Common Foods Used In Chinese Nutritional Therapy To Treat Flu and Colds

People automatically think of acupuncture, when they talk about Chinese medicine; however, equally (perhaps, even more) important to Chinese medicine is Chinese herbs. This type of medicine works on the theory that each herb wields a variety of effects on the body via the organ or organs it influences and via its inherent actions and temperature.

Foods, like herbs, also possess therapeutic attributes. There are foods that are also actually considered herbs because they impact the body in a very powerful way. They include:

o Garlic: This food/herb is strong enough to kill parasites in your body. It’s used for food poisoning (food toxicity) with symptoms such as dysentery and diarrhea, and a preventative measure against flu.

o Ginger: A warm herb that’s known to help heal an upset stomach. Eat broth made of ginger and scallions to combat the early stages of a cold.

o Scallions: Scallions have moving (dispersing) and warming qualities. As mentioned above, scallions boiled with ginger are ideal remedies against the early stages of a cold. Before going to bed, drink the broth that will give you a mild sweat to break the cold before it becomes worse.

o Chinese dates: If you need to tonify your Spleen, this is an ideal food to eat. Symptoms of a weak spleen include lack of energy, weak appetite, fatigue, and shortness of breath. You can purchase Chinese dates in health food stores and Asian markets. You can add them to other dishes and salads or you can eat them alone.

o Hawthorne fruit: This herb is sold in Asian groceries and markets in the form of a supplement or candy named Hawflakes. In Chinese medicine, hawthorne is ideal for indigestion which in Chinese medicine is known as food stagnation.

o Cinnamon: An energy moving and warm herb. Ideal for various types of pains and aches and for colds.

o Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts are used to alleviate constipation and help moisten the intestines. They are also used in Chinese food and herbal therapy in Jacksonville to moisten the intestines and relieve constipation. They are also deemed to help tonify the Chinese Kidney and make one live for a very long time.

o Mung beans: Mung beans can be ideal for a Chinese medicine condition known as Summerheat. Eat the beans by first boiling it until it becomes soft. Along with eating the beans, you can also drink the water the beans were cooked in. If that doesn’t sound appealing, make it into a soup by adding some vegetables, seasoning, and a little broth.

o Goji berries: These berries have been the focus of attention for the past several years due to its ingredients that promote longevity and health. They are also called Chinese Wolfberries and have a sweet and sour taste, and are red. Chinese medicine practitioners have been using them to treat eye problems such as diminished eyesight due to aging and blurry vision. Eating them can benefit the Chinese Kidneys, which are affiliated with aging.

o Watermelon: There are good reasons why you often love to eat watermelon on a humid and hot day. Watermelon is a moistening and cooling food, and is also used to address Summerheat, a condition generates that a nauseous feeling when the weather is sticky and very hot.

The Uses And Various Aspects Of Nei Gong

In English, Nei Gong means “internal work.” It is a set of breathing exercises that has been practiced for thousands of years in China to soothe and calm the spirit, body, and mind. Furthermore, Nei Gong can be used to promote weight loss, tonify the skin, and improve health as well as boost the immune system which gives the body the strength to combat and ward off disease and illness.

This type of Chinese therapy originated in China and its knowledge and traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. The techniques of yoga, tai chi, and qi gong owe their roots to the healing practices of Nei Gong. It is a type of internal martial art that has everything to do with internal strength. It can help strengthen your actions without needing to exert a lot of effort.

In Nei Gong, the practitioner performs a series of steps that excites the inner energy for revival to its pristine state of being. Nei Gong’s internal elements work in combination with qi gong’s external energy elements which lead to balance of energy or chi. The motions are continuous and fluid, as well as laconic and slow. One of Nei Gong’s internal styles is Neijia that involves the work of internal martial art, which fuses occasional rapid eruption of movements with slow movements whilst bringing in a state of relaxation.

Nei Gong Has Many Types

Certain Nei Gong practices concentrate on breathing and in the harmonizing and coordinating of the body. It is not about the body’s physical movements but how the body moves. It is usually combined with breathing exercises to generate inner peace and relaxation.

Nei Gong is also a meditate art that allows your body to be more conscious of normal body processes, like balance, musculoskeletal alignment and movement, digestion, and the flow of blood in the body. The non-martial art practice of NeiGong is considered an indispensible way to maintain a program of optimal health. It is the manifestation of the Three Treasures of Shen, Chi, and Jing, known respectively as spirit, vitality, and essence.

