. He Shou Wu tonifies the Kidney and Liver functions, strengthens the Jin, nourishing the blood, and fortifying the muscles, tendons and bones.
Characterized by compromised immunity and susceptibility to catching colds or flu, as well as prolonged recovery time from illness. People with this constitution also often present with shortness of breath, fatigue, and spontaneous sweating. These individuals are very sensitive to environmental changes and can be introverted or timid.
Herbal Support: Astragalus is a very potent immuno-supportive tonic herb commonly prescribed to those who are experiencing Qi deficiency. It tonifies the “Wei Qi” or protective barrier that is responsible for warding off external pathogens. It also regulates the body’s sweating mechanism and boosts energy. By helping to regulate the body’s response to stress, it can also improve nervous tension.
Referring to poor circulation and most obviously affecting the skin, signs of this constitution include dull complexion, skin spots, dark circles under the eyes, varicose veins, a propensity for bruising easily, and scaly skin. It can also lead to pain concentrated in the skin, the development of abnormal growths, and frequent occurrences of bleeding. This constitution feels uncomfortable in cold, windy weather, and can be impatient and forgetful.
Herbal Support: Rose is a wonderful ally for those experiencing blood stasis, including as related to painful or irregular menstruation. This beloved herb relieves tension, and cleanses and harmonizes the blood, disperses stasis, and expels excess cold. It’s no coincidence that Rose is one of the most famous herbs for beauty and skincare.
This is one of the most common types, presenting as overweight with susceptibility to metabolic disorders and diabetes. Those experiencing this constitution deal with lethargy, struggle to adapt to rainy or damp environments, and have a heaviness in the limbs. They also are prone to congestion, excess phlegm, and digestive issues.
Herbal Support: Eleuthero (aka Siberian Ginseng) is an herb that supports metabolism, helps to combat fatigue, and supports healthy cholesterol levels. Its acrid, slightly bitter and warming taste points to its propensity for supporting digestion, transforming dampness, and enhancing circulation. Tangerine peel and lemon are also wonderful additions to a tonic utilizing Eleuthero to further support those with this constitution.
Expressing most obviously on the psychological level, this constitution is marked by emotional instability, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and difficulty dealing with stressful situations. There can also be chest palpitations and tightness in the throat. Those with this constitution may feel physically weak and fragile.
Herbal Support: Our Shen blend was formulated specifically to support nourishing sleep cycles, calm the mind, lift the spirit, and promote a sense of inner peace, as well as an enhanced capacity to weather stress with grace. This formula also contains several herbs with hepatoprotective properties, which support the liver – tending to a root cause of imbalances for this constitution.
Marked by a predisposed sensitivity to external stimuli such as drugs, foods, smells, pollens or other seasonal allergens. This can present as drug allergies, hay fever, eczema, or asthma. Seasonal shifts can be very challenging for those with this constitution, and they often deal with nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, itchiness, and skin discoloration. This type also struggles with nervous tension and anxiety.
Herbal Support: Those with this constitution should avoid foods and herbs with pungent tastes, and can usually do well with sweet tastes. Reishi is often a safe option for this type as it is an adaptogen that gently but powerfully enhances resilience. It’s also a potent immune modulator and nervine tonic that nourishes the Shen (“spirit-mind.”)
Since these constitutions are not fixed and can fluctuate regularly, check back in on a seasonal basis to assess your current personal status!