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The Yin and the Yang of Chinese Food

Yin Yang of Foods




f e e d b a c k

Rasha says: "Thanks for your informative page, "YIN AND YANG ---- The Ki Quality of Food". I was hoping you might be able to help me locate a comprehensive list of TCM foods and their qualities. Besides your page, I have found a good resource at http://tcmhealthbc.com/table2.htm but the list of foods there is still quite incomplete. Nonetheless, as it is the best I have found so far, I turned it into a Google spreadsheet: here. I have considered merging your info into that sheet, but I am still hoping to find a more complete list. Any additional resources you might be able to point me to would be appreciated! I would really like to develop an online tool that would allow you to enter your Qi diagnosis (i.e., according to your acupuncturist), and show you a list of the best and worst foods/herbs to treat it."
Miss C says: "Hi! I just read an article that i think was written by you....... {?}......... about traditional chinese medicine and cooling foods. the article was great! I'm melting here in the southern california heat!, and after reading your article, i'm about to go into the kitchen and see if i can find any cooling foods according to your list."
Roy says: "Hello Rob! Great site!! I am however totally confused about some foods! I find them on different lists on different sites! Are you totally sure that cherries are yin, peeled shrimps-cooked and frozen-are yang, dried coconut is yang and is tumeric yin or yang? Please help! Thanks alot and God Bless, Roy( in Sweden)."
Holt says: "I was rummaging through google's search engine for an answer to Asia's age old philosophy concerning Hot and Cold Qi foods. In Asia's culture, foods that are Hot Qi by nature can cause the body to break out in pimples or even become sick if there is an over consumption. The cure, as you know would be to eat cold Qi foods to restore this imbalance. My question to you is, what is the western explanation behind this superstition or idea? Being Asian myself, I have experienced this idea to be true yet my logical side can not accept the science behind it. Thank you for your time."
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c r o w d e d + w o r l d // a s i a n + w i s d o m // c h i n e s e + m e d i c i n e // y i n & y a n g + f o o d s

YIN AND YANG ---- The Ki Quality of Food.



IT WAS A COLD AND RAINY CHIRSTMAS ON THE SOUTH-EAST COAST OF AUSTRALIA THIS YEAR, THE WIND OFTEN DRIVING, AND THE WET GLOOM MORE REMINISCENT OF THE LA NINA YEAR WE HAD LAST YEAR, THAN THE WANNABE EL NINO YEAR WE ARE ENDURING NOW. Of course, Australian Christmases are not meant to be cold, and in anticipation of a typical Downunder scorcher my Mum had pre-ordered a batch of seafood for lunch, to dish up as a summery alternative to the traditional roast. The plan was we would sit out under the trees by the lake (Budgewoi Lake, on the NSW Central Coast north of Sydney), drinking cold beers and pigging out on oysters, cold prawns, Balmain bug (a relative of the lobster), and other Aussie classics. My Mum probably assumed all this chilled food and drink would chill us out, both physically and figuratively. What she didn't realize, however, was that some of these foods (such as the lobster) are actually considered warming foods in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and are perhaps just as warming for the body as the more traditional Christmas turkey and baked potatoes and ham! In other words, you wouldn't necessarily get a cooling effect from eating such fare on a hot day, no matter how long they'd been kept in a fridge (according to TCM, at least!) That said, my Mum had got something right by serving up a small bowl of Japanese wakame seaweed salad, to complement the seafood. As a type of seaweed, wakame is classed as a cold yin food, and is thus perfect for summer. Like many Japanese foods, wakame has some awesome health benefits, and is packed with valuable nutrients, much more than the average vegetable. Even more astoundingly, wakame is purported to cleanse the body from toxins including radiation poisoning! Just before I left Tokyo last year, in the crazy aftermath of the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima, there was a huge rush on seaweed products, everyone was stocking up on them, and it was widely believed they would help protect the thyroid gland from contamination. The ancient east Asians knew of seaweed's detoxifying powers, and made use of it in their medicine. As it turned out, Christmas Day was rainy and cold, so we didn't need any extra yin in our lunch this year. In fact, we could have done with a bit more yang! (For more on the yin/yang properties of food in TCM and how they can improve your health, click here.)