The Benefits of Nei Gong

An important component of all internal martial arts, Nei Gong connects the body with the mind through physical movement and breathing. Its regular practice can give you more power to deeply concentrate which enables you to reflect internally which can lead to an enlightened self awareness of your body. Your body becomes stronger and your health improved when you alter what arises inside the body.

You may feel an increase of your energy within the first practice. You may also experience a new degree of body awareness which can enhance your self confidence. Besides this, you may see that your sleep patterns have improved and thus may need less sleep. Because of the benefits of enhanced relaxation, you may also see that your high blood pressure readings decrease. All in all, you experience a much improved sensations of tranquility, peace and well being.

Nei Gong has techniques that help you exercise to improve your physical condition, enable the body to detoxify the body of harmful substances, and to help you attain a deeper understanding of spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical states.

All these things bring your spirit, body, and mind to a harmonious balance of chi which leads to a better quality of life, decrease in stress, and improved health.

Acupuncture Health Center
1303 Astor St #101
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 715-1824

The Role Of Chinese Nutritional Therapy In The Prevention And Elimination of Dampness In The Body

Based on energetic principles, Chinese nutritional therapy is used to promote clean burning digestion, balance, and an optimally functioning body that’s filled with energy and free of disease.

Chinese medicine practitioners are trained in bringing back balance to the body when it becomes imbalanced and manifests disease or pain. They are taught how to use herbs and needles, and other tools including tai chi, qi gong, and nutritional or dietary therapy. While these techniques are designed to rectify imbalances to heal disease, the more important thing is to not allow the body to fall into imbalance in the first place.

Chinese nutritional therapy pinpoints and resolves the underlying imbalance patterns that are causing your symptoms.

Foods That Generate Dampness In The body

For thousands of years, the Chinese have been eating for balance as a way of life. Balance is a concept deeply implanted into their cultural choices of what and when to eat. In the Chinese diet, the foods and ingredients chosen are based on their nutritional value and also on their taste and nutrition. Foods such as pearled barley and spices such as ginger are common. Barley has long been discovered by the Chinese to drain dampness, while ginger helps promote digestion. Selecting spices and herbs that contribute to good digestion is easy to understand. But in the Chinese diet, another principle unfamiliar to most Westerners is aimed for, and that is to drain dampness from the body.


Dampness is derived from the eating of foods that cause blockage to the free flow of energy within the body. Sugar, white flour, yogurt, and cheese are some of these foods that contribute to dampness. This condition leads to the stagnation of fluids in the body by creating blockages in the body that causes the bodily systems malfunction resulting in disease and pain. Swollen joints, excess weight, constipation, and loose stools are some of the signs of the buildup of dampness. Arthritis and chronic allergies are a few of the more common Western diseases associated with dampness. Once it accumulates, dampness can be hard to treat, so we should eat in a way that would help prevent it from forming in the first place.

Dampness Begins In Your Digestive System

How is dampness formed? Do you have any idea how food is processed in your body? The Chinese have been observing the process of digestion for over 2,500 years and have declared proper digestion the bedrock of the Chinese Medicinal system and the basis of good health. The formation and buildup of dampness begins in the digestive system.

When you eat, food is masticated in your mouth and then swallowed where it passes through the abdomen and intestines. Energy from the foods is extracted in the intestines and the waste products are ejected at the other end. The energy extracted from the food is transformed into bioelectrical energy called Chi or Qi which provides the fuel your body needs to live. Normally, digestion is a quiet and unnoticeable process. To extract the maximum amount of nutrition and energy from the food, your digestive system should be clean burning and quiet. ‘Clean burning’ is similar to metabolism. If the foods you ingest are metabolized properly, the food is utilized efficiently and there’s no leftover residue after excretion of waste material. But if you have a clogged up system, the food materials and energy don’t get separated well enough and despite expelling waste materials, leftover residue can still stick to various places in the body. This residue is regarded as ‘dampness’ and it affects the functions of your body in many ways.

