A Recipe for Cool

Bronwyn's picture

Sometimes during a treatment, a patient will ask me what a particular point does. This is a tricky question, because typically we use acupuncture points not for their individual properties, but as a prescription. I usually explain that they work together as a whole. The same can be said of the herbs (which are rarely prescribed in isolation but rather in formulas), and also foods. For example, I don’t say “eat beets because they have lots of iron”, or “eat lemons because of the vitamin C”. Health and nutrition work as a whole system, so the importance of variety cannot be overstated

There is another element of nutrition that TCM takes very seriously, and that’s the energetics of food. When your practitioner says “you should eat cooling foods”, you automatically think “like put ice in it?” But in Chinese medicine, all foods, like the herbs, are divided into categories of warming and cooling, cold and hot.

Cooling and cold foods have the effect of clearing heat/inflammation, nourishing blood and yin. These are especially good for folks with “hot type” constitutions. Some of the indications of this would be dryness, feeling hot, red eyes and face, headaches, high blood pressure, or any burning/heat sensations.

Warming foods have the opposite effect. They warm and nourish, building the yang aspect of the body. If you often feel cold, with cold hands and feet, fatigue, pale complexion, bloating after eating, and edema, then some warming foods may be best for you. This is only a rough guide, so there may be quite a bit of variation, and, of course, you can have more than one thing going on. Generally speaking, this is a good guide for choosing the foods that will make up your dinner plan.

Some of these foods seem intuitive: peppermint is cooling, ginger is warming. However, not all of them are obvious. For example why is tofu cold, and basil warm? Either way, here is a good resourse with a list of warming and cooling foods.

As for the promised recipe, here is a very cooling drink I became addicted to while travelling in Spain many years ago. My only Spanish language skills: “dos limonadas por favor”. This recipe is a rough guide only, as the amounts will vary based on personal preference.


Juice from two large lemons

A handful of fresh mint leaves

Sugar or honey


Lukewarm water

  • Mix the sugar/honey with water until fully dissolved

  • Bruise the mint leaves until they are a slightly darker green colour

  • Add all ingredients together in your blender until the ice is crushed and mint leaves are pulverized

  • Strain over ice and enjoy garnished with a sprig of mint!

If you have questions about diet and how it relates to your chinese medicine constitution, call today and book your free 15 phone consultation.