Seafood Christmas lunch in an Australian style, but with a centrepiece of cooling, detoxifying Japanese wakame salad. Picture copyright Robert Sullivan 2012.

WHAT IS THE QI NATURE OF FOOD? What is yin and yang, that essential dichotomy which lies at the heart of Oriental thought? Why are noodles and chicken and turkey considered "cold" foods (even when eaten hot!), while eggplants and dogmeat are considered "hot"? (and thus perfect meals for cold Chinese and Korean and Vietnamese winter nights) Welcome my friends to the wondrous world of Chinese medicine and cuisine and philosophy -- a world of energy meridians and age-old folk remedies, strange foods and even stranger customs. While many in the West have a cynical view of Chinese medicine (TCM), a growing minority are starting to warm to the accumulated body of Eastern wisdom. Personally, I think there is actually something powerful to TCM and other related fields. This stuff can change your life, if you are only open to experimenting with them. And experimenting with Chinese medicine and the Yin/Yang nature of food, is the entire point of this website.


THE NATURE OF KI -

In Oriental cultures the lifeforce of the Universe is considered to be a myterious kind of energy called "Qi" or "Ki". In Japanese for example there is a familiar greeting "Genki desu ka?" which literally means "How is your original lifeforce?" -- is your lifeforce in good order? Charlie Badenhop from the School of Seishindo describes "qi"/"ki" as "common energy source (ki) that helps to run and maintain our environment as well as our individual human systems". He goes on to write:

"It is suggested that ki was "born" at the same instant as the rest of the universe, and that we are all born from the ki of the universe. Ki is considered to be an energy that we all have equal access to. It is an energy that courses through our system if we do not restrict it."


I understand what Badenhop means. Have ever you had a dramatic spiritual or emotional experience and felt energy literally rushing through your body? I believe this is Qi energy at work, moving through the body. And it is from my experience a physical energy -- a strong energy.

Some ten years ago I was meditating in my bedroom in Australia and listening to music on a Walkman at the same time. Suddenly I had a spiritual realisation about the beauty of life and felt energy surging from my head to my toes. Momentarily, the batteries inside my Walkman, which was sitting on my chest, went dead, and the music came to a stop. It was if the Qi energy in my body had interfered with the energy in the Walkman batteries, and disrupted its flow. A few seconds later, the batteries came back to life, and the music resumed playing. However, part of the cassette tape had been erased -- the exact part I was listening to when the battery "blackout" happened. So, I have physical proof that Qi energy exists -- I don't care what the scientists say. Part of that cassette tape had been wiped clean by the radiation coming out of my body. Once we accept that Qi exists, we can begin finding ways to lift its power and improve its flow. This is what acupuncture and feng sui are all about.


YIN AND YANG -

The Ancient Chinese regarded "yin" and "yang" as the two basic forces which underlied the entire Universe. According to the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine, supposed to have been written during the third millennium BCE by the mythical Yellow Emperor:

"Heaven was created by the concentration of Yang, the force of light, earth was created by the concentration of Yin, the forces of darkness. Yang stands for peace and serenity; Yin stands for confusion and turmoil. Yang stands for destruction; Yin stands for conservation. Yang brings about disintegration; Yin gives shape to things...."


The polarity of the Universe is perfectly expressed in the famous Taoist Yin/Yang symbol, in which darkness and light crash upon each other as waves, and embrace each other like lovers. Neither side is stronger than the other. Neither side is absolute -- even in the heart of darkness there is a point of light. The moral extremists who are seizing power in the world would do well to contemplate this sacred symbol. Good and bad are intertwined, and rapidly give way to each other, just as summer crashes all over winter, and consumes it. The cycle of life is dynamic, always changing. This can be seen in every aspect of the Universe.


