Metal Element

Balance your METAL element:

When the Metal element is in balance you are able to take in what you need and eliminate what you don't. This can be both physically, meaning take in food and have daily bowel movements to eliminate and also emotionally: allow relationships and experiences to benefit us, but let go of the negative You are able to experience loss through the grieving process but then be able to come to acceptance.

When the Metal element is out balance people tend to have a need and desire for material possessions and often get stuck in the realm of thinking about “what could have been”. The grieving process can become exaggerated and excess or on the opposite end of the spectrum they may show no signs of grieving.  The metal element imbalance could also leave us having trouble with letting go of things we no longer need, with physical symptoms such as constipation or emotionally, not being able to move past emotional losses.



Organ: Lung & Large Intestine

Color: White

Odor: Rotten

Season: Fall

Taste: Pungent/spicy

Sound: crying

Emotion: sadness/grief

Physical: Skin

Direction: west

Climate: Dryness


We all have parts of each element within us so when one organ of an element starts to be affected eventually another element or all elements will show signs of not being in balance. The more out of balance an element is, typically the more symptoms one will have.  Western Medicines approach to treating disease is to either kill the pathogen or suppress the symptom.  These approaches tend to drive the illness/disease even deeper into the body.  Chinese Medicines approach is to support the body and its organs so that it can overcome the pathogen and increase the body’s own healing potential. Let’s get your elements in balance!

Here are some foods that Nourish the Metal Element:

Burdock root, daikon radish, watercress, carrots, apples, pears, Asian pears, prunes, peaches, strawberries, beets, egg whites, peas, mung beans, white fungus  garlic, fresh ginger, mushrooms, apricots, loquat, onions, walnuts, cherries, pumpkin seeds, almonds

Avoid or Minimize: Dairy products, alcohol, cold or iced drinks, wheat, gluten, bread, pork, refined sugars

General Chinese nutrition recommendations:

1)      Eat small frequent meals

2)      No Iced drinks while eating and only small sips of liquid during meals

3)      Chew thoroughly

4)      Relax, focus and be mindful.  If you are eating, then just eat; not eating and watching TV, reading, studying, surfing the web etc.

5)      Generally the best way to prepare foods is by steaming, stir frying, baking or soups

Breathe-Easy Fritillaria Pear

Try this great recipe when you have a dry cough, wheezing or a cough when the phlegm is hard to expectorate!

Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing, and Long Life (Da Capo Lifelong Books)


  • About 1 tablespoon (10 grams) fritillaria (chuan bei mu)
  • 1 large ripe pear, any variety
  • 2 teaspoons honey, or to taste


1) Place the fritillaria in a coffee mill, spice grinder, or food processor and whir into a powder (this may take some time).

2) Wash (but don't peel) the pear. Cut off the top third of the pear and reserve. Cut out the core of the bottom part of the pear, making a hole but leaving the bottom and outside intact.

3) Place the fritillaria powder in the hole, then add the honey. Replace the top of the pear.

4) Transfer the pear to a steamer and cook, covered, for about 40 minutes, or until soft. (If you don't have a steamer, steam the pear in a glass or ceramic bowl placed in a covered pot containing an inch of water.)

5) Serve warm as a dessert or snack.

Themes and Variations

1) The pears can be baked instead of steamed. Preheat the to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes or until soft.

2) Try this dish with an Asian pear - a delicious variation.