JULY 2007
Updated June 2011


Foods and Spices Known to Cause Dampness:

Milk products (except yogurt), sugar and sweets, white wheat flour, refined starch and highly processed starch products, excess raw fruits (sugar) and vegetables (mold from the soil), excess mushrooms and fungi, any of the pepper family vegetables, icy and cold beverages (which immobilize immune cells on the walls of digestive track), an excess of fermented foods, yeast containing foods and an excess of vinegar.

Foods and Spices Known to Cause Damp-Heat:

Drinking alcohol in any of it's many forms; fatty, greasy and deep fried foods of any kind.

Foods and Spices Known to Relieve Damp & Damp-Heat:

Eat more spices that contain yeast/fungus-inhibiting properties such as garlic, onion, cinnamon, ginger, scallion, basil, rosemary, dill, oregano, sage, parsley, cardamom, nutmeg, fennel, anise, clove, coriander, leek, chives and other Dampness relieving foods like Job's Tears (yi yi ren), Euryale (Fox nut) seed (qian shi), Aduki beans (chi xiao dou), Ginkgo nut (bai guo), rye, celery, lettuce, alfalfa, turnips, raw honey and corn.

Tumeric is a spice that is very anti-inflammatory, anti-dampness and is known to suppress the growth of new blood vessels necessary for the rapid growth of cancerous cells. Tumeric by itself is not very well absorbed by the small intestine mucosa. However, if you mix tumeric with black pepper, the absorption increases by 2000 times better! Combine tumeric powder with equal amounts of fresly ground black pepper in olive oil and add to a stir-fry.


  1. Basic Congee
    • Method One (per person): 2 cups of grain to10 cups of water. Bring very slowly to the boil in a large saucepan and barely simmer for at least one and a half hours. The heat must be extremely low and the congee should be stirred regularly to keep it from sticking to the bottom and burning. Take a cup of the plain congee and put into a shallow saucepan with twice its volume of stock (i.e. chicken or vegetable) with your herbs of choice. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer very gently for about half an hour, stirring frequently, until it looks like very soft porridge.
    • Method Two (per person): 1 cup of grain to 4 - 8 cups of water (depending upon how thick the porridge is desired) and your herbs of choice. Place and stir all the ingredients in a slow cooker as the last thing at night before retiring. In the morning, the breakfast meal will be ready to eat. Choice of Grain: The basic grain utilized is usually rice. This should be long grain (not basmati) and can be either white or whole grain, depending on the strength of the person's digestion, with white rice being easier to assimilate. Barley and Buckwheat also makes an excellent porridge, and can be mixed with rice 1-3 or 1-2. Oats have the action of producing fluids and moistening, and so is generally too damp forming. Oats do however decrease serum cholesterol. Use oats after control of dampness.
    • Method Three (per person): One part Euryale seed to 4 parts Job's Tears as 2 cups with 12 cups of water in a pressure cooker is also an excellent choice. Cook for 20 minutes. A mixture of rice and aduki beans makes a good meal, cook the aduki beans after soaking overnight for 15 minutes before adding the rice. Cook for 40 minutes together or so on the stovetop or for 20 minutes together in a pressure cooker. Everyone's stove and wants vary so the exact times will need to be determined individually using the above guidelines.
    • Method Four (per person): An equal ratio of yi yi ren (Job's Tears) and shan yao (Chinese yam), cup or so per day with 4 cups of water as a congee.
  2. Yam and Tangerine Peel Porridge - Use Chinese yam (Dioscorea, shan yao) 30 grams, mature Tangerine Peel (chen pi) 6 grams with 1-2 cups of rice. Make into a Congee. All citrus peels have drying (breaking up phlegm) and qi promoting properties due to their content of terpene oils. If you use fresh peel, be sure to scrub with soap first before peeling in order to remove any pesticides.


Many of the foods that one finds in the typical grocery store have been manufactured such that they are inimical to your health, one estimate being at least 85%. Any food that causes any kind of adverse affect on the Spleen system (in TCM) will eventually result in Dampness in the organs and meridians, depending upon the particular genetic constitution of the patient.

One may find the result of decades of dampness in the body by searching the skin and finding the following lesions: white or dark colored patchy and rough raised splotches around the eyes due to cholesterol deposits, skin tags due to toxic damp-heat in the skin and seborrheic keratoses due to chronic damp-heat in the skin.

The author has found that the daily drinking of a decoction (tea) made from dried flowers (seed pods) of the Red Sorrel (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum flower) is very effective in drying up these type of lesions. One must make the tea very concentrated for it to be effective. Results may not become visible for as long as a year and longer due to the number of years the condition has been building. If the tea is too weak, there is no affect. If the tea is too strong it will cause constipation. Each person will need to determine the effective dose for themselves.

Studies have shown that drinking hibiscus tea can effectively lower high blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol levels in many individuals! Read an article about it in the February 1, 2009 issue of Internal Medicine News. Hibiscus and hibiscus mint tea are caffeine free. Hibiscus tea is also rich in Vitamin C; has a unique, delicious taste; has a smooth, pleasant fragrance; has a distinctive, vibrant, natural color (fushia to purple); is great served hot or cold; has long been known to act as a natural body refrigerant.


The most pervasive thing about the foods that are a direct cause of producing Dampness in a person's body is the ready availability of them in the Supermarket. Cooking and eating healthy foods is a challenge these days since the food industry wants you to think that their products taste good even if they are not actually good for you. It all boils down to money. Lazy people eat damp producing foods because they taste good and are quick to prepare (if they need any preparation) and someone in some goverment agency has not banned it.

The following should assist you in preparing meals according to the needs of your body!

YIN FOODS: Almonds, Apples, Asparagus, Bamboo, Bananas, Barley, Bean Curd, Bean Sprouts, Beer, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Clams, Crab, Corn, Corn Flour, Crab, Cucumber, Duck, Eels, Fig, Fish, Grapes, Grapefruit, Honey, Ice creams, Kelp, Lemons, Longan, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mango, Mussels, Melons, Oranges, Oysters, Pear, Persimmons, Peppermint Tea, Pineapples, Salt, Shrimps, Spinach, Strawberries, Soya Beans, Tomatoes, White Sugar, Water.

YANG FOODS: Beef, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cheese, Chicken Liver and Fat, Chillies, Chocolate, Coffee, Eggs, Lychee, Garlic, Ginger, Green Peppers, Goose, Ham, Kidney Beans, Lamb, Leeks, Onions, Peanut Butter, Roasted Peanuts, Potatoes, Rabbit, Smoked Fish, Snake, Turkey, Walnuts, Whisky, Wine.

NEUTRAL FOODS: Apricots, Beets, Bread, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cherries, Cinnamon, Dates, Fennel, Guava, Kumquats, Lean Chicken Meat, Milk, Nutmeg, Peaches, Peas, Pigeon, Plums, Raisins, Brown Rice, Squash, Steamed White Rice.

Oriental Medicine Section