The Traditional Chinese Medicine Diet

hey guys dr. axe here doctor of natural medicine and founder of in this video I'm going to talk to you about TCM diet also known as the traditional Chinese medicine diet and ways that Chinese medicine can help you transform your health and within Chinese medicine there's something called the five elements and five elements this also stems from something called five elements acupuncture but I'll tell you by learning these principles it's going to help you really know your own body I think this is what everybody wants everybody wants to know a custom and personalized plan for them and so I'm going to teach you in this video what type you might be so you know the exact steps you need to take to heal your body completely using TCM that's traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Chinese medicine has been used over 4000 years and I believe today it's the most accurate way of diagnosing and treating illness much more accurate than our conventional medical Western system today so there are five elements of Chinese medicine that relate to the earth and the way our organ system works our 5 organ systems let's talk about the first element that's the wood element in Chinese medicine that has to do a springtime also that's related to green foods if you are struggling with a liver issue or a gallbladder issue to where you don't digest fats properly or you have any type of liver condition elevated liver enzymes or you ever been exposed to toxins then that means you want to follow the wood element diet now also people can be wood elements and that's me for instance wood element people are typically very wiry they're typically you can see their veins they're typically would look like sometimes rock climbers ish but they're again they're a little bit more lean and why we think when you hear the wood element think tree roots okay so think roots and how they're built that's a wood element and those people tend to be more susceptible to liver and gallbladder issues and not digesting fats properly and the emotion they experience is frustration and sometimes anger so think angry drunk if you have an angry drunk what does that affect it affects their liver and vice versa if somebody's liver problems can burst out anger so again that's the wood element in Chinese medicine if you are having liver issues or gallbladder issues at all gall stones gallbladder removed any sort of anger frustration issues you want to start nourishing those organs and this is the big difference in Chinese medicine in Western medicine today we try and treat a disease treating illness in Chinese medicine they look to nourish an organ to help the body heal and the foods that are most nourishing and healing to the liver and gallbladder are going to be foods that are sour so think sauerkraut also things like a green apple also foods that are slightly bitter but foods that are mostly sour and slightly bitter are the most nourishing so again foods are going to in food that are very green okay so what element think trees think green think grass so vegetables like fresh salads and spinach veggie juices herbs like milk thistle and dandelion also a boo plum is another one in Chinese medicine and then green apples but think green foods fresh foods living foods those are going to be the best for healing the liver and and the gallbladder in foods that are sour the next element in Chinese medicine is going to be your earth element and the earth element is going to be for people that tend to be a little bit a little bit more round sometimes people that tend to be a little more jolly sometimes they'll get some redness in their cheeks and the earth element tends to be people that emotionally struggle with worry and this also from a seasonal standpoint has to do with the fall harvest so if you're a person and the people that are the earth element tend to struggle with Candida so if you're a person that you know your chronic worrier if you've ever struggled with Candida the Chinese medicine or TCM diet can help you and specifically you want to do foods that nourish the spleen and so that's connected to the spleen and stomach those foods are going to be warming vegetables that are just mildly sweet like pumpkin sweet potato butternut squash spaghetti squash even corn those food that are lightly sweet and nourish those organs now on the flip end obviously of Candida or you're an earth element person you don't want to get too much sweets so that it's all about balance if you get too much sweet it totally burns out your spleen and your stomach versus lightly sweet you have a little bit of pumpkin or a little bit of butternut squash things that just are mildly sweet those are nourishing to those organs if you're consuming just one to two servings a day so a person that's that type of body type you want to do let's say a diet that's high in things like bone broth and organic meat and also some good starchy vegetables so think as a meal shepherd's pie that's a great example of a diet that an earth element person would benefit from the number three element we're going to focus on now is the metal element and the metal element are typically people that have big strong bold features if you think of a a big muscular linebacker somebody that sort of chiseled and built like stone that's a metal element in Chinese medicine that's their typical build and those people tend to struggle emotionally with with grief and sadness sometimes depression those would be those negative emotions they experienced that can affect specifically the lung and the colons and the metal element has to do with your immune system if you've ever struggle with any type of immune system issue or immune weakness you want to consume foods that support whether that's autoimmune disease or food sensitivities or food allergies any of those issues or signs that you should be really supporting that immune system so white foods really support the immune system and the lung so think horseradish think potato white potatoes think garlic and onions and cauliflower all of those foods are very nourishing to a metal element so again getting a lot of those immune foods like garlic and onions cauliflower those things are very nourishing and then also probiotic rich foods like yogurt and kefir are great for those in raw cheese's like a raw sheep's cheese those are really nourishing to the metal element the number four element we've got to take care of is going to be your water element and the water element is really related to the health of your kidneys and your adrenal glands which can sometimes even go and affect the thyroid but the adrenal glands and kidneys specifically so if you ever struggle with any type of infection any type of fatigue or low energy levels or adrenal fatigue issues or chronic fatigue those are warning signs that you need to nourish those organs also any hormone imbalance if you're a person that struggles with early menopause or PCOS or any hormonal issue you want to follow those and support the water element in Chinese medicine and the water element tends to struggle with fear they become fearful and if you think about this that's tied to an organ if you get extremely fearful people can actually urinate themselves because that affects the kidneys well think about doing that in a light way day-after-day you lightly affect the kidneys and the adrenal glands you wear those organs out in that way so the way you want to support those organs is doing dark-colored nutrient-dense Foods think berries like blueberries and blackberries cranberries also think beets and spinach and seaweed very dark antioxidant rich foods and the fifth element in Chinese medicine is the fire element and that emotion tends to be something that's very fiery or passionate think the summer months the best foods for that are spicy foods and that's going to be things like cayenne pepper it's going to be Mexican food it's going to be corn tortillas it's going to be hot sauce so again foods that are very warming and hot to the body those are going to be the best salsa even guacamole those things are great for a fire element and that's typically fire element is acid reflux if you have acid reflux or a heart issue such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure or circulatory issues you're going to want to follow the Chinese medicine tips and diet to help heal the fire element and so guys I could go on and on and on about this if you want to learn more about Chinese medicine visit my website dr. axe calm that's dr ax e calm or just search dr. axe chinese medicine or dr. axe TCM diet but i'm telling you Chinese medicine is incredible it's rich it's one of the top things you can follow to heal your body naturally so if you want to learn more again visit my website subscribe here the YouTube channel I hoped you've enjoyed this video on the TCM diet also known as the traditional Chinese medicine diet


