Ying Yang Xue

"If something is cold, heat it. If something is hot, cool it." –Huangdi Neijing

Archive for the category “Damp heat”

Ducking Damp Heat

SC ended this semester with a bang–a damp heat clearing bang!  In fact, this final meal of the semester was parlayed into a baby shower for a classmate, so the festive air really did the meal justice. SC went all out, preparing duck (a dish she remembered fondly from her recent trip to China), a green salad, a fruit salad, and lima beans. I’m pretty sure I managed to eat about a pound of lima beans–I just couldn’t stop!  Everything was presented beautifully–our spleens assuredly gave this meal an A+ for Aesthetics (not to mention taste).

Pretty sure my body weight is now 13% lima beans.

Pretty sure my body weight is now 13% lima beans.

TCM DOS: Damp Heat


  • Persons with Damp Heat constitutions easily develop skin sores, and if they are young, acne.  Their face is often shiny and oily.  They have a dry mouth and there will be a slightly bitter taste in the mouth.  There is a tendency towards anger and irritability.  Often they feel fatigued and have a lack of energy.  They will be somewhat impatient and anxious.  They like eating oily, sweet and fried foods.  Their stools are usually dry.  There will be scanty urine that is more yellow in color.  If they get sick it is often associated with emotional upset or associated with the food that they have eaten.  Their pulse is slippery and fast and their tongue has a red body and a sticky yellow coat.


  • Majority of foods should be vegetables and foods that remove dampness and heat such as:  Adzuki beans, lima beans, mung beans, black beans, celery, carrots, winter squash, potatoes with skins, asparagus, mushrooms, corn, peas, amaranth, Chinese barley, day lily, bamboo shoots, wax gourd, white gourd, cucumber and duck
  • Lemon (diluted juice), cranberry juice, huckleberries, bananas, Chinese pears and watermelon.
  • Useful herbal teas:  Uvaursi, dandelion leaf, plantain leaf, flax seed, watermelon seed and pipsissewa (pipsissewa is good for chronic bladder infections).


  • Refined sugar and other concentrated sweeteners, meat, greasy, oily foods, too much starch, and overeating.

Damp Heat Draining Green Salad

green salad damp heat

Chopped Celery

5 Day Lily Bulbs chopped

Grated Carrots

Spinach (raw)

2 Radishes sliced

1 Cucumber

½ cup Mushrooms


Handful of Grape Tomatoes

¼ cup Black Sesame Seeds

Toss all ingredients together. Use dressing of choice.

Damp Heat Draining Fruit Salad

Fact*: having fun drains damp faster.  (*this may or may not be true.)

Fact*: having fun drains damp faster. (*this may or may not be true.)

Fresh Pineapple    2 cups

Fresh Honeydew   2 cups

Fresh Cantaloupe   2 cups

Fresh Mandarin Oranges   2 cups

Fresh Pears   2 cups

Mix all fruit together after cubing. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

The teeny tiny forks served with the fruit salad MAY have changed my life.

The teeny tiny forks served with the fruit salad MAY have changed my life.


damp heat peking duck

Beijing’s most famous dish, Peking Duck is traditionally served with Mandarin pancakes, and green onions for brushing on the hoisin sauce. Note: If you don’t live near a cool, windy place another option is to dry the duck in an unheated room with a fan blowing on it.

Prep Time: 10 hours, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 11 hours, 20 minutes


  • One 5 to 6 pound duck
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1 scallion, cut into halves
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • Scallions for garnish


Clean duck. Wipe dry and tie string around neck.
Hang duck in cool, windy place 4 hours.
Fill large wok with water. Bring to boil. Add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil. Pour in dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly.
Place duck in large strainer above larger bowl. Scoop boiling mixture all over duck for about 10 minutes.
Hang duck again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.
Place duck breast side up on a greased rack in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Set a pan filled with 2 inches of water in bottom of oven.
(This is for drippings). Roast 30 minutes.
Turn duck and roast 30 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 10 minutes more.
Use sharp knife to cut off crispy skin. Serve meat and skin immediately on a prewarmed dish.
The duck is eaten hot with hoisin sauce rolled in Mandarin Crepes. Garnish with scallion flowerets.

