For the next seven postings, we are going to look at food recommendations for your ‘root’ imbalances. Going to a TCM Doctor or Acupuncturist they will diagnose you with a specific ‘root’ behind your symptoms… these foods then go along accordingly.

Foods to Remove Dampness in the body:

Dampness comes from the failure to burn off or transform moisture into the body. It is nearly always associated with a weak spleen, often with a weak kidney and sometimes with a weak lung. Dampness can lodge in a specific part of the body or affect us more generally. As the word suggests, dampness can make us feel heavy and tired. It can make us swell up and it can obstruct our body’s functioning.

Some people are more prone to dampness than others. A tendency towards dampness can be aggravated by living in damp conditions or by a sedentary lifestyle. It needs the transformative power of the body’s yang to stop it accumulating. Eating in ways which inhibit our spleen function or which injure the yang will increase our tendency towards dampness.

Dampness may also be caused by pathogens lodged in the body which have not been properly expelled or by the use of suppressant drugs.

Dampness is divided into three kinds:

1)Dampness: this describes a generalized condition of dampness associated with weakness of the spleen. It may manifest in such ways as tiredness/ache in the limbs, digestive weakness or muzzy head. How it manifests depends on our individual constituion.

All dampness is treated by strengthening the spleen and may also need tonification of the kidney, the lung, and the yang. Dampness is often the result of overeating or overnutrition. It may also result from jamming the digestive system with poorly combined foods. All the advice on supporting the spleen (Qi toning) is important in avoiding the overaccumulation of dampness.

Avoid too much raw, cold, sweet or rich foods and the over consumption of fluid.

Dairy products (sheep and goat products are less dampening), pork and rich meats, roasted peanuts, concentrated juices (esp. orange and tomato), whead, bread, yeast, beer, bananas, sugar and sweeteners, saturated fats

Foods that resolve dampness:
Aduki bean, alfalfa, anchovy, barley, buckwheat tea, celery, corn, daikon, garlic, green tea, horseradish, jasmine tea, job’s tears, kidney bean, lemon, mackerel, marjoram, mushroom (button), mustard leaf, onion, parsley, pumpkin, radish, rye, scallion, turnip ,white fungus


This describes a condition of edema where dampness is ratained as water. This may be specific or general in location. It causes us to swell, to become waterlogged.

Aduki bean, alfalfa, anchovy, barley, black soybean, broad bean, celery, clam, fenugreek, grape, job’s tears, kelp, lettuce, mackerel, sardine, seaweed.


This describes a more ssticky manifestation of dampness. It often lodges in particular organs and combines easily with heat or cold. Phlegm, or mucus, congeals and obstructs our functioning

Foods which resolve phlegm:
Almond, apple peel, clam, daikon, garlic, grapefruit, lemon peel, licorice, marjoram, mushroom (button), mustard leaf, mustard seed, olive onion, orange peel, pear, black/white pepper, peppermint, persimmon, plantain, radish, seaweed, shiitake mushroom, shrimp, tangerine peel, tea, thyme, walnut, watercress.