Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Nutrition is the knowledge of relationship between food and nature correspondence to human body that actually creates a supernatural healing power. This type of healing method is commonly used in two stages: 1. preventing chronic disease, 2. increase the function of immune system that shorting the recovering process. In ancient time, Chinese believe consume the right food at the right time can keep our body reach the homeostasis stage which means healthy life.
History of TCM Nutrition
In Chinese we call it Long Old Time Period (Antiquity 2200 BC). During this period, different clans began to form (usually couple of the families will stay one area so they can help out with their daily living works), and survival was based on overcoming struggles with nature. As the early inhabitants hunted for food, they discovered that some foods could relieve illness while others were poisonous and could cause death. The discovery of fire was especially important because it allowed people to eat cooked food that was more easily to digest. At the same time, the generation of heat led to other findings. The earliest beginnings of using herbs, acupuncture, and modxibustion to cure disease were seen. While using hot stones to warm themselves, inhabitants realized that pressing them against certain parts of the body could help alleviate certain sicknesses. They also found that by using bone needles and pricking themselves in a particular spot could relieve pain in other areas of the body. In addition, there were clan members who became specialists in these techniques, and were known as shamans 巫術 (wu). The practice of medicine was very much integrated with magic to cure illness.
The yellow Emperor and the Fire Emperor
Two well-known legends at the time were those of the Yellow emperor whose name was Huang Di, and the Fire Emperor who was bestowed the title Shennong. Shennong has numerous meanings in Chinese such as “divine farmer”, the “ heavenly husbandman”, and a more modern interpretation as a distinguished doctor. It is nuclear whether these emperors actually existed but some historians date their existence back to 2500 to 2700BC.
Both of these important figures are the attributed author’s of two well-known books that have contributed significantly to Traditional Chinese Medicine. These are the Huang Di Nei Jing ( The Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic) and the Shennong Bencaojing ( Classic of herbal Medicine ). In those two great books gather a large amount of knowledge about natural plants that categorize into two parts: 1. “food” that can be consume daily, and giving energy; 2. “herb” that has greater healing power, but cannot be taking daily.
Yin and Yang Theory and Model
Ancient Chinese people were greatly interested in the relationships and patterns that occurred in nature. Instead of studying isolated things, they viewed the world as a harmonious and holistic entity. In their eyes, no single being or form could exist unless it was seen in relation to its surrounding environment. By simplifying these relationships, they tried to explain complicated phenomena in the universe.
Yin yang theory is a kind of logic which views things in relation to its whole. The theory is based on two basic components: yin and yang, which are neither materials nor energy. However, this above statement is not totally correct. Later on in the history doctors try to apply this theory to the human body. Qi is Yang and Blood is Ying. They combine in a complementary manner and form a method for explaining relationships between objects. Gradually, this logic was developed into a system of thought that was applied to other areas. TCM is an example of one area where they yin yang theory is used to understand complicated relationships in the body.
The original concept of yin and yang came from the observation of nature and the environment. “Yin” Originally referred to the shady side of a slope while “Yang” referred to the sunny side. Later, this thinking was used in understanding other occurrences, which occurred in pairs and had complementary and opposing characteristics in nature. Some examples include: sky (Heaven) and earth, day and night (Sun and Moon), water and fire, active and passive, male and female and so on. Working with these ideas, ancient people recognized nearly all things could have yin and yang properties. Yin and Yang can describe two relative aspects of the same phenomena such as the example of the slope, or the can describe two different objects like sky and earth. Usually, Yang is associated with energetic qualities. For example, movement, outward and upward direction, heat, brightness, stimulation, activity and excitement are all yang qualities. Yin, on the other hand, is associated with the physical form of an object and has less energetic qualities such as rest, inward and downward direction, cold, darkness, condensation, inhibition, and nourishment.
Four Nature and Five Taste
- Four Nature (Belong to Yang) including: Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot (Neutral)
- Five Taste (Belong to Yin) including: Sour, Bitter Sweet, Pungent, Salty, Astringent, Bland
- Yin and Yang in Nature:
Cold – Max of Yin ( Large Yin) Cool- Min of Yin ( Small Yin)
Hot-Max of Yang ( Large Yang) Warm- Min of Yang ( Small Yang)
- Yin and Yang in Taste:
Pungent, Sweet, Bland---Yang
Sour, Bitter, Salty, Astringent---Yin
Basic Yin / Yang from Eight Principal Disharmony
- A Deficiency pattern
Signs of weakness and slow movements
Tiredness, and has shortness of breath
- A Excess pattern
Strong body type with big muscles
Heavy and coarse respiration ( with Loud voice)
Feel Thirsty or Hot all the time.
Discomfort when touched with pressure.
- A Cold pattern
Aversion to cold and wind
Like to drink / eat hot food
Pale complexion face and lips
Clear urine, or watery stools
Feel tired all the time. Women
- A Heat (Hot) pattern
Always feel hot, dislike of heat (Red Face, High body tempeture)
Like to eat cold food and drinks