The balance between Yin and Yang is very important to the body. For example, it plays a major role in the production of hormones such as progesterone, glycogen and insulin and the expansion and contraction of the lungs, etc. Food is a major source of energy and therefore diet can be modified to change the Yin or Yang state of the body. Foods are able to balance Yin and Yang, and Qi and blood in the body. To prevent and cure diseases, both foods and medicines could exert important roles since they share the same source, are based on the same theory, and have similar medicinal actions, so food and herbs are combined in clinical use. As always, a balanced way of eating desired, relying mainly on grains, beans, seeds, nuts and vegetables, etc.


Ultimately, failure to maintain energetic balance is the root to many illnesses: excessive Yin leads to weakness and excessive Yang to restlessness manifested in inflammation and ulcers. Yin food includes fruits and vegetables whilst yang food includes meat. A more comprehensive list of yin and yang foods can be seen below.

Yin is where energy is expanding and yang is where it is contracting. Food can be divided into three main types-those that are 'balanced', and some that are yin and some that are yang.


YIN FOODSTUFFS --
Milk
Alcohol
Honey
Sugar
Oil
Fruit juices
Spices
Stimulants
Most drugs (such as aspirin)
Tropical vegetables and fruits
Refined foods
Most food additives of a chemical nature.

YANG FOODSTUFFS

Poultry
Seafood
Eggs
Meat
Salt
Fish
Cheese
(This is just a brief list. Between YIN and YANG are the balanced, neutral foodstuffs -- and remember, in the middle is where you want to be to get optimum health and power.)


NEUTRAL FOODSTUFFS:
Seeds
Nuts
Vegetables
Cereal grains
Beans
Sea vegetables
Temperate fruits (such as apples and pears)

YIN and YANG foods can be further broken down into four categories -- cold, cool, warm and hot. These categories have nothing to do with the physical temperatures of the foods, but the energetic effect on the body. For example, Korean and Vietnamese people believe that eating dogmeat heats the body, so it would be considered a "hot" food even if it was eaten cold. As with YIN and YANG foods, the ideal is to stick to the middle. This is why Chinese loves stir-fry mixes of meat and vegetables together in the same dish -- a big range of foods ensures a healthy balance of cool, cold, warm and hot energies.


COLD

VEGETABLES:
Asparagus
Bean Sprouts
Bok Choi
Califlower
Celery
Chinese Cabbage
Chrysanthemum flower
Cucumber
Dandelion leaf
Eggplant
Seaweed
Snow peas
Turnip
Water chestnuts
White mushroom
White peony root
Zucchini
FRUITS:
Banana
Blueberry
Cantaloupe
Cranberry
Grapefruit
Kiwi
Lemon
Mango
Mulberry
Persimmon
Plum
Pineapple
Rhubarb
Tangerine
Tomato
Watermelon
GRAINS:
Wheat germ
MEAT:
Clam
Crab
Octopus
SPICES
Salt
White pepper.
MISC:
Soy sauce
Sugar cane
Tofu

COOL

VEGETABLES:
Alfalfa sprouts Artichoke
Bamboo shoots
Bitter Gourd
Button mushroom
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrot
Cooked Lettuce
Cooked Onion
Corn
Daikon radish
Endive lettuce
Lotus root
Mushrooms
Potato
Snow Pea
Soybean Sprouts
Spinach
Swiss chard
Tomato
FRUITS:
Apple
Avocado
Black currant
Cherries
Fig
Lemon
Oranges
Pear
Prunes
Strawberries
Tangerine
GRAINS
Amaranth
Barley
Buckwheat
Millet
Wheat
Wild rice
SEEDS
Lima beans
Mung bean
Soybean
MEAT
Duck egg
Duck
Eggs
Frog
Oysters
Pork
Rabbit
SPICES
Cilantro leaf
Marjoram
Mint
Peppermint
Tamarind
MISC
Beer
Cheese
Green tea
Milk
Miso soup
Oolong Tea
Peppermint
Sesame oil
Yogurt

