5 Flavors for Healing with Food, Herbs & Spices

"Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food." Hippocrates

Everyone struggles with their relationship with food.

Choosing what to eat can be challenging, frustrating, and overwhelming. 

Once you begin to show signs of discomfort like constipation, hot flashes, fatigue, food allergies, or food sensitivities, your relationship with food becomes even more confusing, challenging, and disheartening.

To follow a highly restricted or fad night is not the answer.

The answer is to use food to accommodate your body’s needs, wants, and desires. 

Watch the video below to learn the basics of food therapy and to start eating with purpose:


How we relate to food can be confusing frustrating and extremely stressful at times. We have information about food and healthy eating coming at us from all different directions whether it be television marketing friends families books other media or medical professionals. It’s very difficult to make sound decisions based on what is best for our needs wants and goals from all the information that’s coming to us.

My name is Malerie I’m a physician of Classical Chinese Medicine and in this video i want to introduce you to the five flavors for healing and health and wellness. These five flavors can be found in food as well as in herbs and spices. Once you get to know these five flavors really well you’re going to be able to use them to make really good decisions about the foods that you need to be eating and consuming to help yourself to achieve the goals that you want.

I have used food herbs and spices exclusively to heal arthritis rashes brain fog fatigue and even back pain.

Okay let’s start at the beginning. I’m going to take you through the basics of the five flavors. These five flavors contain characteristics that have an effect physiologically on the body so when we want to therapeutically help the body or achieve something like a bowel movement we can use these five flavors to do that. Before we really jump into the bulk of this material if you like this video please give me a thumbs up down below subscribe comment and if you want to interact with me on a daily basis follow me on instagram. Everything is linked below.

So these five flavors that I’m going to be talking about are sweet salty spicy otherwise known as pungent bitter and sour. I also have links to blog posts that I wrote down below where you can learn more about the specifics of each flavor so i’m not going to go into that too much today but within those blog posts you’re going to find signs and symptoms that are relative to each flavor and why you would want to be consuming that flavor to help with those particular signs and symptoms. Those blog posts are extremely helpful so make sure that you check those out.

As I mentioned these five flavors contain characteristics that therapeutically affect the body when we look at these five flavors in two ways yin and yang. Yin is going to be nighttime it’s going to be cooling it’s going to be soothing and it’s non-activity and yang is going to be activity movement sunshine daylight and simply being awake. So what we find is the flavors that are more young are going to be the sweet flavor and the pungent or the spicy flavor and what that means is that those flavors have an affinity for and are more young so they’re going to affect the upper part of the body. Anytime you take anything internally it’s going to affect your whole system but primarily the sweet and the salty or pungent flavor are going to affect the upper parts of the body. When we look at the yin flavors those are going to be the other three, so you’ll have bitter sour and salty. So those three flavors are going to affect more the yin parts of the body ,which simply put are going to be the lower half of your body so from waist digestive system down. These five flavors then are going to have some sort of effect on the body. So now that we know whether it’s yang or yin that they’re going to affect we can then describe what they’re going to be doing once they’re put into the body. So what that means is that these flavors can either be warming or cooling. They can be moistening or drying. They can astringe or purge like i had mentioned before by inducing a bowel movement. We can use them or they can disperse scatter or they can tonify and strengthen. These five flavors can also clean the body as well as restore the system. Within these five flavors in addition to yang and yin and the characteristics that they’re going to embody.

We also want to think about the organs that are going to be affected by the five flavors. The sweet flavor is going to have an affinity for the spleen and the stomach. The sour flavor is going to have an affinity for the liver and the gallbladder. The salty flavor is going to affect the kidneys and bladder. The pungent flavor is going to affect the lungs and the large intestine and finally the bitter flavor is going to have an affinity for the heart and the small intestine. So what all this information tells us is depending on your signs and symptoms and how they’re showing up in the body is how we’re going to want to use these five flavors to medicinally treat your ailments and what you’re experiencing.

So here’s a couple examples oftentimes i’ll have women coming in for hot flashes and i find out that they are consuming hot spicy foods, they’re eating a lot of red meat and they’re drinking a lot of wine. You’ll see that much of what they’re consuming is hot as well so it would make sense that they are hot they’re consuming hot spicy foods they’re consuming wine which is warm and drying and they’re consuming animal fat which is slow to process and break down and is also very yang in nature so it would make sense that these foods are causing them to be warm. I’m sure that food isn’t the only factor that’s causing them to be warm but just as an example we’re gonna want to look at putting in more cooling foods into their diet and their regimen and removing those hot spicy foods. It’s very similar when someone comes in who is constipated same thing and they may be consuming a lot of foods that are drying. They could be extremely dehydrated and so they need more moisture and they need more astringent to help move and hold the water so that the bowel movements can go down and be released. Another example for you is going to be someone who’s really tired and fatigued lethargic and maybe even depressed we’re going to want to use flavors that are strengthening and tonifying to lift the energy up because as you can imagine someone who is fatigued and tired or even depressed they’re kind of like this they’re very low their head might be down they don’t want to interact their voice may be shallow so we want to lift them up and perk them up and maybe even use some of the spicy flavor as well to disperse any sort of congestion or phlegm that might be preventing them from thinking clearly and feeling more up so we’re going to want to use flavors that can affect the upper parts of the body.

I hope that this makes sense but most importantly i hope that it encourages you to start looking at your food in terms of these five flavors as well as any spices or herbs that you might be taking. I do want to encourage you to check out each five of the posts for each flavor. You’re going to learn so much more within those posts and while you’re there make sure to grab my five principles for health and wellness these are five principles that i rely on every single day and anytime i stray from these five principles i always know to just come back to them because they’re going to be my launching pad for taking me where i want to go thank you so much for being here like subscribe and i will catch you in the next one you.

Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.