Obstructs movement therefore useful in checking diarrhea & excessive perspiration.
Reduces body heat. Dries body fluids. Induces diarrhea (which can be used to reduce fever)
Improves digestion. Slows down acute symptoms. Neutralizes the toxic effects of food.
Induces perspiration. Promotes energy circulation. Dissolves toxins.
Softens hardness (has been used to treat lymph nodes & other symptoms re: hardening of the muscles and glands.
Examples of foods
Vinegars, lemons, apricots, grapes, raspberry, plum, etc.
Greens, green tea, asparagus, vinegars, celery, lettuce, etc.
Most vegetables and grains.
Black pepper, cloves, garlic, ginger, green onion, red pepper, etc.
Sea salt, sea vegetables, soy sauce, barley, etc.
In the diet of a healthy person the flavors should be balanced, with the sweet flavor predominating, because the Earth Element and its associated flavors-are considered the most central aspect of the body and its nourishment. Such balancing is simple. It means that each day the sweet flavor—the primary flavor of most carbohydrates such as grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruit—should be accompanied by small amounts of bitter, salty, pungent, and sour foods. Very often these primary sweet carbohydrates will contain sufficient secondary flavors themselves; otherwise, condiments can be used. When health is poor and during acute disease conditions, it is usually helpful to change just two flavors, emphasizing one obviously important flavor and restricting a contraindicated one.
The flavors not only create balance but also bring a person into harmony and seasonal influences. Should one be out of balance, first balance the individual, and then work for seasonal attunement as much as possible without violating the individual’s internal climate.
Recommended layman’s introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine: Daniel Reid’s The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing.
Food Tastes: A Quick Reference
Pungent, sweet, salty (also sedating)
Bitter, pungent, sour (also drying)
Bitter, sour, sweet (cooling, sedating)
Sour and bitter (cooling and moistening), also sweet and oily (sedating)
Often food craving are the result of an imbalance. For instance, when one craves sweet rather then going and eating a Snickers bar you might rather balance the craving eating something bitter, pungent or sour.