Foods to help with qi and blood stagnation

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Foods to help with qi and blood stagnation

What is qi and blood stagnation
Qi and blood stagnation can occur anywhere in the body. We are going to concentrate on the liver because that is the most common organ affected. The liver is very sensitive to emotions. Even mild arguments can upset it. Over time all the the everyday upsets and stresses build up and become deep rooted within the body. The liver becomes less able to cope and bounce back. It becomes “stagnated”. The qi of the liver becomes blocked and stops moving. We begin to see signs and symptoms such as feeling of congestion and swelling in chest, bloating, gas, irritability, depression, mood swings with sudden outbursts of feeling, impaired appetite, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful periods, nausea, retching, stomach aches and diarrhea. If liver qi remains stagnant for a long time it can develop into blood stagnation. This generally means that any pain felt with the qi stagnation becomes more intense and sharper. A good example is a woman who develops period pain over time after extended periods of stress and worry.

How can we use food to alleviate this
Our food can contribute to stagnation within the body. It is a good idea to avoid eating large meals few and far between. To use an analogy, look at the kitchen sink. Look at happens when we use full pressure from the tap. The drain can’t drain properly and the sink begins to fill. If we lessen the pressure the water drains from the sink and no backing up occurs.

When you eat, make sure you chew well before you swallow. Again, consider your kitchen sink. Consider what happens to the drain pipes when we try and shove food and vegetable leftovers down it without first using the insinkerator.

Now combine the two. If you continue to shove food wastes down the sink, and turning the tap on full blast on and off, before long you will need a plumber. Same can easily be said about the way we put food in our bodies.

There is also an emotional component to eating. Try never to become frustrated with your food, or eat whilst upset. It is better to slip up once in a while when watching what you are eating than to become cross and frustrated because you can not. Do not try and overhaul your diet in one go. Take small steps. Let your diet evolve.

Help remove stagnation by light and relaxing exercise such as a leisurely stroll.
Lock yourself away from the world occasionally and spend some quality “me” time.

Rule of thumb about your food
Avoid cold raw foods that freeze and constrict circulation. Have main meals earlier in the day. Concentrate on light and mildly spicy foods. stir fry, poaching, steaming. Slow cooking for more energy such as soups and stews. Eat at regular times. High vegetable, low carbohydrate, low meat content in diet. No processed, junk or adulterated food; unnecessary drugs or intoxicants. Avoid eating when upset or under pressure. Avoid skipping meals or eating on the run. Try not to over eat. No excessive drinking whilst eating.

Beneficial foods:
turmeric, shallot, leek, chives, garlic, ginger, taro, eggplant, basil, cayenne, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, white pepper, aduki beans, chestnut, crab, small quantities rice or grape wine (red is best), spices, onions, garlic, mustard greens, watercress, turmeric, basil, mint, peppermint, horseradish, pepper, cardamon, cumin, fennel, dill, ginger, one coffee a day. In small amounts: citrus, vinegar, pickles, sour cherry, plums. Other: plenty of fresh vegetables, some fruits; sprouted grains, asparagus, taro, cabbage, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, beetroot, jerusalem artichoke, sourdough rye bread, extra virgin olive oil, molasses, small amounts of high quality meat protein and fish.

Foods for building energy so the blood stagnation doesn’t occur again:
light grains, especially white rice and rice porridge, oats, roasted barley, sweet rice, spelt, pumpkin, sweet potato, celeriac, squash, carrot, corn, parsnip, chick peas, black beans, kumera, yams, peas, walnuts, stewed fruit, chicken, beef, lamb, liver, kidney, mackerel, tuna, anchovy. Small amounts of: molasses, dates, rice syrup, barley malt, palm sugar.

Not so beneficial foods:
foods in saturated fats and oils ie, cheese, eggs, cream, ice cream, red meats, lard, shortening, margarine, nuts, pizza, hot chips. Hot chillies and pepper, spirits. Ice cream, beer, salads and raw vegetable juices, white wine. Preservatives, colourings, pharmaceuticals (as appropriate).
(energy and blood moving inhibitors) salads, raw fruits (whole and juiced, especially citrus), wheat, sprouts and cereal grasses, raw vegetables, tomato, spinach, swiss chard, tofu, millet, seaweeds, salt, too many sweet foods and concentrated sweeteners, brown rice, antibiotics, vitamin C (over 1-2 grams p/d), beer. Ice cream, dairy foods (except a little butter and yoghurt), sugar, chocolate, nuts and seeds (except walnuts) and nut butters.




  1. Pat 18 July, 2014 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Every article I read online gives food and herb recs for blood stais that include warming foods and spices and herbs that are heating. What about treating blood satsis when severe heat is already present, but not the root cause? ANy pungent herb or pungent warm food will aggravate the fire.

    • Kura 30 September, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      I completely agree. Good point risen. You would generally cut the heat first whenever true or false heat is present, otherwise you run the risk of aggravating the condition. These articles that you are reading online, including mine are very general articles. People are often more complicated than that, and that is why one would see a practitioner to gain a clearer insight on what and what not to do, or in this case eat.

  2. […] If you are interested in further reading about food, then feel free to read my post all about foods to help with stress. […]

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