peking duck scallions damp heat

Delicious Damp Heat Congee

JG rounded out the semester with an absolutely divine damp heat-draining congee.  (A congee is a rice-based porridge, slow-cooked with a lot of water, that is particularly beneficial to the middle jiao–the spleen and stomach.)  When you hear the word congee, you usually think “bland bland bland.”  When you think of foods that typically drain damp, you think “bland bland bland.”   I cannot tell you how much further from “bland” this wonderful congee was!  Slow cooked for 7+ hours, JG added the perfect amount of seasonings without comprising this dish’s ability to clear heat.  I must admit I have several bowls of this…and I stopped only at “several” to uphold my dainty, lady-like reputation (*ahem*).

TCM DOS: Damp heat

Western Correlations: leukorrhea, jaundice, eczema, psoriasis, boils, hepatitis, tenesmus,
dysentery, UTI, conjunctivitis, ear infection with yellow/green discharge, bronchitis/pneumonia
with coughing up yellow phlegm,

TCM s/s: yellow discharge (c/b foul odor) of genitals, ears, eyes, nose; yellow phlegm when
coughing; skin rash that is red & oozy; loose stool with blood, mucus, and/or foul odor; ascites

Tongue: red, thick yellow & greasy coat

Pulse: rapid, slippery

Foods that help: aduki beans, alfalfa, amaranth, basmati rice, celery, Job’s tears, lettuce, mung

bean, pumpkin, turnip

Foods to avoid: alcohol, greasy, fatty, fried, foods; hot, spicy foods/spices (think ginger, onion, garlic, etc); nuts; oats; beef, chicken egg, lamb, pork; dairy; excess sweets; excess raw fruits/vegetables

Helpful cooking methods: If patient has weak digestion make sure to steam, boil, roast vegetables for easy digestion.

Damp Heat-Clearing Congee


• 2 cups rice; basmati not recommended because it doesn’t brake up ( I used Lundberg Wild

• 12 cups vegetable broth

• 6 cups water
~About 1 cup rice to 5-10 cups water/broth. Thicker congee: 1:5 rice:water/broth
Soupy congee: 1:10 rice:water/broth. It’s better to use too much water/broth, then too little.

• 4 bay leaves (for flavor only, not to be eaten)

• Salt to taste

• Cumin 1/4-1/2 tsp

• Garlic powder 1/8-1/4 tsp (caution: just to taste because to warming for damp heat)

4 tops of carrots only (used for medicinal purpose only, not to be eaten)

1 cup fresh diced pumpkin (7oz = 1/2 can canned pumpkin)

1 cup fresh diced sweet potato/yam

1 can (15oz) rinsed aduki beans

1 stalk celery, cut into smiley face


• Place rice, vegetable broth, water, bay leaf, salt, cumin, garlic powder, carrot tops in crock pot and cook on low heat for 7 hours (can cook on higher setting for approximately 5 hours, but “the longer congee cooks, the more powerful it becomes”~ Paul Pitchford)

• Add pumpkin, sweet potato/yam, aduki beans, & celery to congee and cook for an additional 1-2 hours when the congee is thick, rice is fully broken down, and vegetables are tender.

Damp Heat

• Congee itself is good for dampness, heat conditions, & tonifying the spleen

• Pumpkin is cooling and relieves damp conditions

• Sweet potato/yam is cooling and strengthens the spleen

• Aduki beans detoxify the body, remove heat conditions, & are used for damp & watery conditions

• Celery is cooling, dries damp, & used for excess heat conditions

• Carrot tops are good for damp conditions


*Amazing website for congee benefits, preparation, cooking methods, properties of grains, legumes, meats, herbs, vegetables, and fruits that could be used, and it list different recipes for different TCM diagnosis.

Check it out:

The Journal of Chinese Medicine Read Periodicals: Congee – Longevity Food for Life, 2/1/2010

Watermelon to the Rescue

To finish off the semester, RT made us a colorful watermelon salad that combats damp-heat.  We have readers from all over the globe (hello, Albania!);  here in Florida, though, it’s getting hotter and more humid by the day, making this a very timely dish.  I’m a big fan of all the ingredients in this streamlined recipe, so I went back for seconds (and fourths, and sixths…).

