The spleen is the body's primary organ of digestion. It transforms nutrients into "qi" - or life force - and distributes qi to the small and large intestines. The spleen governs the flow of blood throughout the body, discerns the five tastes, and is responsible for our capacity to perceive creative ideas and have understanding for others.

All forms of indigestion are an indication of an imbalance in your spleen.

1 When there is an excess of energy that the spleen cannot distribute in an orderly fashion, the results are gas, belching, heartburn, rumbling stomach, and acid indigestion.

2 When the spleen passes on excessive or chaotic energy to the large intestine, the result is diarrhea.

3 When the spleen is chronically weak or deficient, it is not able to absorb or distribute the qi from many foods (especially spicy foods, sugar, and alcohol) to the large intestine, the result is constipation.

How To Strengthen Your Spleen

1 Chew food thoroughly - this mixes food with saliva, alkalizes it and makes it more harmonious to the spleen. Chew 35-40 times per bite.

2 Grains like millet, barley, and rice

3 Squash - butternut, pumpkin, spaghetti squash

4 Leafy greens, especially collard greens

5 Healing vegetables - asparagus, cucumbers, green beans, peas, green peppers

6 Root vegetables - parsnips, sweet potatoes, yams, and rutabagas

7 Mushrooms

8 Miso soup with seaweed

9 Umeboshi plums or plum paste - umeboshi is a pickled plum that alkalizes the stomach and calms spleen

10 Special drink to strengthen spleen - chop one squash, two carrots, two parsnips, and one onion into small pieces. Boil until entire mash becomes liquid. Add water to ensure the veggies are dissolved. (Hint: use this for sugar cravings as well).

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