Over a third of the US population receives alternative medicine, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which consists of five elements. This article focuses on the Earth element.
Since they are natural, TCM therapies typically have fewer side effects. Research supports TCM, its five elements, and the various traditional Chinese medicine treatment modalities.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic approach to medical intervention. It emphasizes the human body’s integrity and the interaction between humans and their natural and social environments.  TCM’s five elements include fire, wood, earth, metal, and water. As TCM elements, they separate the human body into five systems. Each system has unique features that practitioners translate into Zhengs (problems with an associated element), and the interchange and movement between the five elements explain the body’s physiology. 
The Earth Element
In the Earth element of TCM, the Yin organ is the pancreas, and the Yang organ is the stomach, while the sense organ is the mouth, and the fluid is saliva. Additionally, the spleen has a key role in the Earth element. 
According to Greenwood, diseases that indicate a disturbance of Spleen Qi and require earth medicine demonstrate symptoms like IBS, digestive weakness, and fatigue. When the Earth element is unbalanced, patients experience damp issues, like heaviness, humidity, and phlegm. 
In TCM, damp often results from weakness of the Spleen Qi. It feels heavy and swollen, and it can physically manifest as muscle pain and aches. Patients also experience brain fog. Spiritually, damp is perceived as unexpressed or unrecognized soul tendencies. 
In TCM, sometimes the root of phlegm is external, but internal types of phlegm are typically involved in complex disorders. Internal phlegm is related to the Spleen Qi. A vast array of symptoms from general health to autoimmune disorders and heart disease accompany Spleen Qi deficiencies. 
Phlegm production factors also include Liver Qi Stagnation, which feels like anxiety that grows when suppressed. Since anxiety is widely dispersed among the population, it can lead to the Stagnation of Damp once it is coupled with other factors. 
The Spleen Qi’s origin is the kidneys, which contain Yin and Yang, each offering benefits to the body. The Yin nourishes and moistens the organs and tissues, and the Yang warms the organs and tissues while promoting accurate functioning. The Kidney Yin and Yang balance is responsible for Kidney Qi and supports robust spleen functioning. 
1- Lu AP, Jia HW, Xiao C, Lu QP. Theory of traditional Chinese medicine and therapeutic method of diseases. World J Gastroenterol. 2004;10(13):1854-1856. doi:10.3748/wjg.v10.i13.1854
2- Greenwood MT. Dysbiosis, Spleen Qi, Phlegm, and Complex Difficulties. Med Acupunct. 2017;29(3):128-137. doi:10.1089/acu.2017.1226