TCM DOS: Damp-heat

Signs & symptoms may include: mucous and bloody dysentery or constipation, turbid urine, leucorrhea, red/oozing eczema, poor appetite, heaviness of the body and limbs, lassitude, bloating and/or distention of the abdomen, restlessness, insomnia, bitter taste in mouth, possibly fever, nausea. The pulse will tend to be slippery and rapid; while the tongue body may or may not be red with a sticky, yellow coating.

Western Correlation: dysentery, constipation

Foods that help to treat damp-heat:

Vegetables – are generally considered cool so they clear heat, and they drain phlegm/damp

Examples – alfalfa, asparagus, bamboo shoots, bokchoy, broccoli, all cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, eggplant, lettuce, spinach

Fruits – are generally cool to cold so they clear heat, and dissolve phlegm/damp;  however avoid excess consumption because they may add damp

Examples – apples, bananas, cherries (in mod), lemons, limes, mango, oranges, tangerines, dried papaya, pear, persimmon, watermelon

Grains – generally speaking T SP&ST, remove damp

Examples – millet, rice, buckwheat (used sparingly in heat syndromes), barley, amaranth, Job’s tears, rye, spelt

Misc – kidney beans, mung beans, soy beans, adzuki beans, cardamom, olives

Try to utilize cooking methods that add a minimal amount of heat to your food

Examples – steaming, blanching, boiling, salting

Foods to avoid in cases of damp-heat

Examples – meat (especially red meat), dairy, eggs, alcohol, greasy foods, nuts, anise, sugar, molasses, processed foods

Also avoid cooking methods that increase the dampness or heat of foods

Examples – grilling, baking, frying or roasting, cooking with alcohol


Watermelon with Mint and Lime

Serves 6-8


8-10 C of ripe, seedless watermelon cut into bite-size pieces (roughly one 5-6 lb melon)

Sea salt to taste

¼ C fresh lime juice (roughly 2 limes)

½ C mint chiffonade (fancy term for cut leaves)

½ C crumbled feta (optional – use sparingly if dampness is the predominate pathogen)



After cubing the watermelon mix in the sea salt, lime juice, and mint chiffonade.

Chill until a few minutes before serving.

Sprinkle feta on top.

Serve immediately.

I opted for feta on mine ("What a surprise!" said no one at all.)

Clearing damp heat the delicious way

Typically it’s our diet that gets us into trouble with damp heat in the first place (I’m looking straight at you, pizza & beer!) Luckily, we can fight that condition with our diet as well.  AB made us a delightful millet & adzuki bean salad; these are two powerful and delicious foods that are very adept at clearing damp heat, yet they’re severely underutilized and under-appreciated in the typical western diet.  AB showed us how wonderful they can truly be, though, in this yummy grain and bean salad.

TCM DOS: Damp Heat

A condition of dampness and heat combined with symptoms of thick yellow secretions and phlegm.

General Signs & Symptoms: Epigastric and /or abdominal oppression, lack of appetite, heavy body, thirst with little/no desire to drink, abdominal pain, loose stools with strong odor possibly w/burning anus, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache

Tongue: Red with Yellow sticky coat

Pulse: Slippery, rapid

Points that can help: SP 9 – resolve dampness, SP 6 – tonify SP, UB 20 – SP Shu, LI 11 – clear heat, GB 34 – clear damp-heat, nausea and/or vomiting

Western Correlations: Diarrhea, IBS, pancreatitis, hepatitis, jaundice, UTI, eczema.

Helpful foods to eat:rice, rye, millet, wheat, barley,celery, carrots, spinach, Swiss chard, eggplants, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, asparagus, watercress, arugula, lettuce, radish,daikon radish, alfalfa sprouts, shitake mushrooms, chrysanthemum leaves,bamboo shoots, amaranth leaves, purslane, lemon, cranberries, watermelon, persimmons, mung beans, tofu, tempeh, adzuki beans,kelp, green tea, chrysanthemum tea (unsweetened), peppermint tea, water,small amounts of juices (diluted)

Foods to Avoid:alcohol, greasy or oily foods, all deep fried foods, cheese, sugar, highly processed foods,fatty meats, all dairy, eggs, shrimp, peanuts, chilis, cinnamon, garlic, mustard, coffee, excessive amounts of salt, chocolate, frozen foods like ice cream or smoothies, iced drinks including ice water.

