Traditional Chinese Medicine series #4

Food and Eight Principles:

Food can be used to clear the exterior and bring about diaphoresis. It can also be used to warm the interior and support Zang Fu function. Besides flavors, food have directions and thermal properties (in terms of their effects). Some foods are neutral while others are cool, cold, warm or hot. Hot conditions can be subdued with cool foods, while cold conditions can be warmed by hot foods. Deficiencies can be corrected with foods that support the body’s weakness. Excesses can be drained and the balance between Yin and Yang restored. Changes may not occur immediately; but, given time, food can be the most influential factor for maintenance of health of all forms of therapy. Foods also have energies capable of generating the sensations in the body upon consumption. The five energies of foods are cold, hot, warm, cool and neutral. These energies act upon the body in different ways and can be used to treat conditions which are caused by imbalances in the bodies energy. Symptoms caused by cold conditions can be alleviated by consumption of warm or hot foods, while hot conditions can be helped by cool or cold foods. Examples:






Bamboo shoots


Egg Yolk

Brown sugar

Black pepper





Cinnamon bark







Chicken egg



Green pepper



White sugar

Green onion

Red pepper





Soybean oil





Sugar cane





Mung bean

Egg Yolk


Excess conditions can be assisted by feeding foods which help control or counterbalance the abnormal energetics involved. Deficiencies can also be helped with food.

Actions of Foods:

ARREST BLEEDING: Black fungus, chestnut, Chicken eggshell, cottonseed, cuttlebone, guava, lotus plumule, spinach, vinegar


CLEAR TOXINS: banana, black soybean, clam (freshwater), cucumber, date (red & black), fig, honey, radish, aduki red bean, star fruit, vinegar

DISPERSE BLOOD STAGNATION: Brown sugar, chive, chive root, crab, saffron, vinegar

DISPERSE COLD: Ginger (fresh), wine

INDUCE BOWEL MOVEMENT: Castor bean, sesame oil

LUBRICATE DRYNESS: Tofu, chicken egg & yolk, honey, maltose, pear, pork, sesame oil, spinach, yellow soybean

LUBRICATE INTESTINES: Banana, peach, soybean oil, walnut, watermelon

LUBRICATE LUNGS: Apple, apricot, chicken egg white, ginseng, lily flower, loquat, peanuts, persimmon, strawberry, white fungus

PROMOTE BLOOD CIRCULATION: Black soybean, brown sugar, chestnut, peach, saffron, and sweet basil, wine

PROMOTE DIGESTION: Apple, coriander, ginseng, green & red pepper, nutmeg, papaya, pineapple, plum, radish & leaf, sweet basil, tomato

PROMOTE ENERGY CIRCULATION: dill seeds, dry mandarin orange peel, fennel, garlic, radish leaf, spearmint, star anise, tangerine,

PROMOTE URINATION: Asparagus, barley, Chinese cabbage, carrot, coffee, corn, cucumber, grape, kidney bean, lettuce, mandarin orange, mango, mung bean, onion, pineapple, plum, star fruit, water chestnut, watermelon

REDUCE FEVER: Muskmelon, star fruit, water chestnut

RELIEVE ASTHMA: Bitter apricot seed

TONIFY BLOOD DEFICIENCY: Beef, chicken egg & yolk, cuttlefish, oyster, spinach

TONIFY QI DEFICIENCY: Sweet apricot seed, tofu, beef, brown sugar, chicken, eel, maltose, potato, sweet rice, sweet potato

TONIFY KIDNEYS: Black sesame seed, string bean, sword bean, wheat, kidney

TONIFY LIVER: Black sesame seed, liver

TONIFY SPLEEN: Beef, ham, white rice, potato, string bean, sweet potato, yellow soybean

WARM INTERIOR: Black & white pepper, chicken, chive roots, clove, fennel, dried ginger, green & red pepper, nutmeg, sword bean



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11 responses to “Traditional Chinese Medicine series #4

  1. I love thinking of food as a medicine, because essentially, it is! Mother Nature knows what she is doing, eh? 🙂


  2. GREAT info! Thanks!

    Have a great week, Coco! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Highlights of Sunday & a recipe « Balance, Joy and Delicias

  4. So neat!! This was my favorite of all the TCM posts because it listed specific foods to eat for specific conditions. It’s so interesting Coco. thanks for sharing this information.

    HAve a great day!

  5. Loving these TCM posts, Coco!

    Funny how chicken eggs are cool and chicken is warm. Hmm…And I can totally see how ginger, red peppers would be hot. Very neat….

  6. Daniella

    I am not sure where it falls under here, it is sweet, but anyway Star Anise is guaranteed to relieve the bowel upset that comes with my period. I have to have it on hand!
    Thanks for this helpful and neat post!!

  7. Katherine

    Loquat is for cough and lung in Chinese medicine. Sometimes i would take the Ninjiom Pei Pa Koa (a famous loquat syrup) when got scratchy throat.

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