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What is Food Therapy?

One of the 5 major branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine is Food Therapy.

Different kinds of foods can be used as treatments for various ailments. Before suggesting a therapeutic diet, there are many factors to consider: the patient’s constitution, the nature of the patient’s illness and type of syndrome, and even the season and climate. The proper diet for the patient is based on all of these factors, not just upon the disease alone.

A prescribed diet can be used not only for treating disease, but also for maintaining a person’s good health. Garlic, for example, can be used to treat indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery, and whooping cough. But because garlic kills bacteria, detoxifies poisons, strengthens the stomach and promotes digestion, it has also been known to prevent flu and epidemic encephalomyelitis. Fortunately, most of the foods and herbs used in diet therapy have a good taste and are pleasant to take.


Fruit Vegetables Fish and Shellfish Other Foods
1. Apple
2. Apricot
3. Banana
4. Chinese date
5. Grape
6. Grapefruit
7. Hawthorn fruit
8. Lemon
9. Longan fruit
10. Orange fruit
11. Orange peel
12. Peach
13. Pear
14. Persimmon
15. Pineapple
16. Plum
17. Strawberry
18. Tangerine
19. Watermelon
1. Cabbage
2. Carrot
3. Celery
4. Chinese chive
5. Chinese yam
6. Cucumber
7. Green onion
8. Lotus root
9. Mung bean
10. Onion
11. Pumpkin
12. Radish
13. Spinach
14. Tomato
15. Water chestnut

1. Butterfish
2. Clam
3. Crab
4. Mussel
5. Oyster
6. Shrimp

1. Coix seed
2. Chrysanthemum flower
3. Garlic
4. Ginger
5. Ginseng
6. Honey
7. Kelp
8. Maltose
9. Pepper
10. Peppermint
11. Peppertree seed
12. Potato
13. Red pepper
14. Round grain rice
15. Salt
16. Sesame
17. Sugar, brown
18. Sugar, white
19. Tofu
20. Vinegar
21. Walnut kernel
Meat and Poultry
1. Beef
2. Black -boned chicken
3. Chicken
4. Duck
5. Mutton
6. Pork
Dairy Products
1. Milk
2. Egg

Fruit

Apple

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: large amounts of fructose, malic acid, tannic acid, fibre, pectin, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium
  • Effects: Apples strengthens Qi. They are also a good autumn food as they promote the production of body fluid and relieve thirst. It can improve poor appetite, increase functioning of the spleen and stomach, and reduce mental fatigue.

Apricot

  • Nature: sweet
  • Flavour: neutral
  • Channels: lung and large intestine
  • Other: carbohydrates and sugar, carotene, protein, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B and C
  • Effects: Apricots moisten the lungs and relieve asthma and constipation. They are used to treat coughs and asthma due to consumption, and constipation due to dryness of the intestinal tract.


Banana

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung and large intestine
  • Other: It contains starch, potassium, protein, fate, sugar, vitamins A, B, C, and E, pectin, calcium, phosphorus, and iron
  • Effects: Bananas clear away pathogenic heat, cool the blood, promote the production of body fluid, arrest thirst, moisturize the intestines, remove poisons and lower blood pressure. They treat restlessness and thirst cause by febrile diseases, constipation, and bleeding due to hemorrhoids. Bananas are a good food for autumn because of its moistening quality.

Cherry

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: iron (the highest percentage of iron of all the fruits), protein, sugar, phosphorus, carotene and vitamin C
  • Effects: The effects of cherries include invigorating the spleen and stomach, expelling wind and removing dampness, and inducing the eruption of measles. They are used for the treatment of anemia, weakness after illness, poor function of the spleen and stomach, and rheumatoid arthritis.


Chinese Date (Red Date)

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: stomach and spleen
  • Other: carbohydrates (20-40 % in fresh dates and more than 60 % in dried dates), protein, fat, a large amount of vitamins B and C, carotene, calcium, phosphorus and iron
  • Effects: Red Dates improve the function of the spleen and stomach, replenish Qi, promote the production of body fluid, increase immunity, and lower blood cholesterol. They can be used treat fatigue, diarrhea, insomnia, thirst, anemia, low white blood cell and blood platelet count in the blood.


