chinese dietary therapy

"Medicine & food share a common origin", & that food materials can be used to prevent or treat medical disorders. Like medicinal drugs, food items are classified as "heating" or "cooling".

A mode of dieting rooted in Chinese beliefs concerning the effects of food on the human organism, centered on concepts such as eating in moderation. Its basic precepts are a mix of folk views & concepts drawn from Traditional Chinese Medicine history.

Improve Qi circulation

Basil, Caraway, Cardamom, Carrot, Cayenne, Chive, Coriander, Dill seed, Garlic, Marjoram, Mustard leaf, Orange peel, Radish, Star Anise, Tangerine Peel, Turmeric.

Improve blood circulation

Anasake, Aubergine, Brown sugar, Chestnut, Chilli powder, Chive, Crab, Hawthorn berry, Mustard leaf, onion, Peach, Scallion, Sturgeon, Vinegar.

Cooling Heat

Asparagus, Aubergine, Bamboo shoots, Banana, Chicken egg white, Clam, Elderflower, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lettuce, Millet, Mungbeans, Mungbean sprouts, Peppermint, Potato, Salt, Tofu, Watermelon, Wheat berries

Warming Cold

Anchovies, Basil, Bay, Black pepper, Cayenne, Cherry, Chestnut, Chicken, Coriander seed, Dill seed, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Kohlrabi, Lamb, Kidney, Leek, Muscle, Mustard leaf, mutton, Nutmeg, onion, Peach, Pine kernel, Rosemary, Scallion, Shrimp-, Squash, Sweet potato, Sweet rice, Trout, Turnip, Umeboshi plum.

Drying Dampness

Adzuki bean, Alfalfa, Anchovies, Barley, Celery, Corn, Daikon, Garlic, Green tea, horseradish, Jasmine tea, Job's tears, Kidney beans, Kohlrabi, Lemon, Mackerel, Marjoram, Mushroom, Mustard leaf, Onion, Parsley, Pumpkin, Radish, Rye, Scallion, Turnip, Umeboshi plum.

Draining Water

Adzuki bean, Alfalfa, Anchovies, Barley, Black soy beans, Broad beans, Celery, Clam, Fenugreek, Frog, Grape, Job's tears, Kelp, Lettuce, Mackerel, Sardines, Seaweed.

Resolving Phlegm

Almond, Apple peel, Clam, Daikon, Garlic, Grapefruit, Lemon peel, Liquorice, Marjoram, Mushroom, Mustard seeds, Olive, Onion, Orange peel, Pear, Black and white pepper, Peppermint, Persimmons, Plantain, Radish, Seaweed, Shitake, Shrimp, Tea, Thyme, Watercress.

Tonifying Qi

Beef, Cherry, Chicken, Coconut, Date, eel, Ginseng, Goose, Grape, Ham, Herring, Lentil, Liquorice, longan, Mackerel, Micro-algae, Molasses, Oats, Octopus, Potato, Rabbit, Rice, Royal jelly, Sweet potato, Shitake, Squash, Sturgeon, Tofu and Yam.



Neutral, sweet, Sp & St Qi & Blood Tonic.


Warm, sweet, Sp, Ki, Qi Tonic, and warms interior.


Warm, salty, Sp Qi Tonic, generates fluids, subdues rebellious stomach Qi.


Neutral to slightly cold, sweet & salty, Sp, St, Ki, lubricates dryness.



Neutral, sweet & salty, Lu, Ki, facilitates water passage, reduces, swellings.


Warm, sweet, Sp, St, Qi Tonic, warms Interior.

Neutral, sweet, Sp & St, facilitates water passage, promotes milk secretion, heals swelling.



Warm, sweet, Yang, Qi & Blood tonic, circulates blood.


Neutral, sweet, Ht, Lu, St, Lu & Sp tonic, generates fluids & lubricates the intestines.


Cooling, sweet, Ht, Lu, St, Lu and Sp tonic, produces fluids & lubricates the intestines.



Neutral, sweet & salty, detoxifies, sharpens vision.



Neutral, salty, Liv & Ki, Blood tonic, sharpens vision. Crab Cold, salty, Liv & St, activates blood, cools heat sensations facilitates recovery of dislocations.


Warm, sweet, Liv, Sp, Ki, Qi tonic, treats Bi syndrome, strengthens bone.

Freshwater clam

Cold, sweet & salty, Liv & Ki, detoxifies, sharpens vision. Kelp Cold, salty, St, softens hardness, facilitates water passage.


