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Immunity Boosting foods from a TCM perspective

Every year we see many foods being heralded as immunity boosting foods. In light of the current pandemic, I thought it might interest you to see some of the correlation between local food knowledge and Traditional Chinese Medicine knowledge of these foods. Including some of these foods in ones diet is often thought as a way of preventing illness, but too much of a good thing isn’t always that great. For example eating too much cold natured foods when there is already internal cold can compound issues. So the key is to try to keep the balance right. The list is arranged as follows: Common Name (Chinese Herb Name); Common/medical information; TCM Information – temperature, taste, indications, meridians entered.

Almonds (Tian Xing Ren):

Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E.

As a neutral and sweet food, almonds have a tonifying property and enter the lung and Large Intestine Meridians. As such they are indicated for treating constipation due to dryness and cough due to deficiency.

Bell Peppers (La Jiao):

Contain twice the vitamin C as citrus. Also a source of Beta Carotene.

As a warm food, bell peppers help circulate the blood and disperse cold. Enters the Stomach and kidney meridians.


Rich in Vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants.

Sweet, Bitter and Pungent. Helps circulate Qi, clear heat and resolves water accumulations. Enters the Spleen, Stomach, Bladder and Kidney meridians.

Citrus (Chen Pi – dried orange peel):

A rich source of Vitamin C. Can help increase white blood cell production which fight infection

Dries Dampness, Dissolves Phlegm and Qi stagnated in the Lungs as a result of a weak Spleen.

Clove (Ding Xiang):

A rich source of manganese. analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects. Can aid regulate (lower) blood sugar levels. Contains Eugenol which slows blood clotting.

Warm and Pungent. Dispels cold and warms the middle burner. Can aid stomach (hiccup and nausea) by pushing stomach Qi downwards. Enters spleen stomach and kidney meridians.

Garlic (Da Suan):

Widely known to fight Infections – contains sulphur compounds including Allicin. Has anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal properties

Warm and Pungent. Helps circulate the Qi, move Blood, expel cold and kill parasites. NOT FOR USE in yin deficiency causing fire of eye, tooth, throat or tongue disease. Enters Spleen, Stomach Lung and Large Intestine meridians.

Ginger (Sheng Jing):

Decrease Inflammation, Decrease Nausea, Reduce Sore throat

Warm, Pungent and Acrid. Releases pathogens to the exterior/ disperses cold/ Alleviates Cough. Balances Nutritive and Protective Qi in cases where sweating is not improving the condition. Enters Lung Spleen, Stomach meridians.

Honey (Feng Mi):

Rich in bioactive plant compounds and antioxidants. Can lower bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol levels. Can lower Triglycerides thus helping protect the heart. Promotes burn, wound and diabetic ulcer healing. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Can reduce cough symptoms. Not for children under 1 year old. I have personally found honey beneficial in easing sore throat. Allow the honey to flow down the throat to directly apply it’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefit.

Neutral and Sweet. Tonify Qi of the middle energiser, relieve spasm and reduce pain, moisten lungs to relieve cough. Smooth stool. Caution, can increase internal dampness and abdominal fullness. Enters the Spleen, Stomach, Lung and Large Intestine meridians.

Spinach (Bo Cai – spinach with root):

Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Beta Carotene. Cooking lightly will release more Vitamin A from Spinach

Cool and Sweet. Tonifies the Blood and clears heat. Enters Large Intestine, Stomach and Liver meridians.

Turmeric (Jiang Huang):

Widely accepted to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Warm, Pungent and Bitter. Enters the Liver and Spleen Meridians. Activates the Blood and moves Qi, Dredges the meridians and alleviates pain. Treats pain of the Heart, chest, ribs and abdomen due to blood and Qi stagnation. Also treats wind cold arthritis

If your interested in talking more about how foods or Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you feel free to reach out to me by phone or email.

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