Eat Your Medicine: Nutritional Therapy in TCM



Over-medium, organic, pasture-raised egg cooked in coconut oil, topped with local kimchi on gluten-free bread.

If it seems like I’m all about the food posts on social media lately, it’s because I’m all about the food posts PERIOD. Food is why I got into Naturopathic medicine (because, hello, a medical discipline that teaches about how food IS medicine? Sign me up ‍!) but it’s also a big cornerstone of TCM, aka Traditional Chinese Medicine.


In TCM, that gorgeous, pasture-raised, organic chicken egg is used hugely as food therapy for disorders of the blood. If you’ve ever heard a TCM diagnosis before, they can sound like strange, poetic randomness compared to Western diagnosis. But once you start to understand what each word and diagnosis REPRESENTS, the brilliance (and accuracy) of it is mind blowing. I mean, it’s medicine based on thousands of years of observation. Safe to say, they watched enough people to know what they’re talking about (and yes, there’s TONS of research to back up that it works. Check PubMed. The book I’m even citing this from is written by an MD acupuncturist.)


So what’s a “blood disorder” that chicken eggs are used as a nutritional therapy for? For one, “Blood Vacuity,” or blood deficiency. Symptoms show as a dull complexion, pale lips, anemia, fatigue, forgetfulness, restlessness, insomnia, mental instability… most common everyday individual who fits this criteria? A woman with a heavy period. There’s a big connection between deficiency of blood and tanked energy (or qi.) And just ask any woman with a rough period: that connection is REAL.


Let’s take a second to shoutout to kimchi, the Korean fermented vegetable probiotic superfood. I find that the busier I get, the more likely I am to forget to take my probiotic. So solution? I’m eating it. Kimchi is found in studies to contain lactic acid bacteria (or LAB) which is the secret to it’s power as a functional food.


Functionality (or use) of kimchi includes:

  • Anti-cancer

  • Anti-obesity

  • Anti-constipation

  • Colorectal health promotion

  • Probiotic

  • Cholesterol reducing

  • Antioxidant

  • Anti-aging

  • Immune promotion

  • Brain health promoting

Plus, it tastes amazing. Find an ND, nutritionist, DTCM, acupuncturist, or other holistic practitioner you like and talk to them about how food therapy can help support your health!



References:

  • Chinese Nutrition Therapy-Dietetics in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Joerg Kastner, MD, LAc. New York, NY: Thieme Medical Publishers; 2004.

  • Park, K. Y., Jeong, J. K., Lee, Y. E., & Daily III, J. W. (2014). Health benefits of kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables) as a probiotic food. Journal of medicinal food, 17(1), 6-20. Doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.3083.

*Though based in research, personal, and clinical experience, the opinions in this article should not be taken as medical advice. Botanical medicine and nutriceuticals should be treated with the same caution and care as pharmaceuticals, as both have the potential for strong, potentially adverse effects and allergic reactions. Please consult a trained herbal medicine practitioner, licensed Naturopathic Doctor, or licensed Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine before attempting treatment.

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