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Dampness, what it means, and how to get rid of it.

Updated: Dec 3, 2020


If you’ve gone to see a Chinese medicine practitioner or grew up in an Asian household you might be familiar with the concept of damp in the body. My parents would scold me after consuming my 3rd kinder Bueno that I would become "heaty" or "yit hay".

So what does that actually mean? Here is my description of damp. As I’m a visual person, I have always associated dampness with Jabba the hutt. Known as "the mountainous pustule" or "the bloated one." Jabba is the perfect representation of damp.


What the heck is damp?

Damp is sticky, heavy, it slows things down, lingering and is difficult to expel. It can lodge in specific places in the body or can be generalised. Damp can be paired with thermal properties and can be known as damp heat or damp cold.



What causes damp?

Damp can be from extrinsic factors such as living/working in a damp and humid environment (eg. the planet of Nal hutta, where Jabba was born, known for it’s the hot and boggy environment. People living in the UK face common problems with damp, mould, and rot in houses due to the humid environment.


Damp can also be from intrinsic factors like poor diet, overconsumption (Jabba was synonymous with gluttony), overworking, improper eating habits,over-exhaustion, over worrying.


The spleen is a key digestive organ in Chinese medicine. It is in charge of transforming the foods we eat into nutrient building blocks. These nutrients are then transported to the rest of the body. When this function is injured by intrinsic and extrinsic factors, it will become dysfunctional and create damp. Damp is then transported to the rest of the body by the lungs.



Symptoms of Dampness

Manifestations of dampness in the body include


Painful joints Brain fog

Excessive vaginal discharge high cholesterol

Phlegm or sinus infections M.E. or chronic fatigue

Mucous in stools Thick tongue coating

Greasy skin Bloating

Swelling Heaviness and feeling sluggish

Problems with implantation Fertility issues

Common damp diseases include chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, high cholesterol, M.E and eczema.


Foods that cause damp

  • Dairy

  • Excessive bananas

  • Excessive alcohol

  • Greasy and deep-fried foods

  • Excessive cold and raw foods (salads, smoothies)

  • Refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods


Foods that get rid of dampness

  • Onion

  • cinnamon

  • cloves

  • spring onions

  • basil

  • rosemary

  • dill

  • oregano

  • sage

  • parsley

  • cardamom

  • nutmeg

  • fennel

  • coriander

  • chive

  • leeks

  • job’s tears

  • rye

  • celery

  • alfalfa sprouts


Dampness is a lingering pathogen that is often found in complex cases. So whilst this is a list of foods that can help clear dampness, in some cases extra help is needed to effectively clear it. In my treatments, I use both acupuncture and herbal medicine to really give dampness the boot. Need help with slaying your dampness? I'd love to help, contact me to find out more.

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