Power Foods

This post is copied from our older, original blog. Original post date 5/12/2011.

We taught a class last week at Newton Community Education about “Eating for Health and Balance” – about using food as a form of medicine. In TCM, food and nutrition are an essential part of our medicine – as important as herbal medicine and acupuncture. Vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and meat have healing properties and innate qualities that determine how they act in the body. We can use our diet to improve imbalances in our body and spirit. Here are a couple “power foods” that we discussed, that have many important healing properties!


  • Qualities: cooling, sweet
  • Functions: reduces swelling, stops bleeding, reduces heat in the body, helps to move blood when it is stuck
  • Uses: cancer, dysentery/diarrhea, blood clots, stroke, painful menstruation, protects circulatory system

Shiitake Mushroom

  • Qualities: neutral temperature, sweet
  • Functions: benefits Stomach, stimulates immune system
  • Uses: cancer, viruses, elevated cholesterol, immunocompromised conditions


  • Qualities: warming, sweet and slightly bitter-spicy
  • Functions: eases Lung congestion, benefits digestion, nourishing (lots of vitamins and minerals)
  • Uses: ulcers, productive cough/bronchitis, constipation

Sweet Potato

  • Qualities: cooling, sweet
  • Functions: strengthens digestive system, builds Qi energy, removes toxins, nourishes Yin energy/moisture
  • Uses: deficient conditions, inflammatory conditions, diarrhea, night blindness, impaired lactation


  • Qualities: neutral temperature, sweet
  • Functions: cleans and strengthens intestines, improves appetite, stops bleeding
  • Uses: dysentery, chronic diarrhea, stroke (or high stroke risk), high blood pressure, constipation, skin inflammation


  • Qualities: warming, sweet and sour
  • Functions: warms and energizes whole body
  • Uses: chronic diarrhea, cold conditions, weak digestion, Blood deficiency/anemia
  • Other: excellent source of calcium, protein, iron


  • Qualities: warming, sweet and slightly bitter
  • Functions: soothing and calming, restores nervous and reproductive systems, strengthens digestive system, nourishes Qi energy
  • Uses: deficient conditions, digestive issues, high cholesterol, anxiety, weak bones (or healing after bone injury), anxiety or depression


  • Qualities: warming, acrid (spicy)
  • Functions: fights common cold, reduces toxicity of other foods, relieves nausea, warms body core (dried version), improves digestion
  • Uses: onset of cold symptoms, cold conditions (interior, extremities), digestive issues (gas, bloating), morning sickness, food poisoning