The lungs and others organs can clog from the buildup of dampness, causing asthma or allergies. When the digestive tract becomes clogged, bowel problems or indigestion can develop. Damp can also block the meridians, which are the pathways where Chi flows. This results in stiffness, pain, or swollen joints. If dampness is not removed from the body, over time, it turns warm and wreaks havoc in the body causing inflammatory diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. In Chinese medicine, one of the keys to treating disease is to understand and treat dampness. It is important not to allow dampness to develop in the first place because it is extremely hard to remove once it has accumulated.

Chinese Nutritional Therapy

Chinese medicine has quite a number of foods to recommend that can help anyone achieve good health. If you’ve been to a Chinese restaurant, you might notice that the meals are built around cooked vegetables, steamed rice, and small portions of bean or animal protein. In Chinese restaurants of higher quality, cooking oils are used minimally and sparingly. If you avoid flour-based food products and foods that are deep fried, you have the basic nutritional Chinese diet, which, at any age, is designed to maintain and/or foster balance in the body.


When you order a dish in a Chinese restaurant, you might see large amounts of lightly cooked vegetables on a typical plate of Chinese food. This is because vegetables are rich in life giving nutrients and contribute greatly in the draining of dampness in the body. Different textures and colors generate a combination that is both pleasing to the palate and the eye. Texture and taste can play an important role in the regulation of your appetite. Satiety is guaranteed by eating a wide variety of foods, so you feel full. Different colors indicate a wide range of antioxidants and nutrients that boost longevity and health. It’s recommended that you start with half a plate of lightly cooked vegetables and as leafy greens are one of the most nutrient rich and balancing foods you can eat, you might want to eat lots of them.


Rice is an easily digestible and balanced food. It is a hypoallergenic food and gentle to the digestive system so it should be recommended to people sensitive to allergies. Brown or white rice are interchangeable and you should choose the one that your body more easily digests. Brown rice is deemed to be more nourishing while white rice tends to be more cleansing. In Chinese Medicine, rice is a food that is ‘clean burning’ which implies that it can gently drain dampness off your body. It should comprise 25 percent of your plate.


Beans and small portions of animal protein are essential in a Chinese nutritional diet. As beans provide protein and fiber and absorb dampness, they can be consumed more often. Animal proteins can be difficult to digest, which is the reason they should be served in small portions. They are considered ‘building’ foods. An ideal serving of animal protein would be around two to four ounces and served three to four times a week. The other 25 percent of your plate would comprise your choice of protein.

Avoid Cold Raw Food

Chinese nutritional therapy would never recommend raw cold food of any type. This includes frozen foods, iced drinks, chilled food and salads. In the development of damp, cold, raw foods are culprits mainly because the body has a hard time processing them. The foods you eat should be approximately body temperature in order for the digestive system to begin breaking them down and extract their essence. Your energetic resources can be overstrained when the foods inside your body still need to be heated by your body. Over time, this weakens your energy system. Well-cooked grains and lightly cooked vegetables help your digestive system to immediately extract energy without needing to heat them first to body temperature. Despite the fact that raw foods such as salads possess more nutrients and enzymes and nutrients, their net gain is lower compared to that of cooked vegetables because you lose energy to the internal heating process as your body tries to assimilate these foods.

Also, No Dairy

You will never find any dairy products such as milk, butter, or cheese on a Chinese menu. Dairy also generates dampness in the body. Cold is the energetic nature of dairy which impairs digestion, even if it’s heated. In Chinese nutritional therapy, dairy is deemed to be a building food but it is meant to be eaten only by people who are undernourished. If you’re well-fed, dairy will only stagnate the function of your bodily systems.


Calcium is a highly touted mineral in Western societies. Western doctors and the media pushes dairy as the only source of this bone building mineral. This is a lie. Foods high in calcium that are just as important in the development of strong robust bones include broccoli, leafy greens, salmon, and almonds. They all can meet your daily calcium requirements especially when you eat several servings of vegetables each day, and each week you can add almonds and small servings of salmon to your diet.


Sugar quickly produces damp in the body. Unfortunately, “health foods” such as energy bars and sweetened yogurt as well as candy and soda are oversaturated with sugar and are widely over-consumed in the West. Interestingly, in Chinese nutritional therapy, sweet flavor is deemed to be nourishing. Most of the foods in the Chinese diet are mainly sweet. In Chinese medicine, sweet does not mean concentrated sugars; it means vegetables, animal proteins, and rice. If vegetables are sweet foods, you can imagine the oversaturated sweetness of a piece of candy. The digestive organs benefit tremendously from the sweet flavor of vegetables, meat, and rice. Sugar and other concentrated sweets weaken the ability of the body to turn food into energy and to move waste materials for elimination. Incompletely converted food turns into dampness, and over time, accumulates causing blockage and sickness.