Warm, salty, Liv & Ki Qi tonic, treats simple goiter.


Neutral, sweet & salty, Blood Tonic. Oyster shell Cool, salty, Liv & Ki, stop sweating, astringes Jing, softens hardness.

Saltwater clam

Cold, salty, St, promotes water passage, eliminates phlegm, softens hardness.


Cold, salty, softens hardness, eliminates phlegm, promotes water passage.


Neutral, sweet & salty, Sp, tonifies Qi, Blood, & Yin lubricates dryness, reduces swelling, tonifies 5 Zang.


Warm, sweet, Kidney Yang tonic.


Chicken egg

Neutral, sweet, Blood tonic, lubricates dryness.

Egg white

Cool, sweet, detoxifies, lubricates Lu, cools hot sensations, benefits throat.

Egg yolk

Neutral, sweet, Ht & Ki, blood tonic, lubricates dryness.


Checks gastric acid, arrests bleeding.


Glutinous rice

Warm, sweet, Sp, St, Lu, Sp Qi tonic.


Slightly warm, sweet, Sp & St, promotes digestion.

White rice

Neutral, sweet, Sp & St, Sp Qi tonic.

Rice bran

Neutral, sweet & pungent, St, LI, descends energy.


Neutral, bitter, dries dampness, diuretic.

Whole wheat

Cool, sweet, Ht, Sp, Ki, Ht & Ki tonic.

Wheat bran

Cool, sweet, St, cools St Fire.


Cool, sweet, LI, St, Sp, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat sedates Yang.

Job's Tears (Asian grain)

Cool, sweet, Sp, Lu Ki, detoxifies, Sp & Lu Qi tonic, diuretic.


Cool, sweet & salty, Sp & St, regulates St, expands intestines, promotes urination.


Cool, sweet & salty, St, Sp, Ki, Qi & Blood tonic, clears heat, lubricates dryness, tonifies Yin, benefits digestion detoxifying.



Oil Hot, pungent & sweet, lubricates intestines

String bean

Neutral, sweet, Sp & Ki, Qi, Blood & Yin tonic.

Yellow soybean

Neutral, sweet, Sp & LI, Qi tonic, lubricates dryness, eliminates oedema.

Black soybean

Neutral, sweet, Sp & Ki, circulates Blood & fluids treats Bi syndrome, detoxifies.


Neutral, sweet, LI & St, Qi & Blood tonic, diuretic Hyacinth bean Neutral, sweet, Sp & St, Qi tonic, eliminates oedema.

Broad bean

Neutral, sweet, Sp & St, Qi tonic, eliminates oedema.


Neutral, sweet, Sp & St, Qi & Blood tonic, descends rebellious stomach Qi, diuretic, induces bowel movements.

Kidney bean

Neutral, sweet & bland, diuretic, heals swellings. Adzuki bean Neutral, sweet & sour, Ht & SI, diuretic, heals swellings, detoxifying.

Castor bean

Neutral, sweet & pungent, Lu & LI, detoxifies & heals swellings, induces bowel movement.

Mung bean

Cool, sweet, Ht & St, detoxifies, clears heat, diuretic.


Cool, sweet, LI & Sp, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat, lubricates dryness, eliminates oedema.


Cool, sweet, Sp, St, LI, Qi tonic, produces fluids, lubricates dryness, detoxifying.



Neutral, sweet, Lu, Qi & Blood tonic, lubricates Lu, relieves coughs, transforms phlegm, sedates rebellious Qi.


Warm sweet, Sp, St & Ki tonic, circulates Blood & stops bleeding


Neutral, sweet, Sp & Lu, Qi & Blood tonic, lubricates Lu, harmonises the stomach

Peanut Oil

Neutral, sweet, Qi & Blood tonic, lubricates intestines, pushes accumulations downward


Warm, sweet, Ki & Lu, Ki tonic, lubricates intestines, astringes Jing.


Bitter apricot seed

Warm, pungent & bitter, toxic, Lu & LI, stops a cough, relieves asthma, lubricates intestines.

Black sesame seed

Neutral, sweet, Liv & Ki tonic. Lubricates intestines, "blackens" grey hair, general tonic.

Cherry seed

Neutral, bitter & pungent, LI, promotes the rash, detoxifying.


Hot, pungent, Sp & Ki, Sp & Ki tonic, arrests bleeding, prevents Sp Qi sinking.

Dill seed

Warm, pungent, Sp & Ki, Qi & Yang tonic, moves stagnant Blood, regulates Qi, expels cold.