Grape

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: lung, spleen and kidney
  • Other: glucose, fructose, sucrose, protein, calcium, phosphorus, carotene, vitamins B1, B2, C and nicotinic acid.
  • Effects: Grapes invigorate Qi and enrich the blood. strengthen the bones and muscles, nourish Yin, promoting the production of body fluid and promote urination. Grapes can increase Qi and Blood. They also treat coughs, palpitation, night-sweats, joint pain due to wind-dampness, slow and painful discharge of the urine, fatigue and edema. Grapes are a good fruit for autumn as they can alleviate dryness.


Grapefruit

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: lung and stomach
  • Other: sugars, vitamin C, citric acid, calcium, and phosphorus
  • Effects: Grapefruit can increase the production of body fluids, easing thirst. It can improve appetite, dissolve phlegm, and stop cough. There are reports fresh grapefruit juice contains insulin like substances which can lower blood sugar.


Hawthorn Fruit

  • Nature: slightly warm
  • Flavour: sour, sweet
  • Channels: spleen, stomach, and liver
  • Other: sugar, malic acid, citric acid, protein, iron, calcium, carotene, riboflavin, niacin, and a large amount of vitamin C
  • Effects: Hawthorn fruit is good at promoting digestion, strengthening the stomach, promoting blood circulation, removing blood cloudiness, and destroying parasites. An experiment showed that hawthorn fruit can lower blood lipids and blood pressure by dilating the coronary artery and exciting the central nervous system. It is used to treat indigestion due to overeating, masses in the abdomen, phlegm retention, feelings of fullness in the chest and upper abdomen, diarrhea, dysentery, blood in the stool, low back pain, and hernia.

Lemon

  • Nature: slightly cold
  • Flavour: sour
  • Channels: stomach, liver, and lung
  • Other: Lemons contain sugars, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins B1, B2 and C, niacin, citric acid, and malic acid
  • Effects: Lemons have the effects of cooling and relieving summer-heat, promoting the production of body fluids, easing thirst, and regulating the stomach. For the average healthy person, taking powdered lemon can improve the working functions of muscles and alleviate physical strain and fatigue. For the sick, intake of powdered lemon can improve visual acuity.

Longan Fruit

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: heart and spleen
  • Other: glucose, sucrose, vitamins A and B, a little fat, protein, and amino acids
  • Effects: Longan fruit has the ability to invigorate the heart and spleen, promote body fluid, moisten the five viscera (spleen, lung, kidney, liver and heart), nourish the blood and Qi and tranquilize the heart and mind. It is used to treat weakness after illness, palpitations, insomnia, and amnesia.


Orange Fruit

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: stomach and bladder
  • Other: glucose, fructose, sucrose, very little protein and fat, niacin, carotene, vitamins A, B2, B1 and C, malic acid and citric acid.
  • Effects: Oranges can clear away heat, promote the production of body fluid, and enhance the flow of Qi and blood circulation. The fruit of the orange is used to treat yin deficiency, fever, sweating, dry mouth, hypochondriac pain, mental depression and cessation of lactation in women, especially with redness and swelling.


Orange Peel

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: pungent and bitter
  • Channels: stomach and bladder
  • Effects: Orange peel promotes the flow of Qi and eliminates phlegm. The peel is used to treat productive coughs accompanied by chest distress.

Peach

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: stomach and large intestine
  • Other: glucose, fructose, sucrose, protein, citric acid, vitamin C, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and sodium
  • Effects: Peaches improve function of the stomach, promote the production of body fluids, and moisten dryness.

Pear

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet, slightly sour
  • Channels: lung and stomach
  • Other: fructose, sucrose, glucose, vitamins B1, B2 and A, calcium, phosphorus, iron, a trace of protein and fat
  • Effects: Pears promote the production of body fluid, moisten dryness, clear away heat, arrest coughs, eliminate phlegm, enrich Yin and blood, lower blood pressure, and remove alcohol toxins. It is used to treat restlessness and thirst due to imbalance of the body fluids during febrile diseases, diabetes, coughs of the heat type, and constipation. Pears are a good food to eat in autumn to alleviate dryness.


Persimmon

  • Nature: cold and astringent
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung and stomach
  • Other: sugar, protein, fat, high amounts of vitamin C and iron.
  • Effects: The effects of persimmon include nourishing the lungs to stop coughs, clearing away heat, promoting salivation, resolving phlegm, and softening hard masses. It is used to treat coughs due any deficiency, as well as diabetes. Because persimmon is cold, those who suffer from spleen Yang deficiency (diarrhea with undigested food in the stools and cold hands and feet) or phlegm-dampness should avoid eating it.
  • Persimmon frost is made by first peeling persimmons that are not quite ripe and tying a string around them in order to hang them outside from a tree for one month. After the persimmons have been dried for one month, they are left outside for another month on a plate that is covered in a layer of grass. The white powder that forms on the surface of the persimmon cake is called persimmon frost.


