How to Nourish and Use Tonics in the Winter

By Candace Liu, LAc, B.Med, MSOM, DAOM

In order to withstand the cold temperatures in winter, the body needs more energy and good nutrition to maintain physiological activities and improve disease resistance.

The best method to maintain health during the winter without adding unnecessary burden to the body is to use correct nourishment. What is correct nourishment? That depends on the individual constitution. This post discusses who should use tonics in the winter and who should avoid tonics in the winter and how to use them appropriately.

Which group of people should use tonics in the winter?

  1. People who have a cold abdomen, special in the Dan Tian area (3 inches below the navel)
  2. People who easily catch the common cold
  3. People with chronic cold hands and feet in the winter season

Who should not use tonics in the winter?

  1. People who currently have symptoms of the common cold, such as fever, sore throat, and yellow phlegm
  2. People who have constipation
  3. People who have canker sores
  4. People who have skin allergies or skin itch
  5. Pregnancy and postpartum
  6. Young children
  7. People with high blood pressure, high blood lipids and high blood sugar (diabetes)
  8. People with gout
  9. Postoperative patients
  10. People who have hot and dry constitutions
  11. People who have gastrointestinal disease, cardiovascular disease or kidney disease
  12. People with autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus

A Method of tonic that is Suitable for the whole family

  1. Go bed early and wake up late: go to bed before 10pm and wake up after sun rise
  2. Eat seasonal and local food
  3. The ratio of vegetables to meat should be 4:1 or 5:1, especially for people who have chronic disease
  4. Exercise during the day light, especially for children and seniors.
  5. 3×30 minutes rule for longevity: 1: walk 30 minutes in the morning, 2: take an afternoon nap for 30 minutes, 3: walk 30 minutes after dinner

How to expel cold in the winter?

  1. Ginger essential oil
    1. Ginger can expel cold and drain damp. Use ginger essential oil to accelerate blood circulation, promote body sweating, relax tight muscles and boost mental state.
    2. Put essential oil in a bath or soak feet for 15-30 minutes until feels body warm.
  2. Tonic Foods:
    • Warm tonic foods:
      • Meat: beef, lamb, dark chicken
      • Vegetables: chestnuts, almonds, pumpkin, sweet rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes3Fruits: peaches, cherries, papayas, longan
      • Spicy: chili, garlic, green onion, cinnamon, leeks and ginger

3. Neutral tonic foods:

  • Meat: chicken, turkey, pork and striped bass
  • Vegetables: corn, sweet potato, spinach, carrot, broccoli, Chinese yam
  • Fruits: apple, strawberry

The constitution of who can use tonics in the winter is very complicated and cannot be easily classified. If you are interested, please come to our clinic for a consult.


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