The Five Elements (Wu Xing) are the five basic substances which all things in the world are made from. They consist of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Everything in the world has the nature of these five elements, including nature and humans. By studying their interrelationships, how they move, interact and affect each other, one can understand disease and imbalances.
Water – Shui: It is related to the season of Winter, the colour black, the climate of Cold and the flavour of saltiness. In terms of TCM, Water is related to the Kidneys and Bladder.
Wood – Mu: Related to the season of Spring, the colour green, the climate of Wind and the flavour of sourness. Its corresponding organs are the Liver and Gall-Bladder.
Fire – Huo: This corresponds to Summer, the colour red, the climate of Heat and the flavour of bitterness. Its related organs are the Heart and Small Intestine.
Earth – Tu: This element is not related to any seasons. Its’ colour is yellow, its’ climate is Dampness and its’ flavour is sweetness. Its corresponding organs are the Spleen and Stomach.
Metal – Jin: Metal is the element of Autumn. Its’ colour is white and its’ climate is dryness. It is connected to pungent flavours. THe corresponding organs of Metal are the Lungs and Large Intestines.
In Chinese philosophy, the Five Elements (Wu Xing) are closely related to cycles or phases of nature and cosmology. In terms of health, they can be interpreted in a variety of ways, we describe these as sequences. The three main cycles are the Generating Cycle, the Controlling Cycle and the Insulting Cycle. The cycles provide information on how the Five Elements (Wu Xing) interact when in balance. They also provide information of clinical benefit when they are out of blance therefor aiding TCM diagnosis.