in chinese dietetic therapy (or food-therapy), it is believed that the properties of certain foods can act as prophylactics to prevent diseases. it is also common practise to try food-therapy before using pharmaceuticals, turning to them only if the food does not work. in a famous chinese classic named qian jin yao fang ( "recipes of thousand gold coins value") one chapter is found especially about this therapy with food. the books author compares medicines and foods:
"medicaments are ferocious like soldiers of the high guard, and hence should not be thoughtlessly applied in minor cases."
whereas "food can dispel harmful influences, bequeath the internal organs, refresh the spirit and replenish the qi and blood."
it is believed that if the organs in the body become weaker, it is because of a loss of equilibrium between yin and yang, and the main reason for any resulting diseases. food and beverage are able to correct this imbalance, in the same way a treatment should. by the right selection of food the organ systems' balance can be regained and it is only then, that a positive result by any treatment can be achieved easily, no matter which kind of therapy is applied.
there are four potent imbalances: yang excess exhibits itself in fever, impatience, bad temper, headaches, rapid pulse, and high blood pressure. yang deficiency often shows itself in night sweats, exhaustion, constipation, backache, and impotence. yin excess, which is very rarely seen, manifests itself in lethargy, aches, shivering, fluid retention, and excessive mucus occurring in the lungs and nasal passages, in the bowel and as a vaginal discharge. yin deficiency is exhibited in nervous exhaustion and tension, hot flushes, and fevers.
if there is a "heat"-syndrome (for example an easily dry mouth, acne, hard stool, deep yellow urine etc.) or "heat" disease, cooling foods will be prescribed. if a "cold"-syndrome is present (cool extremities, fear of cold temperature, diarrhea after eating cooled food etc.) or even a "cold" disease, then warming foods are recommended.
essential energy of foods: