Chinese Medicine Winter Advice

Chinese Medicine Winter

In Chinese medicine, winter is considered a season of conservation, introspection, and nourishment. It is associated with the water element and the Kidney organ system, which is believed to govern energy reserves and vitality. To stay healthy and in balance during the winter months, here are some traditional Chinese medicine advice:

  1. Keep Warm: It is essential to protect yourself from the cold during winter (not difficult in Hervey Bay), as exposure to extreme cold can deplete your body’s energy. Wear warm clothing, especially around your lower back and abdomen, where the Kidneys are believed to be located.
  2. Eat Warming Foods: In Chinese medicine, foods are categorized as either warming or cooling. During winter, it is recommended to consume more warming foods, such as soups, stews, root vegetables, ginger, garlic, and warming spices like cinnamon and black pepper. These foods can help promote circulation and keep your body warm.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Despite the colder weather, it’s important to stay hydrated. Drink warm fluids like herbal teas or warm water with lemon to support digestion and circulation.
  4. Rest and Recharge: Winter is a time for rest and rejuvenation. Adequate sleep is crucial for the health of your Kidney system and overall well-being. Try to go to bed earlier and allow yourself sufficient time for rest and recovery.
  5. Gentle Exercise: Engage in gentle exercises that support the Kidney system, such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and yoga. Avoid excessive or intense workouts, as they can deplete your energy during this season of conservation.
  6. Embrace Stillness and Reflection: Winter is a time for introspection and self-awareness. Take some quiet moments each day for meditation or self-reflection to promote mental and emotional well-being.
  7. Boost Immunity: Support your immune system during winter by eating a balanced diet, getting enough vitamin D (from sunlight or supplements), and considering immune-boosting Chinese herbs prescribed by a qualified practitioner.
  8. Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine: Consider consulting with a licensed traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who can assess your individual constitution and offer personalized advice. Acupuncture and herbal medicine may be recommended to address specific health concerns and imbalances.
  9. Protect Your Lungs: In Chinese medicine, the Lung system is closely linked to the immune system. Protect your lungs by avoiding exposure to cold winds and dry environments. Use a humidifier if necessary to maintain proper indoor humidity levels.

Chinese Medicine Winter Recipe

One popular Chinese medicine winter recipe is “Congee” or “Jook.” Congee is a warm and nourishing rice porridge that is easy to digest and can be customized with various ingredients to suit your taste and health needs. It is commonly consumed during the colder months to help strengthen the body and support the digestive system. Here’s a basic recipe for Chinese medicine winter congee:


  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice (you can also use other grains like brown rice or millet)
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth (you can adjust the amount of liquid based on your desired consistency)
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil or olive oil
  • Optional: 1-2 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked and sliced)
  • Optional: 1 small carrot, diced
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped leafy greens (such as spinach or bok choy)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnishes: Sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of soy sauce or tamari


  1. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the sesame oil or olive oil over medium heat. Add the grated ginger and minced garlic and sauté for a minute or until fragrant.
  3. If using dried shiitake mushrooms, add them to the pot along with the diced carrot. Sauté for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the rinsed rice to the pot and stir well to combine with the other ingredients.
  5. Pour in the water or vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the creamier the congee will become.
  6. If using leafy greens, add them to the congee during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  7. Season the congee with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve the congee hot in bowls. Garnish with sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of soy sauce or tamari for added flavor.

Feel free to customize this basic congee recipe with other ingredients such as cooked chicken or turkey, tofu, or different vegetables to suit your preferences and health needs. Congee is a versatile dish that you can adapt to your taste while still benefiting from its nourishing and warming properties in Chinese medicine.

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