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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
22 Jul 2023

NextImg:4 Tips for Staying Hydrated and a Decoction for Kidney Stone Prevention and Constipation Relief

One of the greatest gifts of our planet is water. Water is the source of life and a vital element of good health for all of earth’s inhabitants and its environments.

Drinking water has many obvious benefits. However, drinking too much water can cause water intoxication and include symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, and other complications. During the heat of summer, what type of water and how much of it should we drink?

The simplest answer from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective is to drink when you feel thirsty. Another metric is the color of the urine. If it is clear and not yellow, it indicates one is drinking too much and if it appears very dark and brownish, it means drinking too little.

According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, it is generally suggested that about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women is optimum.

It is important to observe the following guidelines for drinking water.

Warm water is closer to body temperature and will not cause additional burdens on the body. Drinking either too cold or too hot water can easily aggravate the gastrointestinal tract.

When drinking water, keep it in your mouth for a while, and then swallow slowly. This will keep the water temperature closer to that of the mouth—not too cold or too hot. In doing so, it will also relieve dry mouth and bad breath and keep you from drinking too fast or too much.

Purified water, such as reverse osmosis, distilled, and deionized are all treated, thus lacking in minerals required by the human body. If you drink purified water long-term, it will affect the balance of minerals in your body.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report “Nutrients in drinking water” in 2005, which listed six likely health hazards of drinking demineralized water, including damage to the intestinal mucosa. Purified water will take away the minerals in the food, which will easily lead to the lack of essential elements such as calcium, magnesium, and copper.

The TCM classic, “Treatise on Febrile Diseases” pointed out that “after sweating, drinking a lot of water will cause panting, and irrigated with cold water will cause the same.” This means that after sweating heavily from exercise, sudden drinking of ice-cold water or taking a cold shower can cause difficulty in breathing.

“Supplementing water” in TCM often refers to “water tonifying the kidneys,” and not just the act of drinking water. According to the theory of the five elements, the kidneys correspond to water in the five elements of gold, wood, water, fire, and earth.

Although some people drink plenty of water, their bodies still lack its benefits. This may be due to insufficient energy in the spleen and kidneys, resulting in impaired digestion and excretion. According to the viscera theory of TCM, the spleen and kidneys are responsible for water metabolism. Therefore, to replenish water in the body, we must first replenish the spleen and kidneys.

How do we replenish the water in organs, tissues, and cells? There is one prescription in TCM called “Zeng Ye Tang (Humor-Increasing Decoction),” which is used to replenish the water in the final section of the intestines and help the stool to pass through smoothly.

Clinical studies have confirmed that in addition to treating constipation, Zeng Ye Tang can also improve symptoms of dry mouth and dysphagia in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.

The humor-increasing decoction for replenishing water is made with Scrophularia ningpoensis, Ophiopogon japonicus, and Fine Rehmannia rhizome. (Cartography by The Epoch Times)



In addition, other medicinal herbs can invigorate the kidney water, such as yam, rehmannia glutinosa, trichosanthin, and Schisandra.

Drinking water has many benefits—from aiding elimination and detoxifying to refreshing and enhancing memory. We must develop the habit of drinking enough water every day, and it is best to drink plain boiled water.

People who don’t like boiled water but drink other beverages should not completely replace water with those. Long-term consumption of beverages such as various juices, soft drinks, and alcoholic drinks is not good for your body. It is recommended to drink one glass of plain boiled water after each other beverage.

If you feel that boiled water is simply too plain, you can always add a little lemon juice or a sliced lemon to it, which can add flavor and also provide vitamin C.

Water aids bowel movements and also aids in detoxification. If you drink too little water, it can cause constipation and your body will not be able to metabolize normally.

Some doctors recommend drinking a glass of warm water after getting up in the morning to serve as a laxative and moisten the intestines. This is great for people who often suffer from constipation. It is recommended to drink about 6.8 fl. ounces (200cc). You can also eat a bowl of porridge, which is also good.

One of my patients shared that he usually had rough skin and was prone to rashes. He took my advice to drink a glass of warm water every morning when he got up, and carried a bottle of water with him, drinking it throughout the day when he was thirsty. Very soon after, his skin became smooth, soft, and radiant.

Lack of water in the body can affect concentration, memory, speed of reaction, and cause people to feel depressed. A study published in “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise” in 2018 found that losing water in the region of 2 percent of body weight can impair cognitive abilities, especially attention, execution ability, and mobility coordination.

This is especially the case in the afternoon when people tend to get tired and listless. Drinking a glass of boiled water can refresh your mind and make you feel sharper and more agile.

Moderate drinking of water is indeed beneficial for overall health and plays a crucial role in maintaining proper bodily functions.

Drinking an adequate amount of water can also have a diuretic effect, meaning it promotes urine production and helps eliminate excess fluid from the body. Additionally, water acts as a solvent, which means it can dissolve various substances in the body and aid in their excretion. This includes waste products, toxins, and certain substances that may accumulate in the body.

A review of studies published in the journal Nutrients in 2019 showed that increasing fluid intake can reduce the risk of kidney stones, and can also reduce the risk of their recurrence.

Water is known as the king of all medicines. TCM ancients believed that different water sources have different medicinal properties and efficacy.

They divided water into heaven-water and groundwater. Heaven-water refers to that which falls directly from the sky, such as rain, dew, frost, and snow. Groundwater refers to water that flows or accumulates on the ground, such as rivers, seas, wells, and springs. The ancients believed that there were 13 kinds of heavenly water and 30 kinds of groundwater—each with its own taste and characteristics that would produce different effects after entering the human body.

The Ming Dynasty TCM classic “Compendium of Materia Medica” records these two ancient prescriptions for treating diseases with water—they may not be practical today but demonstrate the history and variety of uses of water:

“Compendium of Materia Medica” recorded that if a couple was infertile, and it rained on the first day of spring, known as Li Chun, they could obtain two cups of that rainwater—one for each of the couple to drink. An immediate bedroom romp following the drink could result in a quick pregnancy!

Li Chun (start of spring season) is one of the twenty-four solar terms and marks the beginning of spring. The next one will be in 2024, at 16:25 on Feb. 4 of the Gregorian calendar. If you want to try your luck with this method, have your cups ready that day and catch the water from heaven if it rains!

Water that flowed from faraway places was called “thousand-mile water” by the ancients. First, they said to scoop up a large basin of this water, and from that scoop up the water with a spoon, and hold it high to let the water drip into a bucket below. The resulting water droplets that sprayed upward, were called “Ganlan” water. Five or six thousand “beads” were considered sufficient to treat insomnia. Boiling Ganlan water and drinking a small cup every day was said to improve insomnia.

Note: The Chinese medicinal herbs mentioned in this article are generally available in Chinese supermarkets and Chinese medicine stores. Please consult a professional physician for specific treatment plans and prescriptions.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times. Epoch Health welcomes professional discussion and friendly debate. To submit an opinion piece, please follow these guidelines and submit through our form here.

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