Cravings are kind of a cool subject when looked at through a Chinese Medical perspective. Cravings are brought on by imbalances in our organs and emotions.
Every organ is associated with both an emotional spectrum and a flavor.
- Heart - Sorrow or joy and Bitter
- Spleen - Over-thinking/worry or being at peace/centered and Sweet
- Lung - Grief/a feeling of alienation or feeling connected with the world and Acrid
- Kidney - Fear/apprehension or will-power and Salty
- Liver - Anger/frustration or being flexible and Sour
So, for example, if you tend to be a worrier, it can damage your Spleen leading to symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, fatigue and sugar-cravings.
For those who crave salt, they may have a history of being afraid or apprehensive in their lives. They may also experience symptoms such as incontinence, early aging, and low back pain.
If we're talking about pregnancy cravings, this tends to be a little different, since it is a healthy state, not one of imbalance. If a woman craves sour (think pickles or citrus) it is likely because her baby is growing, with Liver being the organ associated with quick growth. Remember my post on Liver being associated with wood? Think of the baby as a little seedling. Seedlings tend to change very quickly in their early stages - this is a quality of Wood energy.
If a pregnant woman craves sweet things, it's possible that her Spleen energy (or energy associated with digesting and processing foods to convert to Qi) is a bit weak due to the new, greater demand on her system. Tonify the Spleen and she should see a decrease in her sweet cravings!
As is the way of life, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. If one over-indulges in their cravings, they can further damage the associated organ. It's all about moderation!