WARM

VEGETABLES
Bell pepper
Chive
Cooked Tomato
Fennel
Green bean
Green Pepper
Kale
Kohlrabi
Leek
Mustard green
Onion
Oyster mushroom.
Parsley
Parsnip
Pumpkin
Squash
Sweet potato
Watercress
FRUITS
Blackberry
Coconut
Dates
Grapes
Hawthorn fruit
Kumquat
Litchi
Longan
Nectarines
Pomegranates
Quince
Raspberry
GRAINS
Oats
Quinoa
Safflower
Sweet/glutinous rice
SEEDS
Black bean
Chestnut
Lotus seed
Pine nut
Walnut
MEAT
Anchovy
Beef
Butter
Capers
Chicken
Eel
Fresh water fish
Ham
Lobster
Mussels
Pig tripe
Sheep & goat
Sheep's milk
Shrimp
Turkey
Venison
SPICES
Anise
Basil
Bay leaf
Caraway
Carob
Clove
Coriander (also known as Chinese parsley or Pak Chee, in Thai.)
Cumin
Dill seed
Fennel
Fenugreek
Fresh ginger
Jasmine
Nutmeg
Rosemary
Sage
Spearmint
Thyme
SWEETENERS
Amasake
Brown sugar
Malt sugar
Molasses
Sorghum
MISC
Black tea
Coffee
Goats milk
Plum vinegar
Rice vinegar
Wine
Vinegar

HOT

VEGETABLES
Garlic
Green onion
Raw onions
Red pepper
MEAT
Deep-fried or grilled meat.
Dog.
Grass fish.
Sparrow meat.
Turtle
SPICES
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Chili pepper
Horseradish/wasabi
Mustard
MISC
Chocolate
Cocoa


Now for a more in depth look at the energetic and medicinal properties of food in TCM:


ALCOHOL, THE NATURE OF

According to the Alcohol and Health website, "In TCM alcohol is characterized as sweet-bitter and hot, toxic. If drunk in small amounts it stimulates blood circulation, reduces haematomae, vitalizes blood, drives out "wind" and dispels "cold" symptoms, transports medicaments and disperses bad influences. In the clinical approach alcohol is often used to cure "wind", "cold" and pain, neuralgia, cold and painful chest and belly." Discussing the medical uses of alcohol, the site goes on to say: "Alcohol can not only be used as medicine, bur also to prolong life. Especially old people, when their "YANG-QI" lacks, their blood vessels became rigid, they often suffer from climatic attacks like wind, coldness, fog and cold rain. They should sip an appropriate amount of alcohol to drive out the wind, tonify the blood, lighten the body and lengthen their life. Some people say; drinking medical wine in the winter for a couple of times and stop when the spring begins will make you age-old and prevents a hundred diseases."
ARTICHOKES AND CHINESE MEDICINE Picture copyright www.artichoke.org Liver and gallbladder concerns - Artichoke is used approved in Germany for use in liver and gallbladder complaints. It has been shown in placebo-controlled studies to stimulate bile.

High cholesterol - Artichoke extracts are used to decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Note the table above -- artichoke is considered a member of the COOL FOOD GROUP. It will have a cooling effect on your body and your being.

UPDATE (May 18, 2008): I went down to Vietnam at the end of last month for one of many coming visits, and managed to make a return, to the hill resort I last visited in 1997: Dalat in the Central Highlands. As it turns out, artichoke (called atiso in Vietnamese) is a thriving concern here, and in the central city market (cho) I managed to pick up a particularly obscure artichoke product: tea made from atiso pollen, as cultivated by bees. I guess you can always trust the bees, to go for the choice artichokeness, of any artichoke. It kind of has a burnt, smoky flavour when drunk, like drinking the essence of burnt wood. Wikitravel says: "Most visitors to Dalat are Vietnamese, and most of them leave loaded with stuff. What they like to take home is dried and candied fruits, strawberry preserves, coffee, green and artichoke tea, local wine, dried venison, orchids, strawberries, avocados, and other fresh produce..."

