These are foods and herbs that rebuild the foundational components of the body, i.e. Qi (energy). For example, if your Chinese Medicine diagnosis is that your yin is relatively less than your yang in your body (yin deficiency) you will want to emphasize foods that tonify (or build) yin.
To use this section it is helpful to know what your Chinese medical diagnosis is. For example, if one has a lack of yin (yin deficiency), then one wants to choose foods to tonify yin. If one is too hot one wants to choose foods that are too cold. If one has stagnation one should choose foods to promote movement.
Categories of food according to Chinese Medicine Diagnosis
Chia seed, congee, oats, quinoa, rice, beef, chicken, herring, lamb, mussel, shrimp, milk, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, watercress, winter squash.
Microalgae, sprouts, leafy greens, chlorophyll-rich foods, seaweed, spirulina, mochi with mugwort, royal jelly, gelatin, carp soup, muscles, oysters, the liver of beef, lamb, or chicken, chicken gizzard.
Grains and legumes: millet, barley, wheat germ, wheat, rice, quinoa, amaranth, seaweeds, micro-algae (especially chlorella and spirulina), tofu, black beans, kidney beans, mung beans (and there sprouts).
Animal: Cow’s or goat’s milk, yogurt, cheese, etc., chicken, egg, clam, abalone, oyster, sardines, duck, beef, pork.
Fruits: persimmon, grapes, blackberry, raspberry, mulberry, banana, watermelon
Vegetables: beets, string beans, kuzu,
— one should cook daily soups, stews, congees (some sort of watery medium).
Animal: anchovy, mussel, trout, chicken, beef, lamb,
Fruit: cherry, citrus peal, date,
Grains, seeds, and spices: oats, spelt, quinoa, sunflower seed, sesame seed, walnut, pine nut, chestnut, fennel, dill, anise, caraway, carob pod, cumin, Sweet brown rice (and its products, i.e. moshi)
Vegetables: parsnip, parsley, mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage, kale, onion, leek, chive, garlic, scallion, cooked beans with ginger (e.g. black beans, lentils, aduki beans), hot peppers are warming only in small pitches, otherwise they have a strong cooling effect. This is also true of concentrated sweeteners.
Mussel, lentil, lamb kidney, chicken, microalgae (chlorella, spirulina, wild blue-green), fish, liver, kidney, brain, bone marrow, human placenta, and cereal grasses, milk, ghee, nettles, royal jelly, beef, millet, wheat, black sesame seed, black soybeans, chestnuts, mulberries, raspberries, strawberries, and walnuts.
When things get blocked up in the body Chinese Medicine diagnoses, stagnation. Although sometimes there is a deficiency that needs to be strengthened to eliminate the stagnation (above category), most of the time, things just need to be moved, invigorated, or opened up. The below foods promote movement and accomplish this goal. Remember any type of pain in the body is caused from stagnation (or blockage).
Spearmint, rosemary, scallions, garlic and all onion family members, cinnamon bark and branch, cloves, fresh and dried ginger root, black pepper, all hot peppers, cayenne, fennel, anise, dill, mustard greens, horseradish, basil, nutmeg, peppermint, marjoram, elder flowers, white pepper, radish and its leaves, taro, turnip.
Tumeric, scallions, nutmeg, spearmint, chives, garlic, vinegar, basil, peach seed, weak, ginger, chestnuts, rosemary, cayenne, eggplant, white pepper, aduki beans, sweet rice, butter.
These foods are best when you are getting a cold or flu. One should, although, pay attention to the thermal nature (hot and cold) of the condition and the foods chosen. If you are getting a cold (but feel hot and have other heat signs from a Chinese medical perspective) then one should emphasize cooler release the exterior foods.
