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The About Chinese Medicine Quarterly Newsletter

September 2008


Editor�s Notes

Welcome to the September 2008 edition of the About Chinese Medicine Quarterly.

The Chinese physicians of traditional medicine call the food that can enhance the body�s immune function food tonics. Food classified as tonics may be consumed in large quantities to enhance the immune function in acute diseases in general. Various types of cardiovascular malfunctions, cold limbs and shortness of breath may also be corrected by eating food tonics in large amounts.

Want to know the food tonics? READ ON!


The Food Tonics

There are four categories of common food tonics that can strengthen the body�s immune function: energy, blood, yin and yang tonics. In addition, there are organic tonics that are considered effective in strengthening a specific internal organ, namely liver, lung, heart, stomach, and spleen tonics. Kidneys are particular important organs and yin and yang tonics are both for the kidneys.


Energy Tonics

Energy deficiency refers to a low level of energy in the body or an incomplete function of the internal organs in general. A person with an energy deficiency may feel too lazy to talk, feel tired and weak, and has a poor appetite.

The food of energy tonics are beef, bird�s nest, bitter gourd seed, cherries, chicken, ginkgo, ginseng, grapes, herring, jackfruit, octopus, red and black dates, glutinous and polished rice, shark�s fin, shiitake mushrooms, squash, and tofu.


Blood Tonics

Blood deficiency refers to the symptoms that may result from an excessive loss of blood caused by severe bleeding or from a poor absorption of nutrients. Blood deficiency may give rise to dizziness, pale complexion, white lips and nails, numbness in hands and feet and light menstrual flow in women.

The food of blood tonics are beef, beef liver, chicken eggs, donggui, grapes, oxtail, oysters, pork liver, sea cucumber, black soybean skin and spinach.


Yin Tonics (Kidney Yin Tonics)

Yin deficiency, also called kidney yin deficiency, refers to a shortage of body fluid, or a shortage of semen in men. A person with yin deficiency often displays a dry throat, thirst, dry skin, cough with discharge of sputum or blood, urination in little amount, red lips and cheeks, blurred or poor vision, ringing in the ears, backache and premature ejaculation in men and menstrual disorders in women.

The food of yin tonics are abalone, air bladder of shark, apples, asparagus, tofu, bird�s nest, dates, duck and duck eggs, figs, white fungus, honey, kidney beans, mussels, oysters, royal jelly, sea cucumber, star fruit, sugar cane, walnuts, and yams.


Yang Tonics (Kidney Yang Tonics)

Yang deficiency, also called kidney yang deficiency, refers to a lack of yang energy in the kidneys, which is essential in the maintenance of body warmth. A person with yang deficiency often displays fatigue, cold limbs, shortness of breath, frequent urination, pale complexion, hair loss, impotence in men, slow growth, soft bones, and low spirit.

The food of yang tonics are air bladder of shark, beef, kidney, chestnuts, clove and clove oil, lobster, oxtail, pistachio nuts, raspberries, shrimp, sparrow eggs, star anise, and strawberries.


Enhancement of Immune Function

However, tonics are intended to enhance the immune function in order to correct immune deficiency and for that reason, there is no need for a person in good health to consume tonics in large amount. Remember, the Chinese theory of tonics is based upon the concept of balance, not excess.


We will talk about the other organs tonics in the next issue.



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