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1. Chinese Medicine Theory for food therapy
In traditional Chinese medicine, food is divided into five temperature:
cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot. This classification is determined on
effects of food on body rather than nature of food actual temperature.
Warm and hot food bring heat to the bodies, such as beef, coffee,
ginger, hot chilies and fried foods. The cold and cool foods can cool
down the bodies, such as salad, cheese, green tea, mung beans and
beer. There are also neutral foods, such as rice, pork and most kinds
Chinese medicine concludes six excesses of pathogenic factors:
Wind, Cold, Heat, Dampness, Dryness and Summer-heat. Any
excess can creates an imbalance in body causing people sick. When
people have more heat in their body, they usually feel hot, sweats and
grumpy. If too much heart in their bodies, people will be sick. For
example, liver fire (too much heat in the liver) can cause headache,
hypertension, reddened eyes, dry mouth, constipation, and irregular
menstruation. Eating cold or cool food, like mung beans, will help to
reduce the hot symptoms. When people have colder in their bodies,
they will feel cold on hands and feet, weakness and fatigue, and bad
blood circulation. When people have too much cold in the bodies, the
people will have cough, sinus, congestion, common cold, flu and
pneumonia. Eating hot food, like Ginger, will help to reduce those cold
The season is another factor when it comes to food choices. In
Spring, which is considered wet and sticky and the dampness easily
accumulate in the body, food such as corn, white beans and onion
can take the dampness away. In Summer, the food watermelon and
cucumber can cool down our body. Autumn is dry. Foods such as
snow peas and honey are good. Winter is cold, eating hot food such
as beef or shrimps warms up the body.
Good or bad food depends on each person’s personalities. For example, a
overweight person is considered too much "dampness " in their body by
Chinese Medicine. Eating sweet foods accumulates more "dampness" in the
body. The ginger tea is hot food to warm up the body. It is good for the person
who suffer from cold. However, ginger is not good the person with hypertension,
which is considered too much fire in the liver by Chinese medicine, because
singer adds more heat to the body to make the condition worst.
Chinese medicine also divide food into five tastes: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy and
salty. Each bite of foods sends the nutrition to corresponding organs. It is very
important to know in Chinese medicine, organs are functionally defined entity
and not equivalent to anatomical organ of the same name in west medicine. For
example, Western medicine defines heart as a organ to pump blood into
circulation. Chinese medicine think heart is a organ to store soul and mind, to
control emotion, and to governs blood and meridians. Each organ has their own
taste. For example, liver's taste is sour and heart's taste is bitter. Sour food
enters liver and helps stop sweating, eases coughing. Salt enters the kidneys to
drain, purge and soften masses. Bitter food enters the heart and the small
intestine and helps cool heat and dry any dampness. Spicy food enters the lungs
and large intestine to stimulate appetite. Sweet food enters the stomach and
spleen to helps lubricate the body.
2. 13 popular foods used in Chinese Medicine food therapy
Ginseng increase strength,
blood volume, appetite, quite the
spirit, and give wisdom, treats
anemia, poor appetite, shortness
of breath, nervous agitation,
forgetfulness and thirst.
Properties of Walnuts are warm and sweet, which
can tonify kidney yang and nourish lungs. Walnuts is
used to treat sexual dysfunction, frequent urination,
lower back pain, cough and cold. Walnuts are also
chock full of goodness as well, including omega-3 fatty
acids, vitamin E and folates – all of which aid the heart
The Chinese have long believed that eating walnuts
can sharpen the mind and boost concentration and
memory. It is considers walnuts as a warming food so
it is a great snack in winter time.
