Note – The Blood in Chinese medicine is not the same concept as the blood which flows through the blood vessels, and is differentiated by an initial capital letter. The same convention is used throughout this blog to differentiate any terms where the same word describes an Organ or substance in Chinese medicine which differs from the conventional medical concept.
The functions of the Blood are to nourish and moisten the body, and to anchor the Mind (Shen). When Blood is deficient, some of the following symptoms may arise:
- difficulty falling asleep
- dream disturbed sleep
- easily startled
- postural dizziness (getting light headed or dizzy on standing quickly)
- floaters (little black specs floating across the field of vision)
- amenorrhoea (lack of menstrual periods)
The Blood is primarily generated through the transformation of food, though the process is complicated and various Organs are involved. For this reason, dietary changes can be helpful in addressing Blood deficiency, but without a comprehensive Chinese medical diagnosis and treatment, results may be limited.
It is also important to note that any dietary advice is designed to be incorporated within a balanced diet. Suggesting the inclusion of certain foods does not indicate that those foods should be eaten to the exclusion of all others, simply include more of those foods within a balanced diet.
A diet that nourishes the Blood will be rich in vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and chlorophyll-rich foods. Meat, fish and many beans are strongly Blood-nourishing. On the other hand, a diet that largely consists of fatty, denatured, salted or sweetened foods will weaken the Blood.
Examples of Blood-nourishing foods are:
- Aduki Beans
- Kidney Beans
Leggett, D. (2005) Helping Oursleves: A Guide to Traditional Chinese Food Energetics.