The Five Fabulous Flavours of Foods

Greetings Dear Readers, 

Whole foods grown in nature provide us with a delicious variety of colours, textures and  flavours.  The interesting thing in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is that each flavour has specific effects on the body’s energy, channels and organs.

TCM outlines 5 flavours: sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty.  Each flavour shifts the energy of certain organ systems.  Using TCM Dietary Therapy you can tailor your diet for medicinal purposes. “Let food be thy medicine” as Hippocrates said.   For example, if my appetite is weak, I can eat pungent foods which stimulate the appetite.  On the contrary, if I have Stomach Heat, I would avoid pungent foods and instead eat sweet foods because the Sweet flavour clears toxins and bitter flavours because bitter clears Heat.

Flavour balancing is important to health and the enjoyment of food, especially for those starting out a raw food lifestyle.  A meal consisting of all five flavours often leaves us satiated and prevents overeating.  For example, if I’m making a raw tomato sauce, because tomatoes are sour, I can throw in some sweet food such as a few raisins to a create balanced, pleasing taste.  Here is five flavour food chart to guide you in medicinal eating.  

Flavours Organs Actions Foods
Sour Liver/Gall Bladder Astringes and consolidates, stops abnormal discharges of fluids and substances, i.e. stops diarrhea, heavy bleeding and sweating, focuses the mind Lemon, tomatoes, olives, vinegar, peaches, oranges, grapefruit, strawberry, pineapple, pickles, tamarind, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranate, plums, mango, grapes, pomelo, tangerine
Bitter Heart/Small Intestine Clears Heat, Dries Dampness, increases appetite, purges, moves Qi downwards to promote urination and bowel movements Asparagus, arugula, broccoli, coriander, bitter gourd, lettuce, vinegar, tea leaves, turnips, gingko, collard greens, kale, spinach, alfalfa, rhubarb, dandelion leaf,
Sweet Spleen/Stomach Increases energy and mood, calms mind, reduces pain, neutralizes toxins, moistens and nourishes, balances the elements Dates, raisins, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, grapes, apple, pears, corn, peanut, shitake mushroom, potato, peas, rice, sugar cane, cherry, chestnut, longan fruit, beans, nuts, dairy, honey
Pungent Lungs/Large Intestine Moves qi and blood, disperses accumulations such as mucous, increases Heat, expels toxins, increases appetite, promotes sweating Fresh ginger, onion, leeks, green onion, chives, radish, cayenne, cinnamon, mustard, citrus peel, fennel, spearmint, celery, coriander, peppercorn, chili, nutmeg, jalepeno pepper
Salty Kidney/Bladder Dissolves masses, softens hardness, moistens intestines to promote bowel movements, nourishes Blood Seaweed, kelp, soya sauce, celery, Braggs liquid aminos

What flavours do you like best? Love to hear your comments and questions.

Yours in health,


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