Some treatments suggested by Live and Feel: "The artichoke juice: One small glass of artichoke juice is recommended to be drunk before breakfast and lunch. It is a treatment indicated for constipated people and for those with dramatic weight enhancement. It is a draining treatment in case of constipation without however aggressing the liver.

The artichoke tea: The infusion is made from one spoon of mashed artichoke leaves scalded in 500 ml of water. The tea should be left for 15-20 minutes in order to become an infusion. The former mug of tea should be drunk in the morning on an empty stomach. The latter mug is to be drunk in 2 stages, namely one half of mug before breakfast and then before dinner. The treatment is to be made in 21-30 days cures with 30 day breaks.

The artichoke tincture: It is made from 20 grams of mashed artichoke leaves macerated in 100 ml of 70 degree alcohol for 15 days. 5-15 drops should be taken 3 times a day. The tincture shall be diluted with water or with tea whenever taken..."


COLOR THERAPY

Foods can also be classified according to their color. According to nutritionists, it is not only the content, but also the colour of food that influences your response to a meal. For example, I have noticed that after several months of ginseng consumption, I have become more sociable and more appreciative of human company.
THE COLOR NATURE OF FOOD It seems that the colour of food relates to various phytonutrients, each with its own particular health benefit. Yellow foods are said to feed the brain, enhance mind power and improve logical thought and memory. As well as making you more optimistic and sociable (and I think ginseng has indeed this effect), orange foods are appetite stimulants, acting as a powerful tonic for physical energy and mental stimulation. Green ray foods are reportedly brilliant for strengthening the heart and lungs, helping you to breathe deeply and obtain your nourishment from the air, as well as from your food. Like blue and purple, indigo foods are known for their psychologically calming effect on the system. Red foods, meanwhile, are said to stimulate the appetite and provide energy and vitality.

GOLDEN AGE OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system of health care based on the late-twentieth-century standardization of medical practices that originated in China some 2500 years ago, according to the Whole Health MD website. "Two classic medical texts, the Nei Jing (compiled from 100 B.C. to 100 A.D.) and the Nan Jing (written circa 100 to 200 A.D.) were important early documents that presented the core concepts of TCM, and they have informed generations of scholars and practitioners ever since. These core concepts suggest that disease is the result of imbalances in the flow of the body's vital energy, or qi (pronounced "chee"), and that the human body is a microcosm of the basic natural forces at work in the universe.

"As TCM evolved over the centuries, it came to include treatment of disease using acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary principles, physical manipulation of the body tissues, therapeutic exercise and movement (tai chi), and the mind-body practice of qigong. TCM reached its apex during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) then gradually declined to the status of a folk practice until 1949. It was then that the government of the People's Republic of China began to exploit the remaining TCM practitioners as a means of making health care accessible to a suffering and underserved population."
GRAPEFRUIT IN TCM Grapefruit ranks cool to cold in its thermal nature although its peel is considered warm. With a sweet and sour flavor (the peel is sweet and bitter), grapefruit contains vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, and amaroids (bitters). Indications include yin vacuity for the stomach (restlessness, thirst, and the aftermath of excessive alcohol consumption); eating raw grapefruit flesh will help with nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, diarrhea, and digestive obstruction.


