TCM: Discovering Your Strongest Elements

This worksheet will help you understand where you fall within the five elements of Chinese medicine. Note down the symptoms you experience. The section where you have noted the most symptoms corresponds to the area your body could use more balance. Follow the recommendations in that section.

Wood Element

Organs: Liver and Gallbladder

Flavour: Sour

Season: Spring


-          Allergies 

-          Indigestion

-          Neck/back tension

-          Fatigue

-          Slow rising in morning

-          Eye problems

-          Skin disorders

-          Muscular pain

-          Tendon problems

-          Anger 

-          Stubbornness 

-          Pain under right ribs

-          Red face/eyes 

-          Splitting headaches 

-          Insomnia 

-          Low back ache 

-          Indigestion 

-          Constipation

-          Anger/Frustration


AVOID: Alcohol, Deep-fried foods, Cooking with canola, corn, sunflower or safflower oil, meat, dairy, sugars, nut butters.

FOCUS ON: Green Vegetables/Juices, Raw Food, Micro-Algaes, Mung Beans, Sprouts, Kelp, Radishes, Quinoa Sour and bitter foods.

Lifestyle choices that support balance: Castor oil packs on the Liver.

Emotional work: Exercising patience, forgiveness


Fire Element

Organs: Heart and Small Intestines

Flavour: Bitter

Season: Summer


-          Scattered/wandering Mind

-          Confused ­­­

-          Depressed

-          Mental Illness

-          Loss of Memory

-          Poor circulation

-          Weak Spirit

-          Insomnia


AVOID: Refined, stimulating foods like sugars, coffee, alcohol, hot spices, and large evening meals.

FOCUS ON: Whole wheat, Oats, Brown Rice; lemons, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms; ghee; dill, basil, chamomile and seaweeds.

Lifestyle choices that support balance Focus the scattered mind through speech or vocal based prayers, meditations, or chants.

Emotional work Silent contemplation on uplifting images. Noticing when you feel joy and living in those moments. Play outside daily and look to embrace your inner child!


Earth Element

Organs: Spleen, Pancreas and Stomach

Flavour: Sweet

Season: Late Summer (Indian summer) and the transition between seasons.


-          Loose stool 

-          Watery stool 

-          General weakness

-          Fatigue 

-          Food sensitivities 

-          Nervous indigestion 

-          Pain in upper abdomen 

-          Worry 

-          Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) 

-          Sluggishness


AVOID: Cold foods, Raw Foods, Fruit, Juices, Yogurt/Milk, Soy.

FOCUS ON: Brown Rice, Oats, Squashes, Root Vegetables.

Lifestyle choices that support balance: Sing in the shower, practice Agnisara and Nauli first thing in the morning to stimulate digestion.

Emotional work Create personal self care practices. Every day take a worry and turn it into an action. Write in a gratitude journal.


Metal Element

Organs: Lung and Large intestines

Flavour: Pungent

Season: Fall


-          Frequent colds/flu 

-          Mucus  

-          Dryness 

-          Persistent cough

-          Sinus problems

-          Congestion

-          Yellow mucus 

-          Red face 

-          Sore throat 

-          Hot palms and soles

-          Night sweats


AVOID: Rich, fatty and salty foods

FOCUS ON: Eating lightly, emphasizing liquids, soups, vegetables, fruits, cabbage family, lemons, homemade sauerkraut.

Lifestyle choices that support balance: Sweating therapy, hot yoga, infrared sauna.

Emotional work Deep breathing to bring emotions to the surface and allow them to clear. Look at grudges and let them go.


Water Element

Organ: Kidney, Bladder and Adrenals

Flavour: Salty

Season: Winter


-          Bone problems

-          Ear problems

-          Tinnitus 

-          Hair loss 

-          Premature graying

-          Urinary, sexual or reproductive issues

-          Fear 

-          Insecurity


AVOID: cooling raw foods. Refined Salt.

FOCUS ON: Seaweeds, using sea salt sparingly, millet, barley, black/kidney/adzuki beans.

Lifestyle choices that support balance: Epsom salt baths. Cold blasts at the end of showers first on extremities and end at low back (kidneys)

Emotional work – Face challenges with courage. Go with the flow of water.

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MTA21, posted on April 5, 2013

Never mind. I found it!

MTA21, posted on April 5, 2013

Where is water, the fifth element?

suzicat, posted on May 28, 2012

I dont understand what you mean by 'Organs', 'Flavor' & 'Season'. What does that part of the element mean? What are we to do with that information?

joannie, posted on April 9, 2012

Thanks for this! Hm, I see several of my problems in all but the Metal Element. Would you suggest that I pick out only the primary issues?

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