Fennel seed

Warm, pungent, St, UB & Ki, Qi & Yang tonic, moves stagnant Blood, regulates Qi, expels cold, harmonises St.

Lotus seed

Neutral, sweet & harsh, Sp, Ht & Ki tonic, Qi & Blood tonic, constricts the intestines.


Warm, sweet, Lu, LI & Liv, lubricates Lu & LI, stops a cough, Qi, Yang & Blood tonic, promotes fluids, moves Stagnant Blood, expels cold & wind.

Sweet apricot seed

Warm, pungent & sweet, Lu, LI, Sp, Sp Qi tonic, lubricates intestines, stops a cough.

Sesame seed

Slightly. warm, sweet, Liv & Ki tonic. Sunflower seed Warm & neutral, sweet & bland, Liv & LI, stops diarrhoea, facilitates eruption of measles, subdues the Liver.

Sesame oil

Cool, sweet, St, detoxifies, lubricates dryness, promotes bowel movements, produces muscles.

Fruit -Warm

Chinese Date (red & black)

Warm, sweet, Sp & St, Qi & Blood tonic, produces fluids, detoxifies.

Coconut milk & meat

Warm, sweet, produce fluids, promote urination, kills intestinal worms.


Warm, sweet & harsh. Qi, Yang, & Blood tonic, activates Qi & Blood, expels Cold, Wind, & Damp.

Dried Mandarin / Orange peel

Warm, pungent & bitter, Sp & Lu, regulates Qi, dries dampness, transforms Phlegm.


Warm, sweet, (St & LI) obstructive & constrictive, stops diarrhoea & bleeding.

Hawthorn Fruit

Slightly warm, sweet & sour, Sp, St & Liv, harmonises Middle Jiao, removes Qi, Blood & Food Stagnation (esp. meat), expels tapeworms.


Warm, pungent, sweet & sour, (Lu & Sp), circulates Qi, relieves a cough, transforms Phlegm.

Longan (Long Yan/Dragon's Eyes)

Warm, sweet, Sp & Ht, Yang, Qi & Blood tonic, removes Blood stagnation, calms Shen.


Warm, sweet & sour, (Lu & LI), activates Blood, Qi, Blood & Yang tonic, produces fluid, lubricates intestines, stops a cough, expels cold.


Warm, sweet & sour, Liv & Ki, Liv & Ki tonic, controls urination, astringes Jing.


Warm, sweet & sour, Sp & Liv, Yang, Qi & Blood tonic, Regulates Qi & Blood, soothes Liver & calms Shen.


Neutral, sweet, (Sp, St, Lu & LI), promotes digestion, destroys intestinal worms, lubricates Lu, stops a cough.


Neutral, sweet, Sp & LI, St tonic, detoxifying. Grape Neutral, sweet & sour, Lu, Sp & Ki, Qi & Blood tonic, strengthens tendons & bones, promotes urination.

Crab apple

Neutral, sweet & sour, Ht, Liv & Lu, quenches thirst, stops diarrhoea, astringes Jing.


Neutral, sweet & sour, Lu & St, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Lu, benefits throat, produces fluids, detoxifying.


Neutral, (sweet & slightly. bitter),(Lu, St & Liv), lubricates dryness, harmonizes St & soothes Liver Qi, descends rebellious Qi, stops a cough.


Neutral, sweet & sour, Lu, lubricates Lu, produces fluids. Pineapple Neutral, sweet & sour, Qi & Blood tonic, promotes urination & digestion, quenches thirst, stops diarrhoea, clears Summer Heat.


Neutral, sweet & sour, Liv & Ki, produces fluids, promotes digestion & urination, soothes the Liver.

Sour Plum

Neutral, sour, Liver, produces fluids, destroys worms.

Fruit - Cool


Cool, sour, promotes fluids, harmonises St, relieves thirst.


Cool, sweet & sour, (St & Lu), Qi & Blood tonic, benefits St, relieves vomiting, quenches thirst, diuretic.

Mandarin Orange

Cool, sweet & sour, (Lu), diuretic, lubricates Lu, relieves a cough, transforms Phlegm.


Cool, sweet & sour, Lu & St, produces fluids, lubricates Lu, promotes digestion, relieves intoxication.


Cool, sweet & sour, Lu & Sp, lubricates Lu, produces fluids, detoxifies alcohol.


Cool, sweet & slightly sour, Lu & St, produces fluids, lubricates dryness, transforms phlegm, clears Heat.