Properties of Cinnamon is spicy, sweet
and powerfully warming. It has ability to
penetrate the heart, lung, bladder
meridians. Therefore Cinnamon warms
the body, invigorate the circulation, and
harmonize the energy of the upper and
lower body. Modern studies demonstrate
that cinnamon helps to
Ginger is considered a
warming herb and acts
specifically on the lung,
spleen and stomach. It
is a Qi tonic, promotes
5. Lotus seed
Properties of lotus seed is sour
and sweet. Its meridian affinities
are spleen, heart and kidney. Its
functions are to tonify the spleen,
strengthens the kidney, nourish
the blood and calms the mind. In
clinic, it be used to treat
6. Hawthorn berries
Properties of hawthorn berries is warm, sour
and sweet. Its meridian affinities are spleen,
stomach, heart, and liver. Its functions
improve digestion, reduce food stagnation,
increase blood Qi, reduce body fat. In clinic, it
be used to treat hypertension, heart
diseases, abdominal pain, abdominal
bloating, abdominal colic, amenorrhea,
hernial pain, and hyperlipidemia.
9. Aged mandarin peel
Mandarin tangerine peels, after being sundried,
are often used as a warming agent to help the
functions of the spleen and stomach, and
balancing qi. Like the citrus fruit itself, mandarin
peel is also rich in vitamin C, and antioxidants are
also found in higher concentrations in the peel,
which means more fighting off of free radicals.
You’ll most often find mandarin peels used in
teas, as well as a flavoring in stir fries with meat.
10. Mung beans
Properties of mung beans are
cool in nature and sweet in
taste. Its meridian affinities
heart and stomach. Function
of mung beans are to clear
heat, promote urination, lower
blood pressure and
cholesterol, to clear pesticide
and food poisoning, and treat
alcoholism and burns. Mung
beans are good for summer
heat because mung beans
can clear internal heat and
Ginseng is an antioxidant, which helps rid the body of free radicals.
There is also some evidence that ginseng boosts the immune system,
which can help the body fight off infection and disease. It is very
important that Ginseng can improve Qi, which is vital energy in the
body. Chinese medicine believer person is ill because Qi is week,
When the Qi is completely exhausted, death will occur. For this
reason, ginseng is often used as a second line of defense in
emergency situation especially for shock and coma in where patient is
inability to supply enough oxygen and blood for organ need.
circulation and treats phlegm in the lungs accompanied with cough. It
promotes circulation as well as sweating, and is used to treat joint
pain due to cold. Ginger also be used for digestive problems due to
yang deficiency (warming energy of body).
reduce allergic reactions and increases circulation. You’ll most often find it
combined with other TCM ingredients mixed into a tea, or bobbing around in a hot
In clinic jujube fates are used for insomnia, palpitation restlessness,
poor appetite, fatigue and diarrhea. Jujube dates are also rich in
calcium, phosphorus and potassium, which are great for
nourishment – and the fiber improves digestion as well. Winter time
when steeped with red sugar and jujubes.
7. Goji berries
Properties of Goji berries is neutral and sweet. Its
meridian affinities are kidney and liver. Its functions are
to tonify the Yin of liver and Kidneys, brighten the eye,
and moisten the lung. In clinic, it be used to treat kidney
essence deficiency such as spermatorrhea, premature
ejaculation, weak and low sperm, headache, tinnitus,
lower vision, dizziness, weakness and pains in back and
keen, poor appetite, fatigue, gray hair and premature
Properties of Jujube date is warm
and sweet. Its meridian affinity is
spleen and stomach. Its function
is to tonifies the spleen and
stomach Qi, tonifies blood, calms
the spirit, moderates the actions of
other herbs in formula.
spermatorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding, vaginal discharge,
palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, and diarrhe
Mung beans are nutritional powerhouses which packed with
potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber, and vitamin B6, So Mung beans
help to smooth over mood swings and control stress. Its fiber also
helps to regulate digestion and constipation.
13. China yam
In Chinese medicine, the functions of Chinese yam are:1) Strengthening the spleen and stomach to
help balance spleen-yang and stomach-yin deficiency. Therefore, clinically it treats loss of appetite, body
fatigue, diarrhea and other diseases. 2) Nourishing kidney and enriching essence to make body
stronger, increase sperm count and quality. In clinic, it is widely used for impotence, nocturnal emission,
abnormal vaginal discharge, frequent urination, and more. 3) Benefiting lung. In clinic. It is used to treat
chronic cough due to lung deficiency and phlegm. 4) Lowering blood sugar. Fresh yam contains mucus
protein that can lower blood sugar. Therefore, it is a good diabetic diet. 5) Promoting longevity. Raw yam
contains a lot of mucus protein, vitamins and trace elements, which can effectively stop the precipitation
of lipids in the blood vessel wall to prevent cardiovascular. 6) Preventing hepatic coma. Recent studies
have found that it is with sedative effect and can be used to prevent hepatic coma. 7) Soothing mood and
regulating sleep. Unlike ginseng, the medicinal properties of Chinese yams are quite mild and slow.
