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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Food Cures For Illness

Before prescribing any herbs, a traditional practitioner may well try an allied form of treatment--food therapy. This approach dates back to the earliest Chinese medical texts, which urged doctors to "use medicine as a last resort only when food fails."

Food therapy is not about cutting down on fat and calories. Instead, traditional Chinese physicians use specific foods as another way of balancing an individual's yin and yang aspects. Like herbs, foods are categorized and prescribed according to qualities including their "hotness" or "coldness" general effect on the body and flavor -- hot, sour, bitter, sweet or salty. Different flavors are considered to have affinities for specific organ systems--for example, salty with the kidneys, sour with the liver.

Food plays a fundamental role in Chinese medicine in preventing as well as treating disease. If dietary guidelines are followed, disease is less likely to develop. Ideally, meals should strike a balance of tastes, textures, smells, colors and other qualities that will promote internal harmony among the organ systems.

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