Pineapple

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: fructose, glucose, protein, various kinds of vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium
  • Effects: Pineapple strengthens the spleen and stomach, promotes the production of body fluid, increases Qi and blood, reduces swelling, and eliminates dampness. It is used to treat dehydration due to excessive summer-heat, thirst, dry throat, restlessness, fatigue, anorexia, weakness in the back and knees, hypertension, and coughs with profuse phlegm.


Plum

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: liver and stomach
    Other: sugars, protein, calcium, phosphorus and iron, vitamins B and C, and niacin.
  • Effects: Plums can clear liver heat, promote the production of body fluids, and can aid in the treatment of fever and dry throat.


Strawberry

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: lung and spleen
  • Other: protein, fructose, sucrose, glucose, citric acid, mallic acid, amino acid, carotene, fibre, a large amount of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium
  • Effects: The effects of strawberry include moistening the lungs, promoting the production of body fluid, strengthening the spleen, regulating the stomach, enriching the blood, invigorating Qi, cooling heat in the blood, and detoxifying. It is used to treat lung-dryness due to consumption of body fluid, weakness of the spleen and stomach, insufficiency of Qi and Blood, dysentery, blood in the urine, and furuncles. It is used in preventing hypertension, arteriosclerosis and colonic cancer.


Tangerine

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: lung and stomach
  • Other: malic acid, citric acid, glucose, fructose, sucrose, and vitamins B1 and C
  • Effects: Tangerines promote and regulate the function of the stomach, regulate the flow of Qi, relieve thirst, moisturize the lungs, eliminate phlegm, promote urination, and reducing capillary fragility. They are used to treat the accumulation of Qi in the chest and diaphragm, vomiting, poor appetite, insufficiency of stomach-Yin, dry mouth, thirst, coughs, and painful urination.

 



Watermelon

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: heart, stomach and urinary bladder
  • Other: vitamins B and C, glucose, fructose, sucrose, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and fibre
  • Effects: Watermelon can clear away summer-heat, relieve restlessness and thirst, and promote urination. It treats consumption of body fluid due to excessive heat, mouth ulcers, and inflammation of the throat.

 


Vegetables

Cabbage

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Effects: Cabbage has the ability to strengthen the spleen, regulate the stomach, and relieve spasm and pain. It can promote the healing of ulceration. It can be used to treat pain and spasm in the upper abdomen due to gastric or duodenal ulcer.

 


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Carrot

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung and spleen
  • Other: vitamins B1, B2, amino acids, sugar, and fatty oil
  • Effects: Carrots are anti-inflammation and anti-allergy, can strengthen the spleen, ease indigestion due to overeating, lower blood pressure, protect the stomach and intestines, and strengthen the function of macrophages (infection-attacking blood cells). Carrots are used to treat indigestion, dysentery, coughs, and hypertension.

 



Celery

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: liver, stomach, and bladder
  • Other: vitamin C and sugar
  • Effects: Celery calms the liver, clears away heat, expels wind, removes dampness by increasing urination, and detoxifies. An experiment by Chinese scientists showed that celery has the function of lowering blood pressure. Celery also has the function of contracting the uterus. It is used to treat hypertension, vertigo, headache, flushed face, boils and skin abscesses.

 



Chinese Chive

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: pungent
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: protein, fat, carbohydrates, carotene, calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B
  • Effects: Its effects include warming the spleen and stomach, promoting and restoring the circulation of Qi, detoxifying, tonifying Yang, and regulating the function among the viscera. It is used to treat difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, chest pain and tightness, impotence, premature ejaculation, coughing up blood, blood in the urine, nose bleeds, dysentery, insect bites and traumatic injuries. People with heat in the stomach or peptic ulcers should avoid Chinese chive.
  • Chinese chive is a common vegetable in China and has been used in food therapy for thousands of years. There is a story in the Compendium of Materia Medica, written Li Shi Zhen, about Chinese chives. The story tells of and old man with difficulty swallowing and who vomited after eating. He felt an obstruction behind the sternum during swallowing. Someone gave him some juice made of Chinese chives and salty plums. After drinking the juice, he could take some food and increased his meals gradually every day. One day he suddenly threw up a large amount of thick, ropy phlegm and was relieved of his symptoms thereafter.