Cold, sweet, Ht, SI, Lu (& Sp), Qi, Blood & Yin tonic, quenches thirst, lubricates Lu, benefits Sp, clears Heat.


Cold, sweet, Ht, St & UB, promotes urination, lubricates intestines, quenches thirst, clears Summer Heat, detoxifying.


Cold, sweet, lubricates intestine, detoxifying. Grapefruit Cold, sweet & sour, (St & Sp) harmonizes Middle Jiao, circulates Qi, detoxifies alcohol.

Star Fruit (Carambola)

Cold, sweet & sour, (St, Ki & UB) clears Heat, produces fluids, promotes urination (treats stone Lin), detoxifying.


Cold, sweet, Ht & St, clears Heat, quenches thirst, promotes urination.

Vegetables - Warm


Warm, pungent, Liv & Lu, Qi & Yang tonic, regulates Qi, removes Blood Stagnation, expels Cold, sedates Yin, clears St Fire.


Warm, pungent, Lu & St, Assists Yang, tonifies & regulates Qi, clears Heat, sedates Yang, dries Damp, diuretic, removes Blood stagnation, expels Cold.

Mustard Greens

Warm, pungent, Lu, Qi & Yang Tonic, circulates Qi & Blood, expels cold, sedates Yin, expands Lu, transforms Phlegm.


Warm sweet, Sp & St, Qi, Yang & Blood tonic, circulates Blood, heals inflammation, relieves pain.

Vegetables - Neutral

Chinese cabbage Neutral, sweet, St & LI, promotes digestion & urination, tonifies Ki & Brain.


Neutral, sweet, Lu & St, Sp Qi tonic, dries dampness & Phlegm.


Neutral, sweet, St & LI, Qi & Blood tonic, regulates Middle Jiao stimulates appetite, diuretic.

Black Fungus

Neutral, sweet, St & LI, Qi & Blood tonic, cool Blood, stops bleeding.

White Fungus

Neutral, sweet, Lu, Yin tonic, produces fluids, lubricates Lu.


Neutral, sweet, (Lu & Sp), Qi & Blood tonic, dries Damp, diaphoretic.


Neutral, sweet, Sp, Sp Qi tonic, heals inflammation.

Sweet Potato

Neutral, sweet, Lu, Sp & Ki, Qi, Blood & Yin tonic, benefits Kidneys, astringes Jing

Shiitake Mushroom

Neutral, sweet, St, Qi & Blood tonic, benefits St. Celery Neutral, sweet bitter, St & Liv, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat, sedates Yang, dries Damp, calms Liver, expels Wind.


Neutral, sweet & pungent, St & LI, Qi, Yang & Blood tonic, circulates Qi & Blood, clears Heat, reduces swellings.


Neutral, sweet, pungent, bitter, Qi, Yang & Blood tonic, circulates Qi & Blood, clears Heat & Yang, dries Damp, diaphoretic, lowers Reb. Qi, detoxifies Yin tonic, clears Heat & Fire, dries Damp, clears Lu, lubricates Dryness, diaphoretic.

Vegetables - Cool

Alfalfa sprouts

Cool, bitter, St & Sp, benefits St & Sp, dispels Damp- ness, lubricates intestines.


Cool, sweet & bitter, Lu & Ki, Qi, Blood & Yin tonic, clears Heat & Fire, dries Damp, lubricates Dryness, clears Lu, diaphoretic.

Lettuce (Iceberg)

Cool, bitter & sweet, St & LI, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat & Yang, dries Dampness & diuretic, promotes lactation.


Cool, sweet, Sp, St & LI, clears Heat Yang, & detoxifies, promotes urination & quenches thirst.


Cool, sweet, Sp, St & LI, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat & Yang, removes Blood Stagnation, relieves pain, heals swelling.

Mushroom (button)

Cool, sweet, Lu, LI, St & Sp, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat & Yang, calms Shen, stimulates appetite, regulates Qi, transforms Phlegm.


Cool, sweet, LI & SI, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat & Yang, haemostatic, lubricates Dryness.

Winter Melon

Cool, sweet, Lu, LI, UB, & SI, detoxifies, diuretic, transforms Phlegm.

Swiss Chard

cool, sweet, Su, LI, Sp & St, Qi Y Blood tonic, clears Heat & Yang, detoxifies, haemostatic, relieves coagulations.


Cool, sweet & pungent, Lu & St, Qi, Yang & Blood tonic, circulates Qi & Blood, clears Heat & Yang, lubricates Lu, quenches thirst, diuretic.


