The Benefits of Yin in the Body
Yin is the coolant of the body and what prevents us from overheating. Yin pertains to substance and form; therefor the nourishment of the body with nutrients through the Blood is a Yin attribute. When balanced with Yang energy, Yin energy allows us to maintain calm strength, stamina and adaptability, rather than a hyperactive, reactive, stressed energy. Yin is the material basis for Yang, and therefore allows us to build stamina.
Signs of aging largely occur due to the depletion of Yin substance in the body: hair and skin become dry and lackluster; joints become brittle and stiff; lower back and knees become weak. While aging and death are inevitable parts of life, maintaining a good quality of health as you age depends directly upon preserving and re-enforcing Yin substance in the body. Imagine that abundant and healthy Yin in the body looks like a healthy baby; a baby shows that it is abundant in Blood and has soft skin and vibrant hair. Imagine an elderly person with dry pallor skin representing Yin Deficiency. As we age it is important to stay moist and juicy with abundant Yin and Blood to maintain our vitality. Becoming dry and brittle would be the opposite of youth and vibrancy.
When there is yin deficiency in the Kidneys the Kidney Essence (which is part of the Kidney’s yin) also becomes deficient. Kidney Essence “produces” the matter that formulates the bone marrow and the brain. Thus deficient Kidney Essence may affect the quality of the brain function as there is not enough Essence to nourish the brain.
When the Yin is deficient for a prolonged period of time, the Yang (the warming principle) becomes relatively excessive (referred to as empty heat), which results in generation of internal heat. Thus beside internal “dryness” heat signs manifest. Because Yin nourishes Yang, a continuous condition of Kidney Yin depletion will cause the yang to also diminish, resulting in less Yin and Yang energies in general.
What Causes Yin Deficiency?
Causes for kidney Yin deficiency are excessive sexual activity (mostly in men) as it leads to chronic loss of body fluids. The menses, pregnancies, giving birth and lactation consume Yin in women. Another cause is prolonged febrile diseases as they manifest with heat, which dries out body fluids. Continual overwork and a fast driven stressful life style are another cause for Kidney Yin deficiency, as working too much for too long uses up body substance.
Lifestyle patterns that consume Yin include chronic dehydration, consumption of sodas or alcohol, consumption of overly salty foods, smoking, and pharmaceuticals, over exposure to the sun, radiation, dry climate conditions, and pollution also deplete Kidney Yin. Stress and other emotional strains can lead to Yin depletion; chronic stress leading to adrenal fatigue and cortisol depletion is a prime example of stress leading to Kidney Yin Deficiency.
The Yin of the body originates with Kidney Yin; this is why Yin Deficiency developing in any organ system in the body will implicate Kidney Yin Deficiency.
Kidney Yin Deficiency Signs
Afternoon or evening spontaneous sweating
Dry mouth or throat
Feeling of fever in afternoon or evening
Tinnitus- constant ringing in ears
Achy lower back
Weakness of knees or lower back
The treatment principle of Kidney yin deficiency is to moisten and oil dryness, and clear accumulated internal heat. Substance producing foods are essential.
Substance producing foods are all fatty foods and mostly animal products such as sardine, crab, clam, eggs, pork, milk butter, cream and cheese. Certainly these foods should be eaten in small amounts to avoid congesting the liver into a heat or stagnant condition that eventually drains the Yin of the kidneys.
Foods that particularly nourish Kidney yin are foods with black color. Such foods are black beans, black soybeans, blackberry, mulberry, huckleberry, blueberry, and water chestnut.
Oils and seeds: butter, clarified butter, coconut oil, avocado,black sesame, macadamia, cashew, pistachios.
Black sesame seeds are most appropriate for those with dry stools or constipation because sesame seeds moisten the intestines. Gomashio is a wonderful macrobiotic condiment made of sesame seeds for nourishing both Yin and Yang.
Grains: Rice, oats and wheat (wheat germ, bulgur, cuscus, and semolina)are Yin tonics, supplementing the body’s tissues.
Vegetables: sweet potato, squash, zucchini, fennel, kudzu root.
Fruits such as: banana, mango, litchi, peach, black berries.
Seaweed: Kombu, Arameh, Wakame, and micro- algae such as spirulina and chlorella.
Recommended herbs include Marshmallow root, prepared Rehmannia root (ShuDi Huang), Asparagus root ( TianMen Dong/Shatavari).
Drinking a sufficient amount of fluids such as vegetable/fruit juices, herbal teas, soups and bone marrow broth will highly benefit the deficiency and moisten body dryness.
Avoid: too much warming food such as coffee, alcohol, tobacco, lamb, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and other hot spices. Also avoid overeating and late night eating.
Signs of Kidney-Heart Yin Deficiency
Waking frequently through the night
Anxious, especially at night
Heightened libido possibly with nocturnal emissions
Signs of Kidney-Liver Yin Deficiency
Dry eyes, vision impairment
Tinnitus-comes and goes
Sign of Kidney-Stomach Yin Deficiency
A strong hunger but difficulty digesting foods