When agriculture and farming began in China some 4000 years, ago, the Chinese started to understand that each plant has its own special effect on the human body. These people were able to determine the functional effects, characteristics, and nature of each food through continuous trial and error testing of those foods on people. In the education of natural healing herbs, this is also the method utilized.

Due to its long history of application, each herb and food that’s in use today provides specific information on its instruction, contradictions, healing effects, characteristics, and nature for correct usage.

For health conditions, early detection and resolution is very much espoused in Chinese medicine. Ordinary people have always used food to ward off disease or as the first line of defense for preventing diseases. This is because food used as medicine is the most cost effective, practical, and convenient way to address health problems. These people will only rely on traditional Chinese medicine practitioners for assistance when food alone cannot resolve their conditions.

Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners in Spokane resolve disease firstly by utilizing extreme and powerful herbs to dispel symptoms and undo imbalances. Only when a practitioner gets the disease under control will he/she halt the use of these strong herbs and resort to tonifying and milder foods and herbs to maintain the therapy. During this stage, any deficiencies identified are supplemented nutritionally to rejuvenate, rebuild, and repair what was damaged. For weeks, this phase will continue until the body has completely recuperated. Then, for maintenance, consuming tonifying foods afterwards, at regular intervals, is important for maintenance.

The Plan Used in Chinese Nutritional Therapy:

1. Using the like to treat the like – Combining foods and strong herbs as the essential ingredients to enhance the efficacy and potency of foods is often applied in Chinese nutritional therapy. In this system, the use of organotherapy (use of animal organs) to treat the human body is quite common. Even modern science recognizes the nutritional advantages of eating animal parts to the human body. This is proven by the creation of new medications whose key main ingredients are made up of animal parts. Pig thyroid gland that’s been desiccated, for example, is used as a thyroid hormone replacement medicine while cow and pig pancreas are essential elements used to make insulin to treat diabetes.

Among the animal kingdom, pigs have genes that are closest to humans. Pork is one of the most widely used meats used in Chinese nutritional therapy. Chicken feet and other animal parts are used to enhance joint and leg health, pig or duck kidneys are used to improve kidney health, ox tails are used to strengthen spinal and back bone health, fish heads are used to treat headache and boost brain power, etc.

2. Selecting foods based on season – Selecting food to neutralize the immoderate effects of climate is a good way to ward off illness.


If coldness infiltrates the body through the skin in winter, it leads to body pain, headaches, cold, and fever symptoms. If coldness penetrates the energy channels (meridians), it generates muscle, joint, and bone pain and cramps. If the coldness goes even deeper and affects the internal organs, the excess cold causes coldness in the limbs, pain in the stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and causes chronic diseases that are very hard to resolve. Ward off coldness attacks by including lots of slightly fatty foods and yang warming foods in your diet. To protect the body and counter immoderate coldness, you should regularly consume a few warming yang herbs and foods that include red ginseng, dangshen, astralagus, lamb, beef, chicken, garlic, chives, leek, onion, kale, parsnip, dill, fennel, chestnuts, cinnamon, and ginger.


Taking in foods to avert wind damage in spring is vital to ensure health. Anise, basil, fennel, ginger, shrimp, pine nuts, and oats are some of the foods that can help expel internal cold and wind. Foods that benefit the liver include animal liver, dandelion, sprout, goji berry, and chrysanthemum.


Because it is hot in summer, one should restrict the consumption of deep-fried, hot, and spicy foods. These foods can raise internal heat that dries vital fluids and cause stagnation. During summer, foods that are suitable to eat have cooling qualities. They include bitter melon, cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, mung beans, daikon, turnips, citrus fruits, and watermelon.

Late Summer

Foods with diuretic qualities like little red beans and broad beans can help eliminate excessive dampness in late summer. Avoid eating inordinately hot yang foods while cooling yin foods is very much recommended. Avoid ice cold drinks and foods that are cold in temperature, but not inherently cold. They can harm the abdomen and spleen causing sluggishness and indigestion that can slow down metabolic functions as well as the immune system.


Dryness is a dominating element during autumn that can cause chest pains, dry throat and nose, blood in the saliva, and heavy coughing due to the fact that it can easily injure the lungs. Body fluid deficiency is harmful. To increase body fluids and soothe the lungs, we need to consume highly nourishing yin food. Foods that can increase vital fluids include pork, oyster, sugar cane, honey, pear, peanuts, pine nut, tangerine, apple, snow-ear mushroom, seaweed, barley, asparagus, spinach, and soy.

3. Select food based on lifestyle, needs and age

Eating foods based on age, lifestyle, physical needs, and age can help you avoid under-eating or over-eating that only adds to the stress in your body.

Rapidly growing and very active people like young children require lots of carbohydrates and protein. To support their healthy development towards adulthood and active lifestyle, teens need to eat food with balanced nutrition and eat more often. Older people who are less active and with a weak digestive system should eat easy-to-digest foods and less food. People working in physically demanding jobs as well as athletes should consume lots of nutritious foods and carbohydrates to maintain energy. People who use their brain a lot need to constantly nourish it by eating lots of protein-rich foods.

4. Select food based on its action and taste

Our vital organs are directly affected by the taste of food. To benefit a specific organ each taste has to be taken in moderation. When it’s eaten in excess, it can create imbalance and injure the organ.

5. The use of the Yin and Yang principle

Like our body, each herb, each food, and each imbalance has its own specific neutral or yin or yang characteristic. In selecting the appropriate healing food, you first need to know the nature of your sickness and the constitution of your body.

When you are ill, the nature of your condition will overwhelm your body. In most cases, if a person opts for warmer foods over cold foods and gets better under warmer environments, he/she must have an excessive yin condition. The person is probably suffering from excessive condition if he/she is having a fever and prefers cold drinks and cooler environments. To help the person get well, foods of opposing nature should be eaten.

When our body is sick, it needs all the energy and even extra energy it can get to combat the illness. A stomach and spleen that is healthy can promote efficient digestion, absorption and movement of nutrients. To reduce the burden on your digestive system, you need to stay away from deep-fried and greasy foods, difficult to digest foods, raw foods, and cold foods. Instead, eat rice porridge, soup and other easy to digest and warm foods.

Chinese Nutritional Therapy is folk medicine. People use all the important ingredients to concoct home remedies to gain health benefits. It’s quite an inexpensive way to maintain and attain health compared to readymade medications; furthermore, people have full control over the quantity and quality of the ingredients used.