KIWI FRUITS ARE NOT ACTUALLY FROM NEW ZEALAND, THEY'RE CHINESE I got into an argument with Crazy Xtian Mal and Crystal Meth at World Family in Tokyo the other night, after Mal Sensei stated rather emphatically that vodka was made from potatoes. When I challenged the statement, Mal replied rather sarcastically (with some chortles thrown in by Crystal Meth): "And I thought everyone knew that vodka was made from potatoes!" Well, everyone (outside of Russia that is) might think that vodka is made from potato, but that doesn't necessarily make it true. As it turns out (and Wikipedia will back me up on this), vodka is usually made from grain -- although it can in times of poverty be made from potatoes, or pieces of garbage, or even petrol, or whatever the starving peasant has lying around. So Mal and Crystal Meth were somewhat right in their statements and chortles, but generally wrong: in any case, urban myths and shared consensuses should not not be relied upon. Even names can be misleading. For example, take the Kiwi fruit. For years and years I thought it was a New Zealand fruit, an original New Zealand contribution to world cuisine. This is the consensus view, in countries of the West at least. But as it turns out, the Kiwi fruit is actually a Chinese fruit! Which might explain its important role in Chinese medicine.

As none other than Wikipedia has reported: "The kiwifruit is the edible fruit of a cultivar group of the woody vine Actinidia deliciosa and hybrids between this and other species in the genus Actinidia. The fruit is native to southern China.

"The most common cultivars of kiwifruit are oval, about the size of a large hen's egg (5-8 cm / 2-3 in. long and 4.5-5.5 cm / 1¾-2 in. diameter). It has a fibrous, dull green-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of small, black, edible seeds. The texture of the fruit is soft and the flavour might be similar to a grapefruit, or maybe even a passionfruit.

"In North America, South America and Europe, most people refer to the fruit simply as "kiwi", which is in fact the name of an indigenous New Zealand bird. The fruit was named after the bird because of the similar appearance (see Kiwi)."


LIVER IS A WOOD ELEMENT According to one website I have come upon, it is "it is no accident that the ancient Chinese assigned the liver and gall bladder to the wood element. Probably no other organ system is so keyed to respond to botanical medicine as is the liver. Most people around the word recognize as part of their folk heritage the importance of vegetables to a health liver. Further, it is the bitter flavor of certain herbs that specifically triggers the secretion of bile that aids digestion as well as liver metabolism generally."

So, what are some substances that can help the liver fulfil its role.

Green citrus peel (Pericarpium citri Reticulatae viride) or ching Pi has been recommended as one liver-friendly agent. This herb has an aromatic bitter principle that helps stimulate digestion and relieve Chi congestion.

Cyperus (Rhizoma cyperi rotundi) or xiang fu is a common grass-like herb that grows in various parts of the world including the Pacific Northwest where it is called "nutgrass. The rhizomes were commonly roasted and eaten as food by the natives. It also relieves all signs of Chi stagnation and is especially useful for gynecological complains with Dang Quai.

"Ayurvedic medicine uses turmeric root as a liver herb that aids digestion and gently aids the flow of bile. It is used to regulate blood sugar and treat diabetes and hypoglycemia, regulate menstruation and aid digestion. In Western herbal medicine barberry root and gentian are used as bitter tonics to aid digestion. Barberry or its Western states counterpart, Oregon Grape are used as a bitter tonic for digestive problems and gynecological complaints as well treating many chronic diseases."
LONGANS, ONE OF THE STARS OF CHINESE MEDICINE Longans have become popular both in the West and East for their health properties. The fruit has had a long history of use in the Orient, and can treat a variety of ailments and conditions. As Jacqueline M. Newman reported in the Fall 2000 issue of Flavour and Fortune: "Longan is known in Chinese as long yan gou. This fruit has three botanical names: Euphoria longan, Longan aril, and Arillus longan. All of them refer to dragon eye fruit, another common name for this fruit that grows on trees that reach heights of 35 feet or more. The tree is an evergreen, the fruit abundant, and it is light brown when ripe. Longans grow in bunches, as many as a dozen hanging down from a small central twig. They ripen in summer and they provide moderately juicy translucent flesh. There is one pit, dark brown in color, in each longan fruit.

