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Turkey, Chocolate & Wine: the medicinal properties of holiday foods according to TCM

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA, which notes the beginning of the long holiday season.

While we often advocate moderation, mindful and clean eating, we also believe enjoyment and pleasure to be essential to life and wellbeing.

Obviously, this article is not an encouragement to binge!

But let's look at the positive and even medicinal properties of the delicious foods of this season. Be merry !


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) turkey meat is used therapeutically to treat

  • high cholesterol

  • numbness in limbs

  • tingling in hands/feet

Turkey strengthens our Blood and goes to the Spleen.

The Spleen makes Blood and controls the limbs in Traditional Chinese thought. When the Blood is strong and the Spleen strengthened, numbness and tingling should be cured. Turkey also calms our Qi because it goes to our Heart. Turkey’s lean meat is a good alternative to lower cholesterol.

Triptophans for the nerves

Turkey has a profound calming and grounding quality as it exerts its influence on the Central Nervous System.

Honey glazed cantonese turkey


Wine is mentioned in The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine for the treatment of

  • meridian blockages

  • fainting

  • tinnitus

It harmonizes blood and chi, it is a tonic for Yang and expels cold. It is very warming, and somewhat appropriate to drink during the cold months of Winter.(this is NOT an encouragement to drink)Some Chinese medicinal remedies are more effective if taken along with alcohol instead of water.

Wine increases circulation and opens the vessels to relieve pain. Or at least, a little bit does.

A lot of wine, however adds dampness and heat to the body, and can contribute to a range of problems, including headaches, insomnia, and menstrual irregularities.

Goji berry wine recipe

  • Put 400 g of goji berries in a glass jar and cover with rice wine or red wine.

  • Seal properly and leave for 2 weeks in the dark and cool cabinet, strain and pour into a bottle.

  • Drink a small amount every morning.

This decoction benefits liver and kidneys and helps with eyes problems.

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate was not part of ancient Chinese culture, however, the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can easily explain its impact on the mind and body.

The qualities of chocolate - specifically cacao, like we get in cacao nibs, 100% bars or fine quality chocolate over 70% cacao has the qualities of being bitter, warming and slightly pungent.

  • nourishes the Heart and Shen

  • promotes energy

  • enters the Liver and moves the Blood

  • helps to tonify Kidney Yang - helping with our vital life force energy and fatigue.

Western Medicinal properties: Lowers blood pressure, improves blood flow to the brain and heart, prevents clotting, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, sleep, depression, asthma, weight loss, diabetes, supports skin health.

Healthier Herbal Hot Cocoa

a hot cocoa in a grey blue cup with a bundle of mint in the background


  • 2 Cups Milk or nut milk

  • 3 Ounces Chocolate

  • 2 teaspoons Dried Herb (peppermint, basil, lavender, reishi mushroom...)

Combine dried herbs and milk in a saucepan. Gently warm the milk until it begins to steam. Remove from heat and cover. Steep in the milk for 10 minutes.

Strain and add the chopped chocolate, stir until it melts.

Voilà !

If you over indulge, read this !

Happy Holidays !


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