Chinese Yam

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen, lung and kidney
  • Effects: Chinese Yam can strengthen the functions of the spleen, lung and kidney, and increase the amount of Qi and Yin. It is used to treat loose stools or diarrhea due to deficiency of spleen Qi, coughing due to deficiency of the lungs, and frequent urination and leucorrhea (whitish or yellowish vaginal discharge) due to kidney deficiency

Cucumber

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: Sweet
  • Channels: spleen and large intestine
  • Other: amino acid, sugar, carotene, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and fibre
  • Effects: Cucumber can clear away heat, eliminate dampness, induce urination and bowel movement, relieve pain, lower cholesterol, and prevent cancer. It is used to treat restlessness and thirst, sore throat, conjunctival congestion, and painful urination.
  • Note: Because of its cool nature and ability to clear heat, cucumber is an especially good vegetable to eat in the summer. People with chronic bronchitis and ulcerative colitis should avoid eating cucumber.


Green Onion (Chinese green onion)

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: pungent
  • Channels: lung and stomach
  • Other: vitamins C, B1, B2 and nicotinic acid
  • Effects: The effects of green onion are releasing the exterior, activating Yang, and clearing away toxic materials. It is used to treat chills, fever, acute headache, constipation, retention of urine, carbuncles, and swelling.


Lotus Root

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: flavour
  • Channels: heart, spleen, and stomach
  • Other: starch, protein, asparagine and vitamin C.
  • Effects: The effects of raw and cooked lotus root are different
  • Raw Lotus Root: can clear heat, cool blood, quench thirst, dispel the effects of alcohol, arrest bleeding and strengthen the stomach. It is used to treat restlessness and thirst due to febrile diseases, vomiting of blood, nose bleeds, uterine bleeding at childbirth, and cystitis.
  • Cooked Lotus Root: can strengthen the spleen, promote tissue regeneration, replenish the blood, promote the healthy functioning of the stomach, improve appetite, stop diarrhea, and stop coughing.


Mung Bean

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: heart and stomach
  • Other: small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, vitamins B1, B2 and niacin
  • Effects: Mung Bean can clear away heat and toxic materials and can increase urination to reduce edema. Because Mung Bean is cool in nature it is often helpful in the summertime for treating restlessness and thirst caused by summer-heat. It helps diarrhea, carbuncles, and can also reduce the toxicity of other herbs.

Onion (Red, yellow, or white)

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung, stomach, and large intestine
  • Other: vitamins A, B1, B2 and C, calcium, iron, and phosphorus
  • Effects: Onions can clear away heat, resolve phlegm, detoxify, and destroy parasites. Onions can also lower cholesterol and triglycerides, so it can be used to treat and prevent arteriosclerosis. It can also increase digestive tract secretions to improve digestion.


Mung Bean

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: heart and stomach
  • Other: small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, vitamins B1, B2 and niacin
  • Effects: Mung Bean can clear away heat and toxic materials and can increase urination to reduce edema. Because Mung Bean is cool in nature it is often helpful in the summertime for treating restlessness and thirst caused by summer-heat. It helps diarrhea, carbuncles, and can also reduce the toxicity of other herbs.

Pumpkin

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: glucose, sucrose, carotene, vitamins B and C.
  • Effects: Pumpkin can strengthen the spleen and stomach, replenish Qi, relieve inflammation and pain, detoxify, and destroy intestinal parasites. It is used to treat fatigue due to Qi deficiency, and intercostal pain. It may also be useful in preventing diabetes and colon cancer.

Radish

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung and stomach
  • Other: glucose, sucrose, fructose, various kinds of amino acids and vitamin C Effects: Radish can remove food stagnation, clear away phlegm-heat, reduce nausea and vomiting, regulate the spleen and stomach, and clear away toxic materials. It is used to eliminate the accumulation of phlegm and heat in the lungs, vomiting of blood, nose bleeds, diabetes, headaches and migraines, and to decrease weight. Radish is also used to prevent both cancer and the formation of gallbladder stones. It can be helpful in the autumn, as it can also promote the production of body fluid and so help eliminate dryness.