  1. Dr Walt. Please stick to you learned medicine instead of attempting to tackle TCM. In TCM we do not have any type of Diet, this is a Western notion. As I learned in China, Westerners attempt to Market things to their advantage for fame and money. TCM is easy to learn yet har to practice while Western Medicines are hard to learn but easy to practice. Also the Nutrition you learned is nothing like I learned in TCM. Your 5 Element explanation is very Western and not TCM.
    Thanks, Dr Walt AP Dipl NCCAOM, RN BSN, CSRN, BSMT, MHt

  2. ooooh nooooo spicy food for fire element!!! per my acupuncturist we need to cool the body not make it more spicy

  3. I am starting to be very passionate about veganism (started a week ago) but since of my liver qi deficiency, (cause by pregnancy) one of my Tcm teachers told me that I need to eat meat to be healthy because of not having enough blood (or my liver not working enough?) or else I will be unhealthy?. Can I nourish my liver from not eating meat just as fast?

  4. Everyone should learn the fundamentals of TCM try acupuncture for a couple years then create their own opinion.

  5. I was waiting to resonate with one of the elements and when you spoke on the water element I was amazed. Everything you said about that element resonated with my health and wellness. Thank you so much!

  6. Woaaaah recommending hot sauce and spicy foods for someone with acid reflux???? What kind of medical recommendation is that? Please put more critical thought into producing medical advice content that reaches millions of people. YIKES.

  7. I relate more to the metal element but I'm definitely not built like a linebacker. Then I see multiple ones I can see myself in, so what do you do when you have multiple issues? I think my main two are depression, immune disease and hormonal issues.

    cayenne pepper
    corn tortillas
    hot sauce
    Sorry i couldn't help myself by laughing myself to bed!! :D:D

  9. and here's a good suggestion if you are eating cold raw foods make sure its accompanied by hot or warm drinks like tea or hot water with lemon the spleen likes warmth and the stomach likes be at what is called a hundred degree soup following this will help you avoid spleen and stomach issues

  10. also we need to understand that eating an overabundance of foods related to any single element can cause disharmony in the associated organs so eating to much sweet foods will cause digestive issues like diarrhea, also remember eat according to the seasons so for example don't eat cold raw foods in the autumn and winter those seasons are meant for you to eat warming cooked hearty meals. and every meal should have a balances of the 5 tastes sour, sweet, spicy/pungent, bitter, and salty balance is the key to your health. just some extra information for you guys from a 2nd year TCM student

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