The Yin functions of the lungs are calming, moisturizing and cooling. The lungs keep the skin flexible and toned the voice stable, the mouth and throat moist, and the total energy of the body steady.
The flow of breathing is what keeps you “cool” when life stresses. “Take a few deep breaths” is a common suggestion to help people calm down and is what Yoga teachers tell you to do during practice. Concentrating on the breath flow results in calming down the mind and is used extensively in meditation.
Lung Yin deficiency is a chronic condition, it cannot happen overnight.
Causes for Lung Yin deficiency are:
Genes: if your parents smoked a good deal either before or after you were born. If your parents or grandparents had a major disease weakening their lungs, such as tuberculosis, you may tend towards Lung Yin deficiency. If you are thin-chested, you’ll have a similar tendency.
Chronic Lung infection or inflammation of the Lung, if you had a major feverish disease when young which strained your lungs, such as whooping cough or pneumonia.
Long-standing grief or sadness, perhaps caused by being separated from someone you depended on, through distance or death, can weaken Lung Yin if the underlying tendency is already there.
Talking or singing too much and too loudly strains the lungs resources; actors, teachers, singers etc.
Smoking any social drug, including tobacco, dries the lungs, Do it for too long and you’ll become Lung Yin deficient.
Working or living in a very dry environment for too long.
Poor diet, or eating too late at night or irregular eating habits. This weakens the Spleen and Stomach Qi which then can’t support Lung Qi and Lung Yin.
Sitting wrongly for too long, stoop-shouldered, leaning forward in such a way that you compress the lung, working bent over a desk for years.
Not enough exercise that makes you breathe deeply.
Another cause for Lung Yin deficiency is Kidney Yin deficiency.
What happens when your Lung Yin becomes deficient
The calming, cooling and moisturizing functions weaken:
Dryness of your mouth, throat and skin
Dry cough (sometimes with a little sticky phlegm)
Voice fragile or hoarse
Sleep often wakeful or light between typically 3 AM and 5 AM.
Low energy or your energy soon dissipates when talking for long – which you probably dislike. For example, arguments with someone with a loud voice are insufferable.
Yin Deficiency producing empty heat results in Low grade fever or heat sensation in the evening time, malar flush, night sweats and five palm heat.
First steps to resolve Lung Yin deficiency:
As always, first step to treat any disorder is to remove the cause. Stop smoking (probably heard that one before), avoid social drugs that are inhaled, avoid hunched over and bent postures, or any other cause harmful to your lungs.
Improve your posture; make sure you sit so that your bum is slightly higher than your knees, which will make it much easier for you to maintain good posture
Cycle with upright handlebars
Save time for rest and take more breaks away from work
Practice breathing deeper as done in Yoga classes
Develop and maintain aerobic fitness and the ability to breathe fast during exercise
Be thrifty with your lung power when speaking or singing (and learn to keep calm: anger and shouting usually causes Heat, drying your Lungs).
Drink more fluids that moisten the lungs, such as almond milk
What should you eat to nourish your Lung yin:
Treatment includes foods that tonify the Lung Yin as well as the Kidney Yin, root of the Yin in the body.
Preferable cooking methods will be cooking in water and pressure cooking. The food should be soft and oily and with sauce. It is useful to consume more fatty foods.
Cooked grains: oats, spelt, wheat (bulgur, semolina)
Legumes: soybean products, tofu, tempeh, and soy milk
Cooked vegetables: onion, sweet potato, squash, butternut squash, zucchini, fennel bulb, spinach, swiss chard, purslane, corchorus, okra.
Fresh vegetables: tomato and cucumber.
Oils: cold pressed sesame seed oil, olive oil, castor oil
Seeds and nuts: black sesame, white tahini sauce, almond butter, soaked and peeled almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, grounded chia and flaxseed.
Dairy and animal products: cow milk, butter and eggs.
Cooked fruits: raisins, fresh or dry plums, dates, pineapple, pear, and goji berry.
Herbs and spices: fennel seed, licorice and rose flower.
Beverages: drink more fluids that moisten the lungs such as almond milk, KuzuUmeboshi, fruit compote, lemon and citrus juice.