Spinach

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: large intestine, stomach, and liver channels
    Other: carotin, vitamin C, protein, sugars, calcium, phosphorus, folic acid, and oxalic acid.
  • Effects: Spinach can moisten dryness, improve bowel movements, promote the production of body fluids, quench thirst, and improve acuity of vision.
  • Note: People who have loose stools or diarrhea due to spleen deficiency should not eat spinach. Also, spinach contains a large amount of oxalic acid and therefore should not be cooked with foods rich in calcium (e.g. tofu/bean curd), or it will form ammonium oxalate and affect the absorption of calcium.

Tomato

  • Nature: slightly cold
  • Flavour: sweet and sour
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, carotene, calcium, phosphorus and iron
  • Effects: Tomatoes can clear away summer-heat, promote the production of body fluid, relieve thirst, strengthen the stomach, relieve indigestion, strengthen the kidney, and increase urination.

Water Chestnut

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung, stomach, and liver
  • Other: starch, a small amount of protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin C
  • Effects: Water chestnut can clear away heat, promote the production of body fluid, eliminate dampness and phlegm, and relieve dyspepsia. It is used to treat restlessness and thirst due to febrile diseases, sore throat, cold sores, conjunctival congestion, dysentery, productive cough, jaundice, indigestion and distension of the abdomen.

Fish and Shellfish

Butterfish

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and cholesterol, and sugar (the sugar content in butterfish is the highest of all fish)
  • Effects: Butterfish can strengthen Qi and blood, and relieve muscle and joint pain. It is used in the treatment of anemia, indigestion, dizziness, palpitations, insomnia, amnesia, and numbness of the limbs.


Clam

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: salty
  • Channels: liver and kidney
  • Other: protein, carbohydrate, fat, inorganic salt, vitamins A, B1, B2 and niacin.
  • Effects: Clams can clear heat, nourish Yin, improve vision, relieve swelling, and soften hard lumps. It can help in diabetes caused by Yin deficiency, dry coughs, insomnia, edema, hyperthyroidism, low back pain, hemerrhoids, and vaginal discharge.


Crab

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: salty
  • Channels: liver
  • Other: protein, calcium, fat, cholesterol, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B1, B2, and niacin
  • Effects: Crab can improve blood circulation, remove blood stasis, and remove dampness. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and detoxifying agent.

Mussel

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: salty
  • Channels: liver and kidney
  • Other: protein, fat, calcium phosphorus, iron, iodine, vitamin B2, and niacin
  • Effects: Mussels can strengthen the liver and kidney, and increase Jing and Blood. It is used in the treatment of dizziness, headaches, night sweats, abnormal uterine bleeding, back pain, and impotence.


Oyster

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet and salty
  • Channels: liver
  • Other: protein, fats, 10 kinds of essential amino acid, vitamins A, B1, B2, D, and E, iron, copper, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, magnesium and barium
  • Effects: Oysters can nourish Yin and blood, clear heat, and remove damp. It is used to treat fever accompanied by restlessness, insomnia, mental confusion, night sweats, and spontaneous sweating.

Shrimp

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: kidney
  • Other: protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorus, iron, iodine, vitamins A, B1, B2, and niacin
  • Effects: Shrimp can strengthen the kidneys, strengthen Yang, and promote lactation and pus discharge. It can also help in impotence due to kidney Yang deficiency, weakness in the back and knees, fatigue, measles, chicken-pox, and skin problems.

Meat and Poultry

Beef

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: protein (containing essential amino acids), fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B1 and B2.
  • Effects: Beef can strengthen the spleen and stomach and increase Qi and Blood. It is used to treat diarrhea, edema and fatigue due to spleen and stomach deficiency.


Black-Bone Chicken

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: Sweet
  • Channels: liver and kidney
  • Other: protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, nicotinic acid, and vitamins B1 and B2
  • Effects: Black-boned chicken is a chicken whose bones and skin are black. It can strengthen the liver and kidney, nourish Yin and reduce fever. It is used to treat diabetes, lingering diarrhea due to weakness of the spleen, and leucorrhea (vaginal discharge).


Chicken

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: contains protein, fat, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, niacin phosphorus, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, and magnesium
  • Effects: Chicken has the ability to strengthen the spleen, increase Qi and Blood, and tonify the Kidney and the Jing. It may be used to help fatigue and weakness, frequent urination, and tinnitus.


