Foods for Phlegm Dampness

In Chinese medicine, Phlegm Dampness covers different but overlapping conditions than in western medicine. Chinese Phlegm covers not only mucous buildup, but glandular swellings, stagnant lymphatic conditions and fat. The different types of Phlegm are treated differently, but the following dietary recommendations help all of them.

  • · Dairy is cold and damp. While not universally a problem, modern corn-feeding, pasteurization and homogenization cause it to create Phlegm in many people. Approximately 20% of Caucasians and most Native Americans, Asians and Africans cannot easily digest milk. Studies show that galactose in milk can reduce fertility in women.
  • Unfortunately the various allergy tests have reported 30% false positives and negatives. To test, write down all your conditions- fatigue, digestive problems, gas, reflux, headaches, skin rashes, etc. and rate on a scale of 1-10 and note frequency. Eliminate all forms of dairy- milk, cheese, ice-cream, whey, casein solids for 6 weeks. Relist your symptoms without looking at the first list and rate them, and then compare the lists. (We are biologically programmed not to remember, so it may seem that the sacrifice was for nothing when instead it made a significant difference.)
  • · Orange juice and citrus juices can cause Phlegm, especially in the north.
  • · Avoid fried or fatty foods, fatty meats and cheese.
  • · Excessive carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates can cause Phlegm dampness. Sugar is especially problematical because yeasts and bacteria use it for food and the excess carbs make the immune system less functional in people prone to this condition.
  • · Blueberries, hawthorn berries, goji berries and yellow fruits should be your main fruits, but don’t overdo sweet and often damp fruits.
  • · Raw food tends to be cold and damp. Unless you have a Hot Phlegm condition with cooked down green phlegm, avoid raw salads and uncooked food. Steam or stir fry your veggies instead.
  • · Aromatic carminative spices like cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seed, star anise, cumin, ginger, turmeric, orange peel and (if you have Hot Phlegm) peppermint, all help transform food to energy. Sushi ginger is less heating and can be eaten straight.
  • · Avoid seed oils which are high in Omega 6 fats and which degrade badly when cooked. You need Omega 3 oils, but for cooking look at small amounts of unrefined coconut or red palm fruit oils which don’t oxidize. Olive oil is suitable, but it degrades with heat. Carlson’s lemon flavored fish oils are good on salads.
  • · If your symptoms include bronchitis, pneumonia, or colds, mince a clove of raw garlic, hold it together while coating with honey, place on a spoon, put the spoon in your mouth upside down and swallow, chased by some water.
  • · If you have glandular swellings, are mineral deficient or are dealing with obesity, the seaweeds are good. Try some fresh Japanese seaweed salad, or dried dulse eaten straight. Kombu can be cooked in broth but is not as tasty to eat straight. Hijiki can be reconstituted and cooked for a calcium-rich salad.


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