Traditional Chinese Medicine

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The Role of Chinese Nutrition in Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM

Nutrition has played an important role in China's traditional medical system for many centuries and continues to do so. Chinese physicians have always regarded food as medicine. Eating a balanced diet was how the body was kept in harmony. Changing weather conditions throughout the year were taken into account by adjusting the diet accordingly and choosing the appropriate ingredients. Today, nutrition is still firmly rooted in public awareness in China and is regarded as an essential element in achieving a long and fulfilled life. The Chinese diet is a preventive diet. External climate factors determine daily food choices. In times of extreme cold, dishes using acrid spices provide increased nourishment for the body. In winter, the emphasis is on warming and hot dishes, while in times of extreme external heat, the body is calmed with cooling dishes. Such a preventive diet can be practiced in other parts of the world and can be followed by most people. It requires no special expertise...

Therapeutic Principles of TCM

Four basic aspects of interaction between yin and yang enable practitioners to gain insight into the main processes for development and treatment of diseases. This fundamental understanding of TCM is a requirement for sound diagnoses and effective therapy. All therapy principles in TCM intend to either retain or reestablish the balance of yin and yang. Complete balance of yin and yang means perfect health imbalance or disharmony between the two poles signifies illness.

Structure and Use of this Book

The first chapter of this book, Introduction to the Basic Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese Dietetics, introduces Chinese nutrition theory using practical examples. Chapters 2 and 3 introduce Chinese dietetics in practice. Chapter 2 covers key dietary concepts such as healthy eating habits and eating in harmony with seasonal and constitutional factors. Chapter 3 outlines nutritional therapy for the most important pathological processes and provides an overview and orientation framework for symptoms and diagnosis. Chapter 4, Food Classification, is based on a variety of source texts and applies their concepts to the most common Western foods. Here you will find detailed information about the nature and use of foods and food groups in nutritional therapy. In case of contradictions between the authors regarding classification, I endeavored to classify foods according to my own clinical experience. The clinical examples in Chapter 5, Analogy of Western Diagnoses with...

Tips for Giving Nutritional Advice

However, people new to TCM, even when in good health, quickly start asking questions about their own constitution, individual food choices, different interactions, dietary habits, etc. People interested in prevention through diet can benefit from consulting a qualified TCM practitioner who can give specific advice. The confidence a practitioner can instill for the individualized application of Chinese nutrition at home makes such a consultation a worthwhile investment. Important Nutritional therapy designed to heal illness must always be based on an informed diagnosis by a qualified TCM practitioner. Therapy must consider both the possibilities and the limitations of nutritional healing. Dietary therapy is commonly used in conjunction with other methods of Chinese medicine. Experienced TCM practitioners can also achieve excellent results by combining TCM with the diagnosis and therapy of Western medicine and naturopathy all to the patient's advantage. To give competent and...

Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Disorders Crohn Disease Ulcerative Colitis

According to TCM In severe cases, conventional medicine and TCM should work hand in hand at the beginning. As soon as the TCM treatment starts showing good results, the intake of allopathic medications can be reduced and finally stopped. Such treatments should only be undertaken by an experienced TCM practitioner. Determined by the following TCM syndromes, which usually occur simultaneously.

The Five Basic Substances

In TCM, the term substance is relative, as it does not contain any determination about matter or energy. This concept builds on an understanding of yin and yang based on qi, which can manifest in different ways, from a total absence of substance for example as spirit consciousness (shen), to material forms, for example as body fluids (blood or other body fluids). For the TCM practitioner, knowledge about and formation of the five basic substances is very important. They are the key parameters addressed by TCM therapy.

Tasks and Functions of Spleen Pancreas and Stomach

The stomach and spleen pancreas are important bowels and viscera (zang fu organs). As the production site of acquired qi, yang, blood (xue), and body fluids (jin ye), they play a key role in TCM therapy. The famous Chinese scholar Li Gao, during the Song dynasty (AD 920-1280), emphasized the importance of the center burner by founding a special school for the Strengthening of the Center, which focused primarily on the treatment of the center burner. Zang Fu Governs Transformation and Transport The bowels and viscera (zang fu organs) spleen pancreas are largely responsible for transformation and transport of ingested food. Both organs separate food into clear and turbid components. The clear components of food essence are transformed into gu qi (drum qi). Gu qi forms the basis for all acquired qi and for production of blood. According to TCM, most of the qi in our body that can be regenerated is derived from gu qi acquired through stomach and spleen pancreas. Lack of spleen qi results...