Cool, pungent & sweet, Lu & St, Qi, & Blood tonic, clears Heat & detoxifies, transforms Phlegm-Heat, lowers rebellious Qi.

Bamboo shoot

Cold, sweet, Tonifies Qi, Blood & Yin, clears Heat, detoxifies (often used to balance the warm energy of meat).


Cold, salty, St & Sp, Yin tonic, clears Heat, lubricates Dryness, softens Hardness, promotes the flow of Water.

Lotus Root

Cold, sweet, Sp St & Ht, Qi, Blood & Yin tonic, cools Blood (when raw), stimulates appetite, produces muscles, relieves diarrhoea (when cooked).

Water Chestnut

Cold, sweet, Lu & St, clears heat, Yin tonic, transforms Phlegm, diuretic.

Lettuce (Romaine)

Cold, bitter, LI & St, Qi & Blood tonic, clears Heat & Yang, dries Dampness, diuretic.

Herbs and Spices

Dried Ginger

Hot, pungent, Lu, St & Sp, Yang & Qi tonic, circulates Blood, warms Middle Jiao, opens the meridians.

Pepper (black & white)

Hot, pungent, St & LI, warms interior, descends Rebellious Qi. Pepper (red & green) Hot, pungent, Ht & Sp, warms interior, harmonises Middle Jiao, stimulates appetite.

Cinnamon Bark

Hot, sweet & pungent, Sp, Ki, UB, diaphoretic, strengthens St, warms surface & interior.


Warm, pungent, St, Sp & Ki, Yang tonic, warms Interior.


Warm pungent, Lu & Sp, diaphoretic, harmonises Middle Jiao.

Cinnamon Twig

Warm, pungent & sweet, UB, Ht, Lu, diaphoretic, warms Upper Jiao.

Dill seed

Warm, pungent, Sp & Ki, Qi & Yang tonic, circulates Qi & Blood. Fennel seed Warm, pungent, Ki, UB, St, Warms Interior, circulates Qi.

Fresh Ginger

Warm, pungent, Lu, St & Sp, diaphoretic, Yang & Qi tonic, circulates Blood, transforms Phlegm, stops vomiting


Warm, pungent, Sp, St & Lu, Qi & Yang tonic, circulates Qi & Blood, warms Middle Jiao, destroys worms.


Warm pungent, Sp & LI, Qi & Yang tonic, warms Interior, circulates Blood, warms Middle Jiao, lowers rebellious Qi

Sweet Basil

Warm, pungent, Lu, LI, Sp, St, Qi & Yang tonic, circulates Qi & Blood, harmonises St.

Star Anise

Warm, pungent & sweet, Sp, Ki, Liv, Yang tonic, circulates Qi, harmonizes St, stops vomiting.

Caraway Seed

Warm, slightly pungent, Ki & St, circulates Qi, descends rebellious Qi.


Warm, pungent & sweet, (Lu & Sp), diaphoretic, circulates Qi & Blood


Warm, sweet, & sl bitter, Sp, Lu (Ht), Qi tonic, produces fluids, calms Shen.


Warm, pungent, (Lu, St), diaphoretic, activates Blood, strengthens St, calms Shen


Neutral, sweet, Ht & Liv, circulates Qi & Blood, eliminates Blood Stagnation.


Neutral, sweet, Sp, St & Lu, lubricates lungs, detoxifies, moderates effects of other herbs


Cool, pungent, Lu & Liv, diaphoretic, regulates Qi & Blood


Cool, pungent, (Lu & Sp), diaphoretic, circulates Qi, drains dampness.

Miscellaneous Foods

Brown sugar

Warm, sweet, Liv, Sp & St, Qi tonic, circulates blood. Vinegar Warm, sour & bitter, Liv & St, disperses coagulations, detoxifies, arrest bleeding.


Warm, sweet, bitter & pungent, Ht, Liv, Lu & St, promotes blood circulation, expels cold, speeds up effects of herbs.


Warm, sweet & bitter, Ht, Heart tonic, stimulant, diuretic.


Warm, sweet, Lu & Sp, Qi tonic, lubricates Lu, stops a cough.

White sugar

Neutral, sweet, Lu & Sp, lubricates Lu, produces fluids, Qi tonic.


Neutral, sweet, Lu, Sp & LI, detoxifies, lubricates dryness, relieves pain.


Slightly cold, bitter, sweet, Ht, Lu & St, quenches thirst, promotes digestion & urination, awakens Shen. Salt Cold, salty, St, Ki, SI & LI, detoxifies, clears Heat, lubricates dryness, Yin tonic.

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