Duck

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet and salty
  • Channels: lung, spleen, and kidney
  • Other: protein, fat, vitamins B1, B2, and niacin
  • Effects: Duck has the effects of nourishing Yin and reinforcing the stomach, relieving edema, and removing damp. Duck can help in fever due to Yin deficiency, cough and dry throat, edema, and difficult urination.

Mutton

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen, stomach and kidney
  • Other: protein, carbohydrate, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins B1 and B2, nicotinic acid and cholesterol.
  • Effects: Mutton invigorates Qi, warms the spleen, kidney and stomach, and relaxes the bowels. It is used to treat: weakness in the back and knees, acute stomach pain around the navel due to invasion of cold, and regurgitation due to a deficiency of the spleen and stomach. Because of its warm nature, mutton is a good winter food.


Pork

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung, spleen, and liver
  • Other: protein, fat, sugars, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamins B1, B2, and niacin
  • Effects: Pork can nourish Yin, moisten dryness, and increase blood. It is used to treat dry cough, dry mouth, and dry throat due to dryness in the lungs. Pork can help in fatigue and dizziness due to Qi and blood deficiency, and for constipation due to blood deficiency. It is not desirable for obese people with damp-heat to eat pork.


Daily Products

Milk

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: heart, lung, and stomach
  • Other: protein, fat, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C
  • Effects: Milk can strengthen the lung and stomach, promotion the production of body fluids, and moistening the intestinal tract. It can help in dizziness and fatigue due to Qi and blood deficiency. Milk can combat the dryness that is associated with autumn.


Egg

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen
  • Other: protein, eight essential amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals
  • Effects: Eggs can nourish Yin, moisten dryness, enrich the blood, invigorate the spleen, and regulate the stomach. It is used to treat dizziness, night blindness, weakness after illness, insomnia, palpitations, sore throat, loss of voice, malnutrition, and vomiting.


Other Foods

Coix Seed

  • Nature: slightly cold
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen, stomach, and lung
  • Effects: Coix seed can improve urination to eliminate dampness, strengthen the spleen, and clear away heat. It is used to treat edema, diarrhea due to deficiency of the spleen, arthritis, and appendicitis.

Chrysanthemum Flower

  • Nature: slight cold
  • Flavour: pungent, sweet, and bitter
  • Channels: liver and lung
  • Effects: Chrysanthemum flower can dispel wind, clear away the heat, detoxify, and improve eyesight. It is used along with other herbs to treat wind-heat types of common cold, conjunctival congestion due to wind-heat in the liver or flaming up of liver-fire, and headaches and dizziness due to hyperactivity of the liver Yang.


Garlic

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: Pungent
  • Channels: lung, spleen, and stomach
  • Other: protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and mineral
  • Effects: Throughout the history of Chinese medicine, garlic has been called the “penicillin in the earth”. In ancient Egypt and India, soldiers ate garlic to keep healthy and boost their courage in battle. In the World War II, the British government shipped several tons of garlic to the infantry to cure the soldiers’ wounds. Its effects include: destroying parasites, detoxifying, removing indigestion, and strengthening the stomach. It is used to treat food stagnation, cold-pain of the stomach and abdomen, diarrhea, dysentery, carbuncles, furuncles, swelling, whooping cough, snake-bites and insect-bites. Because it has a warm nature, garlic is especially good to eat in the winter.

Ginger

This is used in both its fresh and dried forms. Although they both act upon the spleen, stomach, and lung channels, their temperature and functions are somewhat different. The warming nature of both fresh and dried ginger make it an ideal winter food.


1) Fresh Ginger

  • Nature: slightly warm
  • Flavour: pungent
  • Channels: spleen, stomach, and lung
  • Effects: The effects of fresh ginger are dispersing cold, stopping vomiting, and reducing phlegm. It is used for treating the wind-cold type of common cold.

2) Dried Ginger

  • Nature: hot
  • Flavour: pungent
  • Channels: spleen, stomach, and lung
  • Effects: The effects of dried ginger are warming the spleen and stomach, eliminating cold, restoring Yang, and promoting blood circulation. It is used to treat cold pain in the chest and stomach, vomiting and diarrhea, cold extremities, pain due to win-cold-dampness, spitting up blood, nose-bleeds, and blood in the stool due to Yang deficiency.

Ginseng

This is a root that is well known for its ability to tonify the body. Chinese, Korean, and American ginseng all have different natures, based on where they grow and are prepared. Wild ginseng, collected from the forests and mountains, is the most expensive and is the most esteemed commercial variety. For the cooking of ginseng, it is important to use only glass, ceramic, or porcelain cookware, rather than metal. One should avoid taking coffee, tea, radishes, or turnips immediately before or after drinking ginseng tea, as these could decrease the tea’s effectiveness.