Organ Network Spleen Pancreas Stomach

TCM views the stomach network as a very significant viscera (fu organ). Its tasks and functions are closely related to those of the spleen. The most important function of the stomach is the absorption of food and its distribution via the spleen. A person's overall state of health is very dependent on the constitution of the stomach. Traditional Chinese doctors often measured the prognosis and course of a disorder by looking at the energy condition of the stomach. A stomach supplied with sufficient qi promised a brief disorder and rapid recovery. If the stomach energy was weakened, the prognosis was unfavorable, since the formation of qi as well as the beneficial effect of herbs and acupuncture require a healthy stomach. The task of the stomach is to separate and digest food. TCM believes that the stomach separates food into clear and turbid components. Pure, clear components are transported to the spleen. Impure, turbid components are eliminated via the intestines. Clear gu qi (drum...

Viscera Fu Organ Large Intestine Da Chang

One of the most important functions of the lungs is to inhale air and transform it into clear, ancestral (or gathering) qi (zongqi), which it then combines with gu qi (drum qi from food) from the spleen. These are then combined with the essential qi (jing) into true qi (zheng qi). True qi is circulated in the meridians by the lungs to fill the body and nourish the organs. The lungs, together with the spleen, carry a major responsibility for the acquired qi in the body. True qi divides into two separate forms channel qi (yin qi) and defense qi (wei qi). Defense qi protects against external pathogenic attacks such as cold or heat and is produced mainly from lung qi. TCM believes that sufficient, freely coursing lung qi is the foundation of a good defense (immune system).

Function of the Triple Burner Son Jiao

In TCM, the triple burner (sanjiao) is likened to the official responsible for irrigation and control of waterways in a feudal state. The NeiJing describes the triple burner's main task as the creation, transformation, and movement of body fluids (jin ye), with an emphasis on digestion and excretion.

Energetic Thermal Nature

This same classification is applied to Chinese medicinal herbs and is rooted in a 3000-year tradition of Chinese medicine based on application, observation, experience, and intuition. Independent of its preparation, every food has a natural energetic, basic thermal nature that has a specific effect on the body.

Strengthening the Inner Center

The earth phase and the stomach and spleen pancreas network (center burner) are of key significance in Chinese dietetics. Earth is yin, nourishing the core, inner balance, stability, and inner center. The center burner nourishes yin. It develops acquired constitution qi and yang and is responsible for intake, processing, and digestion of foods. According to TCM, a large part (about 70 ) of the postnatal, renewable qi is taken from gu qi (drum qi).

Phlegm Damp Obstructing the Lung Tan Shi Zu

These fluids accumulate, are transformed into phlegm, and in the sequence of the engendering cycle (sheng cycle), are handed from the mother phase earth spleen to the child phase metal lung. Energetic spleen vacuity impairs the lung network in the engendering cycle. The phlegm produced by the spleen is stored in the lungs. In TCM, all respiratory disorders involving phlegm from acute purulent bronchitis, chronic bronchitis, to acute or chronic frontal or maxillary sinusitis are part of the same syndrome category. Acute phlegm disorders are relatively easy to treat with nutritional therapy. When the recommended dietary measures are strictly and consistently followed, nutritional therapy can also successfully treat recurrent and chronic congestion of the respiratory tract. By comparison, acupuncture alone is often insufficient therapy for treating these conditions in practice.

Dampness and Phlegm Conditions

TCM views dampness and phlegm as important and common pathological factors in the treatment of many disorders. The Western observer associates phlegm disorders mainly with a stuffed up nose and sinuses, sinusitis frontalis, sinusitis maxillaris, and bronchial congestion. In TCM, these are only partial aspects, as the Chinese idea of phlegm disorders incorporates a lot more than just material phlegm Phlegm can occur in all parts of the body. It slows down the flow of qi and congests the channels, inducing symptoms such as numbness, dull, foggy headache, sluggishness, and lack of concentration. A well-known and typical symptom of dampness in the head is the so-called hangover headache kidney stones. Phlegm in the joints causes bone deformation or chronic rheumatoid arthritis. Even plum pit qi (the sensation of a foreign body in the throat, mei he qi), a condition known in TCM, is another form of phlegm (qi phlegm), triggered mainly by binding depression of liver qi due to emotional...