"In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), these fruits are considered warm, sweet and astringent. Many parts of them are used medicinally including the fruit itself, which when dried, relieves anxiety. The leaves are said to cool the system, the flowers aid the kidneys, as do the seeds. The roots are used to treat diabetics and to treat gonorrhea. Also the fruit, with the exterior shell left on, are used in a tea known as san po tai made with rock sugar and tea leaves.

"The fruit as a TCM, is used for cardiac palpitations and books recommend an ounce of it steamed with a teaspoon of pickled Chinese dates to be consumed once a day. For weakness, and for those with lack of strength during pregnancy, the same amount of fruit is recommended mixed with two ounces of crystallized brown sugar, one ounce of red dates, and a teaspoon of fresh ginger; these to be steamed together and this amount eaten once a day.

"The longan has other roles in Chinese medicine, one touted is for those with premature gray hair. They should drink an ounce of longan wine blood tonic every morning and every evening. Longan wine blood tonic will also enrich their blood. Should you want to make some, the medicinal books say to take equal amounts of the fruit, knotweed (Polygonum multiflorum), and leatherleaf (Caulis reticulate), and three times that amount of rice wine. Then soak them together for ten days. There is a non-alcoholic longan tonic that simmers the same amount of fruit with an equal amount of sugar until very thick. It is taken twice daily, as well.

"Dried longan fruit that was soaked in hot water rather than sun-dried, is used for loss of appetite, ulcers that do not heal, wounds and bleeding, ringworm or other scalp itches, even for relief of armpit and body odor. For that last item, the recipe calls for half an ounce of the pit ground then mixed with two teaspoons of black pepper to make an poultice. This is put directly on the odoriferous body part, amount of time it needs to stay there not mentioned."


SOME CLASSIC CHINESE MEDICINE TEXTS

Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion
215--282 AD, Huang Fumi. 12 volumes, 128 chapters. The earliest classic specific to acupuncture and moxibustion in China. It summarizes information on the channels and collaterals, acupuncture points, needle manipulation, and contraindication. It lists the total number of the acupoints as 349, and discusses the therapeutic properties of each point.

General Treatise on the Causes and Symptoms of Disease
(610 AD), Chao Yuanfang, together with others. The earliest classic on etiology and syndrome. 50 volumes, divided into 67 categories, and list 1,700 syndromes. It expounds on the pathology, signs and symptoms of various diseases, surgery, gynecology, and pediatrics.

Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold for Emergencies
(581-682 AD), Sun Simiao. 30 volumes and 5,300 prescriptions. Also deals with acupuncture, moxibustion, diet therapy, prevention, and health preservation. Outstanding treatment of deficiency diseases.

The Medical Secrets of An Official
(752 AD), Wang Tao. 40 volumes, introduces 6,000 prescriptions. A master's compendium of prescriptions available before the Tang dynasty.


TASTE NATURE OF FOOD You may have realised by now that Chinese food -- Chinese philosophy as well -- is all about balance. In Western/European cooking, everybody knows there are "five food groups" -- meat, fruit&veg, grains, nuts and dairy products. In Asia, however, there are many other categories of food groups. As well as temperature, foods are also classified by taste, five tastes for that matter: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and pungent. In Thai cuisine, every meal is prepared to have a perfect balance of each of these five taste groups.
The Five flavors refer to the concept of five kinds of taste of foods or drugs, ie, pungent, sweet, sour, bitter and salty, FIVE TASTE GROUPS:
Pungent: Ginger, scalllion, garlic, hot pepper, pepper, cayenne pepper, onion, leek, spirit.
Sweet: Potato, lotus root, wheat, polished rice, pea, milk, pork, chestnut, date, honey.
Sour: Tomato, tangerine, plum, lemon, grape, papaya, haw, cherry apple, pomegranate, vinegar.
Bitter: Bitter melon, almond, lily bulb, orange peel, tea, coffee, bitter green, arrow root, pig liver.
Salty: Barley, millet, dried purple sea weed, kelp, jelly fish, pork, beef, crab, table salt.
According to Chinese Food Therapy: "Each taste acts on or has direct influence on a specific vital organ... Sweet acts on the spleen and stomach helping digestion and neutralizing the toxic effects of other foods. Sour acts on the liver and gall bladder and controls diarrhea and excessive perspiration. Bitter acts on the heart and small intestine and reduces body heat and excessive fluids and induces diarrhea. Salty foods act on the kidneys and bladder and soften hardness of muscles or glands. Pungent acts on the lungs and large intestine and induces perspiration and promotes energy circulation."