1) Chinese Ginseng

  • Nature: slightly warm
  • Flavour: sweet and slightly bitter
  • Channels: lung and spleen
  • Effects: Its warm nature makes it appropriate for cold and deficient syndromes. Chinese ginseng strongly tonifies the lungs and is used for shallow or short respiration, cold extremities, and profuse sweating. It also tonifies the spleen, and is used for fatigue, poor appetite, and chest and abdominal distension. It is able to promote secretion of the body fluids and relieve mental stress. It also benefits the heart, and is useful for palpitations due to fright, insomnia, amnesia, and irritability – all due to deficiency of the body’s Qi and Blood.
  • Contra-indications: only use if there are signs of fatigue and Qi deficiency, otherwise this herb may generate heat in the body. Chinese ginseng is not to be used with any signs of heat (excess or deficient) or with Yin deficiency.

 



2) Korean Ginseng

  • Nature: hot
  • Flavour: sweet and slightly bitter
  • Channels: lung and spleen
  • This type of ginseng is produced in Korea and has the same properties and functions as Chinese ginseng, although it is considered hot and should be used very cautiously. It has the same contra-indications as Chinese ginseng.

3) American Ginseng

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet and slightly bitter
  • Channels: lung, heart, and kidney
  • Effects: This type of ginseng is produced in the United States, Canada, and France, with the best quality coming from Wisconsin. American ginseng tonifies the spleen, benefits the lungs, and promotes the production of fluids in the body. It is useful for Yin deficiency with heat signs and great weakness of the body.


Honey

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung, spleen and large intestine
  • Other: fructose, glucose, a little sucrose, and maltose
  • Effects: Honey can strengthen the spleen and stomach, moisten dryness, relieve spasm, and clear away toxic materials. It is used to treat cough due to lung dryness, constipation due to intestine dryness, pain in the abdomen, turbid discharge from the nose, ulcerations of the mouth, scalds, and burns. Honey is especially good during the dry autumn months because it helps to moisten the five viscera (spleen, lungs, kidneys, liver, and heart).


Kelp

  • Nature: cold
  • Flavour: salty
  • Channels: liver, stomach, and kidney
  • Other: protein, fat, nitrogen, and vitamin B2
  • Effects: Kelp is often called the “vegetable in the sea” or the “vegetable for long life”. Its effects include softening hard masses, removing phlegm, promoting urination, expelling pathogenic heat, preventing hyperthyroidism, and preventing cancer. Because it helps to moisten the body, it is a good autumn food. In Japan, where kelp is a mainstay of the diet, the incident of breast cancer in women is lower than anywhere else in the world.


Maltose

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels spleen, stomach and lung
  • Effects: The effects of maltose include strengthening the spleen and stomach, promoting the production of body fluid, moistening dryness, clearing away heat, and tonifying the lungs to stop coughing. It is used to warm the spleen Yang, treat abdominal pain due to contraction of the genital organs, and nourish deficiency of the lung Yin. Maltose is also good for certain types of thirst, vomiting of blood, sore throat, constipation, asthma, and folliculitis.

Pepper
Nature: hot
Flavour: pungent
Channels: stomach and large intestine
Other: vitamins B and C, carotene and carbohydrates
Effects: Pepper can warm the spleen and stomach, control nausea and vomiting, and clear away phlegm and toxic materials. It is used to treat cold pain in the abdomen, cold phlegm and food stagnation, regurgitation, watery vomit, diarrhea and dysentery of cold type.


Peppermint

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: pungent
  • Effects: Peppermint oil is mostly menthol. The effects of peppermint include dispelling wind and removing heat, eliminating dampness and heat, relieving sore throat, and promoting the eruption of measles to help bring the virus out of the body more quickly.


Peppertree Seed

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: pungent
  • Channels: stomach and spleen
  • Effects: It can dispel cold, remove damp, strengthen the stomach to promote digestion, detoxify, destroy parasites, and promote the circulation of Qi. It is used to treat pain, vomiting, indigestion, toothaches, diarrhea and dysentery, relieve asthma, and reduce the toxicity of fish. A person with Yin deficiency should avoid peppertree seeds, since they can produce heat.