The Five Phases Wu Xing

For the TCM practitioner, the five phases, in association with their controlling cycles, provide an interesting tool for explaining tendencies and relationships of clinical processes and for finding the right treatment. The concept of five phases plays an important role in classifying foods and Chinese medicinal herbs.

Ayurveda Traditional Oriental Medicine Macrobiotics

The Earth is flat paradigm only allowed human understanding to proceed to a certain level, and no further. In the same way, diet systems such as ayurveda (from India), traditional Chinese medicine (and its macrobiotic offshoot) only allow human health to proceed to a certain level, and no further. The ancient systems have been dulled down over many thousands of years and no longer contain real vitality the purpose of these systems was to help the average person reach good health. The purpose of The Sunfood Diet Success System is to help an average person become an extraordinary human being who experiences superior health, who encounters the highest forms of life, and who unlocks dormant powers. New distinctions have now surpassed the old system paradigms. My goal has been to draw forth the best elements from ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, and macrobiotics and apply them to the Sunfood approach. Special information involving individualizing diets based on ayurvedic and...

Organ Network Heart Small Intestine

Role in TCM Shen comprises spirit or consciousness in its broadest sense The mental, intellectual, emotional and spiritual abilities of a person. TCM believes that these are closely connected to heart, blood, and yin. Blood is a material anchor for shen. Disturbances of the spirit (insomnia or confusion shen pi, or lassitude of spirit and lack of strength) can be associated with material aspects such as heart blood vacuity. The spirit can be calmed by avoiding energetically very hot foods (garlic, ginger, alcohol). Often these dietary measures are in keeping with religious or spiritual dietary recommendations intended to calm the mind. Strengthening blood can cure certain types of insomnia.

Yin And Yang Counterbalance Each Other Yin Yang Zhi

An imbalance in one of the two opposite poles invariably influences the other pole, which changes the relationship of the poles to each other. With yang surplus, yin gets reduced or consumed. For example, high fever (yang repletion) results in a weakening of the body (reduced yin) through intense sweating. There are four basic forms of imbalance, which according to TCM explain essential physiological and pathophysiological processes.

Liver Syndromes and Chinese Nutrition

Often results in ascending liver yang, or, in its more extreme form, liver fire flaming upward (gan huo shang yan), which is often accompanied by liver yin vacuity. In women, liver yin vacuity frequently presents as blood vacuity. General The liver is sensitive to external pathogenic factors such as wind and dampness and especially sensitive to emotional upsets. Chinese medicine views the liver as a filter for all emotional impact. The liver distributes the impact in the body. Anger, rage, and resentment cause the liver to cramp up and inhibit the smooth coursing of qi. One of the most common syndromes in clinical practice is binding depression of liver qi (gan qi yu jie), which is mainly attributable to emotional imbalance. Even small emotional impacts such as arguments, frustrations, etc. can block liver qi. Over a period of time (months to years) these problems accumulate and root deeply inside the body. In addition to undigested emotions, a hectic and stressful lifestyle can also...

Gu Qi Drum Qi or Food Qi

Gu qi develops during the first transformation stage as stomach and spleen process ingested foods. The quality of newly formed gu qi depends on the purity of foods ingested (if possible, fresh and not processed or denatured) and on the condition of the digestive organs stomach and spleen. If these organs are in a chronic or acute state of fatigue, quantity and quality of gu qi are reduced. This gradually leads to general debility with a tendency to chronic vacuity symptoms. Since gu qi is a renewable energy source, it plays a key role in Chinese medicine. Gu qi makes up the biggest share of the renewable energies. This role was emphasized by the traditional School of the Middle, which viewed nutritional therapy as a key element in the treatment of diseases.

