With all the Goddess talk going around, modern culture still views menstruation as an annoyance to be medicated and ignored. Daily I hear women describe their time of the month as a curse, and say they wish they could simply get rid of it. However, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), like many traditional cultures, views menses as a time of ritual and opportunity; and central to honoring women.
To understand this we need to take a step back and discuss the concept of Jing (Essence). Jing is a challenging concept to translate into English. It is our reserves of energy, contains our genetic material, and is deeply linked to our sex hormones and reproduction. We inherit our Jing from our parents. In fact, we are conceived of the meeting of the Jing of both our parents. Having strong Jing means we will stay young longer and recover from life’s challenges. If our Jing is depleted we will age, become infertile, and not be as resilient to stressors or disease. Since it is difficult to acquire more Jing we must focus on preserving what we have.
Men and women lose Jing differently. Men lose Jing through ejaculation and thus rejuvenation for men hinges on limiting ejaculation. Women lose Jing when they lose eggs (during menses and birth). Women’s rejuvenation depends on proper rest and self-care during menstruation, pregnancy, and postpartum. This means that being educated on our menstruation is vital to reclaiming our power.
Menstrual Renewal is a system of practices and nutritional guidelines based on TCM that all women should follow. By practicing Menstrual Renewal we balance our monthly cycle, strengthen our hormones, increase fertility (if desired), boost immunity, increase work and athletic performance, and generally feel more vital. Additionally, Menstrual Renewal allows us to view being woman as a sacred gift. It is not possible to disparage your period and honor the Divine Feminine.
Basic Tenants of Menstrual Renewal:
- Protein-rich, warming diet.
- Taking appropriate herbs.
- Keeping warm.
- Honoring your womanliness.
For more on Menstrual Renewal please see:
Andrews, Lia. “The ‘Three Golden Opportunities’: Key Times Women Can Improve or Damage their Health.” (The Journal of Chinese Medicine, October 2013, Number 103).
Andrews, Lia. “7 Times a Woman; Ancient Wisdom on Health & Beauty for Every Stage of Your Life.” (Alcyone Press: San Diego, 2013).