Useful herbal teas:  Green Tea, Uva ursi, dandelion leaf, plantain leaf, flax seed, watermelon seed and pipsissewa (pipsissewa is good for chronic bladder infections).

In general it is best for you to have small and simple meals of cooked foods.  Because there is heat involved with this pattern you can have small amounts of raw foods and your choice of protein should be vegetarian. Meals should be 50% vegetables, 20-30% complex carbohydrates like rice millet or barley, and about 20% protein.

Millet and Adzuki Bean Salad

Serves 4-6

Base Ingredients:

1 cup millet

2 cups filtered water

2 cups cooked adzuki beans, rinsed well (or use organic canned)

1/2 cup onion, minced

1 cup frozen corn


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1/2 tsp ground cumin

zest of 1 lime or lemon


Skip steps 1-4 if using canned beans. Cook millet as directed.  Warm the canned beans with the corn and onion and add to cooked millet before adding dressing.

1.  Cover the Aduki Beans with filtered water in a bowl overnight.  I like to cover the entire bowl with a towel to assure nothing falls in it.

2.  Rinse the Aduki Beans well with water.  (Tip pour this water into our house plants to give them nutrients and to not waste the water.)

3.  Place Aduki Beans in a pot covered with just enough water so that you can boil the beans.  Boil for about ten minutes.  Turn off heat and cover with a lid.  Let this set just as it is (off heat) for about thirty minutes. The steam will fully cook the beans.

4.  Rinse the Aduki Beans again with water.

5.  Finally place all the base ingredients into a rice cooker (or on stovetop) and cook as you normally would a batch of brown rice

6.  Once mixture has finished cooking, pour into a large bowl.

7.  In small bowl, place the dressing ingredients and whisk for a few seconds.

8.  Toss the dressing over the base ingredients and there you have an entire dinner ready!  Enjoy!  ☆☆

** Tips: I used a little less onion and made an extra side of the dressing to serve with the dish the next day.


Nutritional Information: (4 Servings)

304.5 calories, 49.3carbs, 8.1g fat, 801.1mg potassium, 1.6g sugar, 11.8g protein

**Recipe from genkikitty@wordpress.com


Damp heat doesn't stand a chance against festive plates & napkins!

Some beautiful damp-draining green tea to top it off.


Foods to Treat Damp Heat

We finished off the fall semester with an ode to clearing dampheat–something very topical after weeks of Thanksgiving feasts and pre-winter holidays treats.  B.C. took the task to heart, discovering which vegetables were ideal for clearing damp-heat, and then inventing a classic autumnal soup around those ingredients.   He also made some delicious Dandelion Root tea (or as we called it, “Dandeloot Rion tea!”) to give us some additional damp-draining, heat-clearing power!

TCM pattern: Damp-heat

In TCM, dampness is an excess of the water element and heat is an excess of the fire element. Dampness is associated with water retention or swelling and feelings of heaviness or sluggishness. Dampness and heat together are associated with nausea, fever, thirst, dizziness, loose stools and poor appetite, according to AcupunctureToday.com. Illnesses associated with dampness include high cholesterol, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer and fibromyalgia. Damp heat conditions may also include inflammation, high blood sugar, urinary tract infections, weight gain and food allergies. (you can read more from Livestrong.com here)

 Drain the Damp Heat Soup 

Carrots, Asparagus, and Celery have strong effects on the body to drain damp heat.

2 lbs Carrots
1 bunch of Asparagus
I bunch of Celery
2 cups of Almond Milk
1 table spoon of cinnamon
2 table spoons of nutmeg

Boil separately the Asparagus and the Carrots.
Blend Asparagus, Carrots, and Almond milk. Add water for right consistency.
Pour into pot.
Chop celery and add to mixture.
Add nutmeg and cinnamon.
Simmer for 2 hours.

We ate the soup so quickly, there was no time for Glamour Shots! Sorry, B.C.!

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