General Causes of Stomach Dysfunction

The main causes of stomach dysfunction include external pathogenic cold, heat, dryness excess of energetically too hot or too cold foods and irregular eating habits. While the spleen assures that clear gu qi (drum qi) reaches the upper burner, the stomach's task is to transport the turbid components downward into the intestines. Impairment of this function can lead to vomiting, which TCM calls qi vomiting (qi ou). The stomach is unable to downbear qi, and as a result, it counterflows pathologically upward.

Lung Qi Vacuity Fei Qi Xu

In Chinese medicine, the lungs are known as the delicate organ. The lungs are the only yin organ with an external orifice via the respiratory tract and a direct connection with bioclimatic factors. The lungs' susceptibility to external bioclimatic factors like wind-cold and wind-heat depends on the strength of defense qi, which is governed and diffused by the lungs. Defense qi is a barrier

Clinical Examples

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Any form of treatment for the disorders above, including the use of nutritional therapy, needs to be preceded by a clear diagnosis by a trained TCM practitioner. The analogies between Western diagnoses and syndromes in TCM are not limited to the disorders discussed in this book. These are intended as a starting point for connecting Eastern and Western medical systems.

Cooking Methods

J J Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recom-S mends that raw foods, fruit, and especially tropical fruit should be used in moderation, contrary to some Western views. Except when part of specific healing diets or during the yang phase of summer, these foods are energetically too cool for most Northern latitudes and can cause long-term vacuity of the center burner when consumed in excess.

Functional Foods

There is a difference between the Western and Eastern perspective on functional foods. In the West, functional foods are considered revolutionary and represent a rapidly growing segment of the food industry. Food and pharmaceutical companies alike are competing to bring functional foods into the mass market. On the other hand, functional foods have been a part of Eastern cultures for centuries. Foods were used for medicinal purposes in traditional Chinese medicine as early as 1000 B.C.E. From ancient times, the Chinese have used foods for both preventive and therapeutic health effects, a view that is now being increasingly recognized around the world.

About this Book

A quote by a famous fourteenth-century physician describes the role of Chinese nutrition within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Doctors first have to find the cause for an illness and determine which disharmony prevails. To balance this disharmony, the first and foremost measure is appropriate diet. It is not until this measure bears no results that one should use medicines. Chinese nutritional therapy is closely related to acupuncture and medicinal plant medicine and follows the same diagnostic principles. It focuses on the qualitative effects of foods on the body. The term qi, which has many meanings in Chinese, including life force or life energy, is of vital significance in this context. Health is an expression of balanced qi disease occurs when qi is unbalanced. The body extracts and absorbs qi from food. Foods, therefore, are mild therapeutic agents that help the body stay balanced, or bring it back into balance. Food classification follows the same criteria used for Chinese...

Seasoning aa

From a Chinese medicine point of view, this explains the digestion-promoting effect of many spices. By using warming spices such as bay leaf, caraway, or cloves, many yin vegetables like red cabbage, white cabbage, or sauerkraut become easier to digest. Long cooking also contributes to this effect. Highly seasoned foods strongly influence the body's energy level and should be reduced or avoided during repletion states or inner heat. For example, energetically hot coffee can be unfavor

Summer Hot Season

Dry and energetically hot foods such as coffee ( ) and acrid spices. Also avoid ice-cold foods and beverages and ice cream, because they abruptly block the stomach's digestive energy. In the view of Chinese medicine, children have a physiologically weak center burner until they are about eight years old. They are especially sensitive to cold foods and beverages.


Despite the interventions described above, some patients will continue to experience symptoms, suggesting that current treatments that target the predominant symptom are only partially effective, presumably because they do not resolve the underlying cause of functional bowel disorder.6 The large number of patients in whom these therapies fail has prompted an interest in alternative therapies such as diet supplements, probiotics and ancient therapeutic modalities such as Chinese medicine. Peppermint oil (Mentha piperita), which is commonly found in many over-the-counter preparations for IBS, has long been recognized as a spasmolytic agent that relaxes GI smooth muscle, relieving pain. Placebo-controlled studies have shown an overall improvement in IBS patients who used peppermint oil.141,142 A double-blind clinical trial in Chinese medicine demonstrated that herbal therapy was effective in the management of symptoms related to IBS.143 Natural and


Practitioners of TCM view the amount of jing as determining one's quality of life and life expectancy. Since jing, as already discussed, cannot be regenerated, it forms a sort of inner energy clock which determines our individual life span. Once this inner energy clock runs out, the person dies. Understandably, TCM puts great emphasis on the preservation and the careful treatment of jing. Chinese nutritional therapy, as well as many other areas of Asian philosophies, address this important aspect, for example in qi gong or tantra. The quality of jing is the foundation for prenatal development of the body. Postpartum, jing influences physical and mental growth and is responsible for the body's reproductive strength.

