Talk about Four Natures and Five Flavors

Four Natures

The four natures include "cold," "hot," "warm," and "cool."

Foods of "cold" or "cool" properties can be used to treat hot-natured diseases. The following are foods that are cold or cool in nature: barley, millet, buckwheat(荞麦qiáomài), green bean, celery, spinach, lettuce, green cabbage stems, turnips (white), bamboo shoots, lily bulbs, lotus roots, eggplant, tomato, watermelon, white gourds, sponge gourds, cucumber, bitter melons, apples, pears, oranges, bananas, rabbit meat,frog(青蛙qīngwā) meat, duck meat(鸭肉yāròu), duck eggs(鸭蛋yādàn), crabs, sea couch (grass), freshwater snails, kelp, laver, green tea, soy sauce, table salt, and rock candy.

The "hot" or "warm" foods are used in treating the cold-natured diseases. The foods that are hot or warm in nature include: glutinous rice, Chinese sorghum (kind of cereal grass), pumpkins, hot pepper, ginger, scallions, onions, leeks, mutton, dog meat, and so on.

Besides the four natures, there are other foods that are neutral in nature, like rice, wheat, corn, beans, and so on.

Five Flavors

In terms of the theory of Five Elements, it is held in TCM that the bitter flavor is connected to the heart, sour to the liver, sweet to the spleen, pungent to the lungs, and salty to the kidneys.

Foods with a pungent flavor include: ginger, scallion, garlic, hot pepper, pepper, cayenne pepper, onion, leek, and spirit.

Foods with a sweet flavor include: potato, lotus root, wheat, polished rice, pea, milk, pork, chestnut, date, and honey.

Foods with a sour flavor include: tomato, tangerine, plum, lemon, grape, papaya, haw, cherry apple, pomegranate, and vinegar.

Foods with a bitter flavor include: bitter melon, almond, lily bulb, orange peel, tea, coffee, bitter green, arrowroot, and pig liver.

Foods with a salty flavor include: barley, millet, dried purple seaweed, kelp, jellyfish, pork, beef, crab, and table salt.

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