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Food therapy has been the foundation of Chinese medicine over thousand of years since the emperor Shen Nong Shi in Xia dynasty. Unlike Western medicine focusing primary on the symptoms, and using diet exclusively for treating obesity problems, food therapy in prevention and curation of illness are always the essential practice of traditional Chinese medicine.
Stephen Lou said, "Another major difference is that Chinese medicine takes into consideration not just the nutrients of foods, such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals, but also the flavors, the energies, and the movements of foods in relation to different body organs"
In Chinese medicine, foods have been classified into five flavors: bitter, pungent, salty, sour, and sweet. These flavors don't just represent the taste but also play an major role in the nourished internal organs.
Foods with bitter taste, such as bitter melon has an impact on your heart and small intestine meridian. with a function of removing heat and toxin and inhibiting infections, reduce inflammation, and, in many cases, inhibit tumors.
Foods, such as garlic, coriander, ginger, ... have a pungent flavor of burning or numbing sensation of the tongue. Foods with pungent flavor stimulates mucus secretion and movement in the lungs and sinuses'
Foods with salty flavor, such as turtle shell, tortoise shell, kelp, and seaweed, are associated to kidneys and bladder function, in dissolving masses, removing moisture and phlegm, and softening hardness
Foods, which are sour in taste, such as lemon, pear, and plum, affect your liver and gall bladder with function of moistening and softening in reducing contraction of the ligaments and tendons.
Foods with a sweet flavor such as such as glucose, are associated with the spleen and stomach involving digestion and absorption of nutrients and used in calming, reducing irritation and generating fluid and in tonification therapy for neutralization of the toxic effects from other foods.
According to the "Dietetics in Tang China and the first extant works of material dietetica", Chinese food therapy, also called nutrition therapy and dietary therapy is a mode of dieting rooted in Chinese understandings of the effects of food on the mankind(1) with displayment of ancient Chinese interest in food with focusing also on its medical value(2)
Sun Simiao, a famous traditional Chinese medicine doctor of the Sui and Tang dynasty and was titled China's King of Medicine with hundred of entries on fruits, vegetables, cereals, and meat suggested that people would first turn to food rather than drugs when suffering from illness(1)(2).
Chinese medicine is based on balance and harmony, in which food therapy has played a pivotal role in prevention, treatment and curation of ailments over thousand of years with little or no side effect,
particularly in Women Health of treatment of menstrual disorder induced infertility.
For More information of Chinese Food Therapy, The Restoration of Body Harmony for Diseases Free and Longevity, click here
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(1) Engelhardt, Ute (2001), "Dietetics in Tang China and the first extant works of material dietetica", in Elisabeth Hsü (ed.), Innovation in Chinese Medicine, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 173–191
(2) Engelhardt 2001, p. 174–175.