Herbal Products

Various herbal products have been studied for the treatment of joint disorders, including green tea extracts, Asian herbal remedies (eg, Tripterygium wifordi Hook F, SKI 306X a mixture of extracts from Clematis mandshurica, Tricosanthes kirilowii, and Prunella vulgaris ), and devil's claw (Harpagophytumprocumbens) 58 . Tao and colleagues 62 reported the effects of a Chinese herbal medicine called Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F in a clinical trial using patients with rheumatoid arthritis. They found that an extract of the plant suppressed symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis compared with a placebo control.

Energetics of Food

The Eastern view, on the other hand, follows the qualitative, holistic concept of yin and yang and illustrates how thermal nature and flavor of foods and medicinal herbs influence the body. Hippocrates and Hildegard von Bingen employed similar qualitative, more energetically oriented approaches. They used diet as an important and inexpensive source of therapy for sustaining health and treating disease. TCM makes a close connection between foods and medicinal herbs for therapy, since their classification follows the same criteria. Foods and herbs can both promote and impede each other in their effect on the body. For example, it would be pointless to prescribe phlegm-reducing herbs and acupuncture to patients without informing them about phlegm-producing foods such as fatty foods, junk food, excess dairy products, alcohol, etc. Effective holistic therapy in such cases needs to include dietary measures, for example phlegm-reducing foods such as pears. Energetic classification assigns...

Stomach Fire Wei Re

This syndrome can be successfully treated in a few days or weeks by changing eating habits and making the right food choices. It responds very well to a combination of dietary measures and acupuncture. Treatment needs to address the emotional factors leading to stomach heat. Heated discussions, arguments, and relationship or work problems can be even more detrimental than the effects of coffee or other foods with yang characteristics. In TCM, emotional strain and burdens play a far bigger role than they do in Western medicine

How It Began

Iridology Eye Chart

Iridology has progressed tremendously since the 1800s. Numerous scientists and doctors have researched iridology, revising and improving the iris chart. Iridology is based on scientific observation. It is the kind of science that cannot be related through scientific tests, for it does not provide clinical information. The state of the art in Western medicine cannot reveal all the answers either. It is difficult to test one scientific system against another when two types of data are given.

Yin and Yang

Nutrition Symbol

The basic principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are rooted in the Taoist philosophy of yin and yang. These two polar opposites organize and explain the ongoing process of natural change and transformation in the universe. According to ancient lore, yang marks the sunny side and yin the shady side of a hill. In the theory of yin and yang, all things and phenomena of the cosmos contain these two complementary aspects. The traditional Taoist symbol for completeness and harmony is the merging monad of yin and yang. The standard of TCM, the Huang Di Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine, dates as far back as 500-300 BC. This 18-volume classic work has two parts, Ling Shu and Su We. The Su Wen explains the theoretical foundations of TCM in the form of a dialogue between the legendary Yellow Emperor Huan Di and his personal physician Shi Po. The Ling Shu, the practical part of the Nei Jing, reports on therapies and their uses in TCM acupuncture, moxibustion,...

Bitter Flavor

J J Too much bitter-cool has a strong laxative S effect and causes diarrhea (Epsom salt). Excess bitter-warm flavors (coffee ) dehydrate (dry skin), damage fluids (especially blood vacuity, poor circulation), damage texture (Nei Jing Bitter spreads to the bones ), heat up the heart, and inhibit spirit. In Western medicine, coffee is considered a calcium robber and promotes osteoporosis. Via the engendering (sheng) cycle, surplus heat in the fire phase is moved into the earth phase, where it can cause damage to spleen stomach. A symptom often seen in practice is stomach heat (TCM), in Western medicine known as gastritis or ulcer, caused by excessive coffee consumption, nicotine, or stress (TCM stress heat).

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine

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