Oriental Medicine Diet – The Kidney

Article by Jack Schmalzriedt, DOM herbal medicine press.

A good diet protects and supports the kidney and its ability to function properly. Kidney is the foundation of yin and yang. A proper diet enables the Kidney to support and influence the yin and yang of the entire body, with yin energy nurturing, supporting, and moistening the body and yang energy warming, energizing, and moving the body.

Kidney yang is the root of yang, providing energy and warmth for the entire body, enabling proper function. As the kidney dislikes cold, energetically cold foods depletes kidney yang and blocks its ability to warm the whole body yang. More specific to the digestive process the kidney yang can be seen in the digestive process as digestive fire. When the digestive fire is healthy and strong food is effectively transformed into qi and blood. If the digestive fire is weak it cannot provide enough warmth and energy to the digestive process, resulting in diarrhea, bloating, poor appetite, dull abdominal pain.

The Kidney is the source of life, or original qi, and is often called the “Root of Life” as it stores and controls the jing, the essence of our physical body.

Jing is composed of prenatal Jing that is inherited from the parents and stored in the kidneys and postnatal or acquired Jing in the form of Qi and nourishment is derived from food via the spleen and stomach and from air via the lungs.

This nourishing essence supports the whole body with the surplus being stored in the kidney. Prenatal jing cannot be replaced or replenished, however it can be conserved through proper diet and lifestyle with the postnatal jing nurturing and supporting the prenatal jing. In cases of congenital insufficiency or constitutional weakness derived from poor prenatal jing, it is very important for the body to be supported and supplemented as much as possible by the postnatal jing.

Cooking foods longer at lower temps, like stews and bone broths, can be particularly beneficial for kid- ney support. Avoid raw and cold foods and drinks or ice water. Minimize eating raw foods, like salads especially in the winter.