In Chinese nutritional therapy, there are five different flavors to food: sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour. Balance those flavors according to the current season, disease pattern, and your body type.

Seasonal Eating

Different food choices and altering cooking methods are needed to match the different seasons of the year. In winter, people naturally eat heavier, more warming foods such as baked foods, stews, and soups. Cooler and lighter kinds of foods that can be quickly cooked such as steamed vegetables are much preferred by people during summer. Food choices should vary based on the current season in order to be in tune with the natural environment. During colder months and weather, eat warmer foods and during warmer days and months, eat cool and cold foods to keep you healthy at all times.

In addition, eating the foods that’s indigenous to your region will help maintain the balance in your body. A person living near the equator, for example, where all year round is warm weather, would eat foods that are different from that eaten by people living in cold, southern or northern climates. A person in a tropical climate would naturally avail himself of tropical fruits since they probably grow in abundance in that region and climate. Someone living in northern temperate regions would probably find it difficult to find a tropical fruit sold in their area let alone, grown there.

Without indoor refrigeration and swift transportation on any point on the globe, a lot of modern food choices would not exist. Humans naturally eat what is in season and what is locally available. Preservation techniques have become very efficient although the preserved foods still have to be cooked first. The grocery store of today sells tropical and temperate climate foods such as pineapples, watermelons, and grapes all year round. Some of those foods may not grow in your part of the world and eating them liberally over the course of time will eventually lead to imbalances.

Eating in-season, local foods are still commonly practiced in many regions of the globe. Many studies have been done on indigenous cultures that have a large number of people living beyond a hundred years. Most of these studies focus on the dietary habits of those people to discover the secret behind their longevity and health. Certain foods they eat are isolated by scientists in order to find the key to their healthy and long lives. However, a lot of these studies often overlook the fact that the indigenous people have never consumed foods that have been grown outside their region. Also, when those longevity studies are seen from the viewpoint of Chinese nutritional therapy, there are several resemblances between their choices of food. Conspicuously noticeable are the significant absence of processed and sugary foods and smaller portions of protein as well as a large ratio of whole grains, rice and locally grown vegetables compared to their Western counterparts.

Thrive Wellness Center
1244 S Federal Hwy
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Phone: (954) 713-6118

The Role Of The Heart In Traditional Chinese Medicine

Most of us acknowledge that our heart is the body organ most closely linked to emotion. The terms heartache, heartbroken, sweetheart, or heartstring come to mind. More often than not, the heart is not associated with subtlety; the emotions it embodies always seem to be on opposite poles, either extreme joy or intense sadness.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the heart has a physical responsibility which is somewhat similar to its roles in Western medicine. In TCM, the heart controls the sweat and the blood vessels. Profuse perspiration is an indication that the heart needs to be supported and built up (tonified). The organ also can affect speech because it also controls the tongue. Signs of a deficient heart include speech difficulties such as loss of words and stuttering.

However, the heart has a main responsibility which is to control the shen and house the mind. “Shen” can be determined by the general health and well being of the mind. You will know a good spirited and healthy person just by looking at their eyes. Their eyes have a sense of health and a certain bright lucidity that sparkles from within. For acupuncturists, this person would be acknowledged as having good shen.

On the other hand, there are people with eyes that when you look at them seem to be cloudy and dull or shifty (their eyes tend to shift from side to side). These people have a poor or weak shen. This unhealthy shen can sometimes be caused by distraction or mild depression; it can also indicate mental imbalance if the shen is severely unwell.

The heart is both the victim and cause of extreme joy. A lot of people would consider extreme joy as a good thing, but it can lead to ADHD or manic depression. ADHD is sometimes due to the heart not controlling the mind properly.

Some wise people believe that the job of the heart is to maintain proper timing in life. An example of this would be a person wearing a bathing suit. If this person wears a bathing suit for a business meeting, this indicates that his heart was not him giving the correct information on what to appropriately wear on a specific occasion. But if he wears the suit in summer in a swimming pool, his heart is doing its job. This means, the heart’s responsibility is to maintain the correct behavior for the appropriate situation.

Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.