Potato

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: protein, sugars, fat, niacin, vitamins B1, B2, and C, calcium, phosphorus, and iron
  • Effects: Potato has the effects of reinforcing the spleen and stomach, and relieving spasm and pain. It also contains a small amount of solanine, a suitable amount of which can alleviate the spasm of smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines and reduce the secretion of gastric juice.


Red Pepper (Chilli)

  • Nature: hot
  • Flavour: Pungent
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: contains protein, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorous, carotene, iron, vitamins C, B1, B2 and niacin
  • Effects: Red pepper can warm the spleen and stomach, eliminate dampness and cold, improve appetite and digestion, and increase respiration. It is used to treat vomiting, dysentery, malaria, and pain in the lower abdomen due to accumulation of cold. It can also prevent cancer. Its warm qualities make it a good vegetable to use in the winter.


Round-Grain Rice

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: starch, protein, fat, and vitamin B
  • Effects: Its effects include invigorating and regulating the spleen and stomach, nourishing Yin and promoting the production of body fluids. It is used to arrest dysentery and diarrhea.


Salt

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: salty
  • Channels: spleen and kidney
  • Other: mainly consists of sodium chloride, but also contains magnesium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and sodium sulfate
  • Effects: Table salt is a crystal formed from sea or other salt water. Some table salts are obtained through further refining processes. It has the effects of harmonizing the spleen and stomach, reinforcing the kidney, and moistening dryness. People who have difficulty breathing, cough, edema, hypertension, or diabetes should limit their intake of salt. Sodium chloride is the major substance for maintaining the osmotic pressure of the human body. When the body lacks this salt, symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, anorexia, vomiting, and abdominal pain will appear, which are signs of low salt syndrome.


Sesame

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: liver and kidney
  • Other: 60 % fatty acid, most of which are unsaturated (oleic acid, linoleic acid and arachidic acid)
  • Effects: Sesame invigorates the liver and kidney. Because of it moisturizing properties on the five viscera, it is a good food for combating dryness in the autumn. We use sesame to treat deficiencies of the liver and the kidney, dizziness due to internal wind of a deficiency type, pain, paralysis, dry stools, and difficult defecation, weakness during convalescence, early graying of hair and lack of lactation in women.



Sugar (White)

  • Nature: neutral
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: lung, spleen, and stomach
  • Effects: Sugar has the effects of moistening the lungs, promoting the production of body fluids, reinforcing the middle burner and easing spasm. White sugar contains only sucrose.
    People with phlegm-damp or damp-heat should not use white sugar. It should be avoided by people with diabetes, and people with obesity or high blood fat should control their use of white sugar.


Sugar (Brown)

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen and stomach
  • Other: glucose, sucrose, a little protein, various kinds of amino acid, fat, riboflavin, carotene, niacin, iron, phosphorus, and calcium
  • Effects: Brown sugar can strengthen and regulate the spleen and stomach, dispel cold and promote blood circulation to remove blood cloudiness. It is used to treat cold pain in the abdomen, difficult or painful menstruation, and the wind-cold type of the common cold.



Tofu (Bean Curd)

  • Nature: cool
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: spleen, stomach, and large intestine
  • Other: protein (4x more than milk), fat, carbohydrates, calcium (twice that in milk), phosphorus, and iron
  • Effects: Tofu can invigorate Qi, replenish the blood, and strengthen muscles and bones. Tofu is used to treat acute conjunctivitis and diabetes. It also cools the effects of sulphur and alcohol, by removing their toxic and hot properties through the urine.



Vinegar

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sour and bitter
  • Channels: liver and stomach
  • Other: calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B and C
  • Effects: Vinegar can stop bleeding, clear away toxic materials, destroy intestinal parasites, and promote the digestion and absorption of food. It used for treating postnatal bleeding, blockage in the abdomen, jaundice, vomiting of blood, nose bleeds, and skin itchiness. It can remove the poisonous quality of fish, meat and vegetables.


Walnut Kernel

  • Nature: warm
  • Flavour: sweet
  • Channels: kidney and lung
  • Other: fatty acid, protein, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, vitamins B1 and B2 and nicotinic acid
  • Effects: Walnut kernel warms the lungs to relieve asthma, and moisturizes the intestines to relax the bowels. It is used to treat symptoms due to deficiency of kidney Yang, asthma, coughs, lumbago, impotence, frequent urination, slow and painful urination due to the passage of urinary stones, constipation, and dry stools.


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