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  • Writer's picturePhilip Niño Tan-Gatue

Chinese Dietary Therapy: Foods for Tonsillitis

Acute Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is a condition where a bacterial infection has caused not only the usual symptoms of sore throat, but the swelling and reddening of the tonsils in the back of the throat.  Western medicine would usually treat with antibiotics, and repetitive attacks especially in children often result in surgical removal.  This is known as a tonsillectomy.

Chinese Medicine Principles

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this condition would fall under exterior syndrome, specifically Wind-Heat entering the Lungs.  If left unchecked, the Wind-Heat could enter further into the interior and cause worse symptoms like high fever and difficulty breathing.  In western medicine terms, the patient’s tonsillitis and bronchitis could devolve into pneumonia.

Hence there are two aspects to food.  What to avoid and what to take.

What to avoid:

In general, one must avoid foods that promote Wind such as poultry.  Hot foods like beef and lamb, spices and fried foods must also be avoided.

What to take:

One should take foods that are cool in nature.  The flavors must be mildly pungent to expel pathogens but not strong enough to create heat.  Sweet foods may also be used to moisten dry throats.

Fruits that may be taken include mullberries and watermelons.  Pears are also useful for their moistening functions.

Mulberry fruit by satit_srihin /

Mulberry fruit by satit_srihin /

Recommended vegetables include dandelion, mung beans, radish and tomatoes.

Green Mung Beans.  by thanunkorn /

Green Mung Beans. by thanunkorn /

Recommended beverages include Green Tea.  Grains include wheat and spices include peppermint, which is pungent but cool.


Kastner, Jeorg.  Chinese Nutrition Therapy, 2nd ed.  Georg Theime Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany. 2009

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