Wind-Cold: oats, pine nuts, shrimp, ginger, fennel, basil, anise
Wind-Heat: celery, kuzu, mulberry, strawberry, peppermint
Neutral: black soybeans, black sesame seed, fresh flax oil
Internal Wind: celery, basil, sage, fennel, dried or fresh ginger, anise, oats, black soybeans, black sesame seed, kuzu, pine nut, coconut, fresh cold-pressed flax oil, shrimp.
lettuce, celery, turnip, rye, amaranth, aduki beans, wild blue-green micro-algae, asparagus, white pepper, alfalfa, pumpkin, vinegar, papaya.
soy (tofu, tempeh, soy milk, miso), spinach, asparagus, millet, barley, salt, seaweed, white fungus, apple, tangerine, pine nut, persimmon, peanuts, pear, honey, barley malt, sugar cane, whole sugar, oyster, clam, mussel, pork, and pork kidney.
lemons, apple, watermelon, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple, musk-melon, mung beans (in soup), summer squash, zucchini, cucumber, radish juice, bitter melon soup, watermelon juice.
Every condition can be divided into a thermal temperature of hot or cold. One should emphasize foods that are the opposite of the thermal nature you are diagnosed with. For example, if you have too much heat in the body you should emphasize cooler foods. It is possible to have a mixed pattern of hot and cold, and these situations are best sorted out by your Chinese medical practitioner.
Apple, banana, pear, persimmon, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomato, all citrus, lettuce, radish, cucumber, celery, button mushrooms, asparagus, Swiss chard, eggplant, spinach, summer squash, Chinese cabbage, bock choy, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, zucchini, soy milk, soy sprouts, tofu, tempeh, mung beans and their sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, millet, barley, wheat and its products, amaranth, kelp and all seaweed, spirulina, wild blue-green, oyster-shell calcium, wheat and barley grass, kudzu, yogurt, crab, clam.
Ginger root, black beans, aduki beans, lentils, cinnamon bark and twig, cloves, basil, rosemary, oats, spelt, quinoa, sunflower seed, sesame seed, walnuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, fennel, dill, anise, carraway, carob pod, cumin, sweet brown rice, parsnip, parsley, mustard greens, winter squash, cabbage, kale, onion, leek, chives, garlic, scallions, cherry, citrus deal, date, hot peppers, butter, and anchovy, mussel, trout, chicken, beef, lamb.
Warming acrid: spearmint, rosemary, scallion, garlic, all onion members, cinnamon bark and branch, cloves, fresh and dried ginger root, black pepper, hot peppers, cayenne, fennel, anise, dill, mustard greens, horseradish, basil, nutmeg
Cooling acrid: peppermint, marjoram, elderflower’s, white pepper, radish and its leave
Neutral acrid: taro, turnip, kohlrabi.
Salty: salt, seaweed, soy sauce, miso, pickles, umeboshi; barley and millet (although primarily sweet).
Sour: Hawthorne berry, lemon, lime, pickles, rose hip, sauerkraut, sour apple (crab apple), sour plum
Sour-sweet: aduki bean, apple, blackberry, cheese, grape, huckleberry, mango, olive, raspberry, sourdough bread, tangerine, tomato, yogurt.
Bitter: Alfalfa, bitter melon, romaine lettuce, rye
Bitter-acrid: citrus peel, radish leaf, scallion, turnip, white pepper.
Bitter-sweet: amaranth, asparagus, celery, lettuce, papaya, quinoa
Sweet: Apple, apricot, cherry, date, fig, grape, grapefruit, olive, papaya, peach, pear, strawberry, tomato, beet, button mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, celery, chard, cucumber, eggplant, kuzu, lettuce, potato, shitake mushroom, spearmint, squash, sweet potato, yam, almond, chestnut, coconut, sesame see and oil, sunflower seed, walnut, amasake, barley malt, honey, molasses, rice syrup, whole sugar.
Adapted from Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford.
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Open Gate Acupuncture, located in Boulder Colorado, serves patients throughout the Boulder county region including Denver, Longmont, Gunbarrel, Lafayette, & Louisville.
Jason Blalack has been treating patients in Boulder for over 16 years, is an international lecturer on Chinese medicine and has an extensive collection of Chinese medicine articles published in professional journals worldwide. Jason specializes in autoimmune, digestive disorders, fertility, and emotional disorders.