Diet in Chinese Medicine

By The Grove Chinese Medicine

We do not believe in strict diets or fads. In most cases a wide variety of every thing in moderation is acceptable. That said, there has been a long history of dietary therapy in Chinese medicine and each food possesses a certain thermal nature (i.e. being cold, cool, neutral, warm or hot). Dietary changes can be helpful in resolving a condition and can also help identify if there are certain foods that are triggers to making a condition worse (or better!).

Generally with skin conditions we want to avoid too many heating and hot natured foods as these can aggravate most conditions.  A general example is to avoid chilli, sugar, alcohol and perhaps too many coffees – these can create more heat (inflammation) in the body and hence more flushing, redness, dryness or itching.

We would also want to add more cooling foods into the diet to help clear heat and this could mean having more leafy greens, salads, cucumbers.

Below is a table demonstrating the thermal nature of some foods.

 Cold and Cool  Neutral Warm and Hot
Watermelon Rice Chilli
Cucumber Oats Ginger
Lettuce/ Sprouts Spelt Coffee
Most Vegetables if raw Pumpkin Lamb
Tofu Potatoes Alcohol
Carrots Shell Fish


During a consultation we assess the patient and their condition – from this we can give advice on certain foods that may be helpful and detrimental to their condition. There is no single diet that is suitable for everyone. Like Hippocrates, the Chinese have known the truth of the statement “let food be thy medicine” for centuries. And as in all endeavours in Chinese medicine finding a balance is the goal.