The essence of eastern medicine is that each animal should eat according to his/her constitution. In western medicine, food is described according to the amount of protein, fat, minerals, carbohydrates, etc it contains.
This is based on laboratory analysis and is a sum of the chemical ingredients of a food before it enters the body. In eastern medicine, food is described as possessing certain qualities, such as whether it is warming or cooling, or according to its action on the body. The nutritional value of the food is described as the energetic properties the food exerts on the body.
In eastern medicine, food is described according to temperatures and flavors or as having a specific therapeutic effect. Food is also said to enter certain meridian pathways and exert its effect on particular organs.
Food may tonify a bodily function or organ or may help to reduce the influence of a particular pathologic condition. This knowledge of food energetics can help the practioner choose foods to include in the diet which are tailor-made for an individual patient’s personal energetic needs.
In disease conditions including cancer, food therapy is often used as part of a multi-modality TCM approach in conjunction with acupuncture and herbal therapy. Food can be used to tonify deficiency or sedate/clear excess. Food may also be used to support the function of particular organs or support the Chinese “elements” of blood, qi, yin, and yang.
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