MEDICAL USES OF FOOD Apart from maintaining general health, foods can be utilised more specifically to deal with health problems and even medical emergencies. For example, eating an apple is recommended as a quick way to sober up after drinking too much alcohol. Some medical uses of food, compiled by Dr. David Chan:
STOP BLEEDING: Black fungus, chestnut, Chicken eggshell, cottonseed, cuttlebone, guava, lotus plumule, spinach, vinegar.
REDUCE STOMACH ACID: Chicken eggshell, cuttlebone.
STOP PERSPIRATION: Oyster shell, peach.
INDUCE PERSPIRATION: Cinnamon twig, coriander, ginger, green onion, marjoram, rosemary.
STOP URINATION: Raspberry.
PROMOTE URINATION: Asparagus, barley, Chinese cabbage, carrot, Chinese wax gourd, coconut, coffee, corn silk, cucumber, grape, hops, Job's tears, kidney bean, lettuce, mandarin orange, mango, mung bean, muskmelon, onion, pineapple, plum, star fruit, sugar cane juice, water chestnut, watermelon.
CLEAR TOXINS: Abalone, banana, bean curd, black soybean, castor bean, cherry seed, chicken egg white, Chinese wax gourd, clam (freshwater), cucumber, date (red & black), fig, honey, Job's tears, kohlrabi, radish, salt, sesame oil, small red bean, star fruit, vinegar.
TRANSFORM PHLEGM: Chinese wax gourd, clam (saltwater), longevity fruit, pear, radish, sea grass seaweed.
IMPROVE APPETITE: Green & red pepper, ham.
INDUCE BOWEL MOVEMENT: Castor bean, sesame oil.
LUBRICATE DRYNESS: Bean curd, chicken egg & yolk, honey, maltose, mother's milk, pear, pork, sesame oil, spinach, sugar cane juice, yellow soybean.
LUBRICATE INTESTINES: Bitter & sweet apricot seed, banana, milk, peach, soybean oil, walnut, watermelon.
LUBRICATE LUNGS: Apple, apricot, chicken egg white, ginseng, lily flower, longevity fruit, loquat, mandarin orange, peanuts, persimmon, strawberry, white fungus, white sugar.
PROMOTE BLOOD CIRCULATION: Black soybean, brown sugar, chestnut, eel blood, peach, saffron, and sweet basil, wine.
PROMOTE DIGESTION: Apple, coriander, ginseng, green & red pepper, hops, malt, nutmeg, papaya, pineapple, plum, radish & leaf, sweet basil, tomato.
PROMOTE ENERGY CIRCULATION: Caraway, chive & root, dill seeds, dry mandarin orange peel, fennel, garlic, kumquat, litchi, marjoram, radish leaf, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, tangerine, tobacco.
PROMOTE MILK SECRETION: Common carp, lettuce.
QUENCH THIRST: Crab apple, cucumber, loquat, mango, muskmelon, persimmon, pineapple.
REDUCE FEVER: Muskmelon, star fruit, water chestnut.
RELIEVE ASTHMA: Bitter apricot seed.




CROWDED WORLD
By Robert Sullivan. Contact me by email: coderot@gmail.com. Visit my profile.  
phone: (0422) 204-477 (AUSTRALIA)