And it can soothe mood and adjust sleep while regulating the function of spleen.
Pears are sweet and cold in nature. Pears moisten the lungs and large
intestines. When pears are used for lung meridian disorder such as acute and
chronic bronchitis, coughing with or without sputum, pears need to be stewed or
steamed with crystal sugar. Pear tea can also help with clearing hot phlegm from a
cough. Eating raw pears or pears with skin before meal (an empty stomach) is
good for constipation (large intestines disorder).
11. Lily bulbs
According to Chinese medicine, the properties of lily
bulbs is sweet and slightly cold, which use to clear
body heat away. Lily bulbs are associated with the Lung
and Heart meridians. Therefore, Lily bulbs are used to
treat lung meridian disorders such as coughs, dry
throats, other respiratory conditions, and heart meridian
disorder such as anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations,
restlessness and irritability.
This dessert can reduce excessive phlegm to effectively
ease coughs caused by the common cold. It is the most
popular dessert in the cold seasons in China.
Pear, crystal sugar, Geji Berry, Jujube
3) Instructions: There are two ways to cool pear soup
A:To boil the pears
(1).Remove the cores of the
pears then slice them the way
(2).Add pear and all the other
ingredients into a pot.
(3)Firstly cook on high heat, and
change to light heat when the
water starts boiling.
(4) Continue to cook for 15
B:To steam the pears
(1) Cut off the top part of the
pears (about 1/5 to 1/4 of the
(2) Use a teaspoon to remove
the cores. Fill the holes with rock
sugar and half of the Goji
(3) Put the top part back (you can
use toothpicks to stabilize the
two parts) then put the pears
vertically into 2 small bowls.
(4) Sprinkle the remaining Goji berries around the pears.
Steam on medium heat for about 40 minutes
According to the Chinese medicine, the black chicken can help to boost the immune
system, increase female fertility, and nourish a pregnant women and also good food for
old people. Researchers said silkie chicken has full of antioxidant which helps to keep
your health, prevent sickness and common colds.
0ne Silkie chicken (black chicken), two medium ginseng roots, two inch ginger root,
sliced, twenty dry jujubes, two tbsp goji berries, one tsp sea salt or to taste, 1/2 cup rice
cooking wine (or any wine).
(1) Cut the whole chicken into small pieces by separating between the bones.
(2) Submerge the chicken in a pot of cold water, then bring the pot to a boil. Heating
up the water and chicken together will bring out the most impurity.
(3) Let the water boil for a couple minutes. There should be foam and scum
floating on the surface of the water. Turn off heat. Discard this batch of water.
(4) Rinse the chicken pieces to remove any scum that may be stuck on the chicken.
If re-using the same pot to make soup, rinse the pot to remove any stuck-on scum
(5) Fill a clean soup pot with 10 cups of clean water. Add
the clean chicken pieces, sliced ginger, and 2 medium
ginseng roots. Boil and simmer with lid on for 1 hour.
(6) Remove the ginseng roots from the soup, they should
be softened now. Cut the ginseng roots into slices, then
add them back into the soup pot. Add 20 clean jujubes
(red dates), then simmer for another 30 minutes.
(7) Add 1/2 cup of rice cooking wine, 2 tbsp of goji berries
into the soup pot. Season with sea salt to taste, about 1
tsp. The soup shouldn't taste salty, and it should be
slightly sweet. Simmer for another 15 minutes, remove
3. Two Soups Recipes that most use in Chinese food therapy
1. Pear soup
2. Silkie chicken soup
(All of those foods are available in any Chinese Store).