Ever noticed how chest conditions like asthma can affect people with skin conditions such as eczema?
In Chinese Medicine, the relationship between the skin and lungs is an important one. According to teachings, when our lung health is affected, this is reflected in the state of our skin, resulting in symptoms of eczema and other skin conditions.
Western medicine also acknowledges such links. Research carried out by the Washington University School of Medicine found that in mice, a protein made in damaged, eczema affected skin called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) “triggered asthma symptoms”, giving hope that further research and treatment could halt the development of asthma in eczema sufferers.
The connection between the skin, lungs and immunity
Chinese Medince explains the lungs are very closely connected with the immune system.
When the immune system is low and attacked by pathogens, the spleen (the body’s immune HQ) produces phlegm, which is stored in the lungs and used to expectorate bacteria and viruses. Typically this is when we start to feel the effects of allergies, colds and flus, such as wheezing, coughing, hoarseness.
The lungs have an important job in supporting the skin with adequate hydration and moisture, and is responsible for opening and closing the pores. When lung health is affected and the protective “qi” is too weak to properly close the pores, sweating results. If on the other hand there is too much “qi” the pores may lock up producing symptoms of inhibited sweating.
Focus on the lungs on Autumn
As the evenings become shorter and the seasonal winds pick-up, the lungs and skin become a a key focus for Chinese Medicine during Autumn. That’s why Autumn is the time of year to work with the lungs to help heal skin conditions.
While dry skin and dry skin conditions like eczema can occur in any season, dryness is a particular theme in Autumn with chapped lips, itchy skin, a dry cough and constipation being among the more pronounced effects felt throughout the season.
Nourishing the body now with foods that support the immune system and restore healthy lung operations can help relieve problem skin conditions, restoring moisture to the skin and reducing dryness and itching.
Increasing immunity for lung and skin health
Foods that are high in Vitamin C, such as oranges, berries, kiwi fruit and lemons should be consumed throughout Autumn to help build the immune system.
Dealing with phlegm? Packed with antiviral components and used by the Chinese for more than 2500 years to fight colds and flu, ginger is particularly effective for eliminating white phlegm from the lungs.
Similarly, Chinese Medicine espouses the value of cinnamon in fighting illness, with the aromatic spice recognised as one of the main Chinese medicines to rid the body of pathogens.
To read more about the benefits of seasonal eating check out our blog post here about what to eat in Autumn – including delicious produce you might even find in your own backyard – for great skin and good health.