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Color: White

Taste: Pungent

Direction: West

Season: Fall

Emotion: Grief, sadness

Yin organ: Lung

Yang organ: Large Intestine

Created by: Earth

Creates: Water

Controlled by: Fire

Controls: Wood

Metal in the body rules the Lung and Large Intestine. Grief affects this element and its associated elements adversely. In addition, a sudden attack of unexplained sorrow can be related to this element being out of balance in the body. Because the Lung produces the Wei Qi, which forms a defensive field around the body to protect from illness and attack, Metal is a defensive element. Earth feeds this element, and the Spleen (yin organ of Earth) sends some of the Qi it produces from food to the Lung to be converted into Wei Qi, which is why an immune deficiency problem is as often caused by deficiency of Spleen as by a deficiency in the Lung. Spicy foods such as black pepper tonify Metal Yang, and moist foods such as pears, almonds, and milk products tonify Metal Yin.

In the larger world, Metal is born of the Earth and creates Water. It is controlled by Fire and controls Wood. West is its direction, and Fall its season, which point to a relationship between this element and an overall sense of endings. These can be full of grief, or peaceful and renewing.