TCM Food Therapy

Food Therapies for Anxiety and Panic Disorder

Helen H. Hu, L.Ac. OMD

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Anxiety and Panic disorders belong to the same categories as depression, insomnia and heart palpitations.  There are three organ patterns involved.   Depending on which sign and symptoms are predominant clinically.

1) Liver energy stagnation: This pattern exhibits more anxiety and nervousness at night, with a feeling of  fullness in the chest and hypochondriac feelings, difficulty falling  asleep, no appetite, irregular bowel movements and symptoms of mild depression:

Food therapies:

a)  Tangerine peel rice congee

  • Spring rice: 100g
  • Tangerine peel (dried) 5 g (pre soak for 30 min)

Cooking instruction: Boil tangerine peel in water first for 15-20 minutes.

Then only take the herbal juice to cook rice to make rice porridge. Add a little salt and few drops of sesame seed oil before serving.

Intake: Serve 2-3 time per day, consistent for 5 days with or without meal.

b)   Celery and Jujube (Sour) Seed congee

  • Fresh celery: 90g (wash and cut into ½ inch long)
  • Jujube seeds (sour); 8 g

Cooking instruction: Put the two ingredients in water and bring to boil and drink the juice.

Intake: This is considered as one dosage that should be divided in two parts. Take the first part of the dosage after lunch, and take the second part of the dosage before going to sleep at night.

c) CTG Tea

  • Chrysanthemum Flower: 10g
  • Tangerine peel : 10g
  • Gou Teng (Gambir Vine): 10g

Cooking instructions: Put all herbs in a ceramic/glass pot with a little bit of rock sugar, use boiling water to make tea.

Drink as desired.

2.) Kidney and heart disharmony pattern: This pattern, the patient tends to have heart palpitations, easily fearful feelings, insomnia and with more vivid dreams, they are often cloudy minded, easily to forget things, experience soreness and weakens in both knees and lower back. Some might have hot flashes and night sweats.

Food therapies:

a) Bo Zi Ren congee

  • Spring rice: 50-100 g
  • Bo zi ren:( Biota Seed) 10-15 g
  • Honey

Cooking instruction: P ut spring rice and biota seed together in water to make porridge.  Add honey   before serving.

Intake: 1-2 times a day with breakfast or along with another meal.

Best for insomnia, heart palpitations, forget fullness, anxiety and chronic constipation.

b)  Go Ji berry congee

  • Spring rice: 100g
  • Go ji berry 60g
  • Dried lychee fruit: 15g
  • Red Chinese Dates 3pcs

Cooking instructions: Put rice with water in ceramic pot and bring to boil for 20 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients, continue cooking at medium temperature till soup is done.

Intake: once a day, as breakfast or with meal.

c)      Black bean and wheat tea

  • Organic (NGM) Whole wheat: 45g  (NGM: no genetic modified)
  • Black bean (NGM):30g
  • Ye jiao teng (Polygonum Vine): 10g

Cooking instruction: Put all ingredients together with water in ceramic or glass pot, bring to boil,

Then continue cook at medium heat for 30-45 minutes. Extract the juice only.

Intake: Drink it as a tea. This is enough for two dosages.   Divide it into two portions, one portion after lunch, another during the evening.

Best for heart palpitations, anxious and those who suffer from insomnia. (   Kidney and heart disharmony pattern)

3. Heart and Spleen deficiency patterns:

With this pattern there are signs of anxiety, these patients tend to worry a lot, experience mental problems, restlessness with heart palpitations, insomnia, easily to forget things, abdominal bloating, a      pale complexion, fatigue, some women with scanty menstrual cycle.

a)    Ginger Date soup:

  • Red Chinese date; 15 pieces
  • Dried Longan Fruit: 10g
  • Fresh ginger (without peel):  5 slice

Cooking instruction: Put all 3 ingredients together with 32 oz of filtered water to boil till 16 oz are left then extract the tea only.

Intake: This is one dosage of tea for one day divide into two portions, drink it twice a day.

b)   Poor man ginseng chicken

  • One organic female chicken
  • Dang shen (Codonopsis Root); 15 g ( it also call poor man ginseng
  • Dang Gui (Angelica Root): 15g
  • Ginger, green onion, cooking wine and salt

Cooking instruction: Put herbs inside of the chicken stomach, cook in a ceramic pot, with ginger, green onion, cooking wine and salt together with water. Bring to a boil then continue cooking at lower heat till all meat become very tender.

Intake: Drink the soup and eat the chicken. Once a day along with meal

c)   Carrot chicken

  • Chicken meat: 100g cut into small pieces mixed with starch and spices
  • Carrot: 150g; cut into small pieces

Cooking instruction: Using Grape seed oil, stir fry chicken in pan, after the chicken meat is done remove from pan and repeat same step with the carrots.  Then add water to steam carrots until they are soft.  Add the chicken back and add desired spices, few drops of sesame oil and mix well and serve.

Intake: Along with meal

Cooking instruction: Boil both the red date and Longan Fruit together with water at medium heat till soft. Then add ginger juice and honey together and bring it to boil again and lower temperature. As soon as it boils again, it is done.

Seal it in a jar in the refrigerator.

Intake: Take one tea spoon and dissolve in warm water.  Drink as tea, before meal.


Copyright © 2011 by Helen H. Hu  All rights reserved.

[Dr. Helen Hu, originally from Beijing China, has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) since the age of 12. A Cardiologist and practitioner of integrated medicine for nine years before immigrating to the United States, Dr. Hu passed the “U.S. Licensing Medical Exam” (USLME) in 1997 while simultaneously obtaining her Oriental Medical Degree (OMD) in the US.   Dr. Hu currently directs and manages a successful TCM practice in San Diego. She lectures locally on Acupuncture and the benefits of combining Eastern / Western styles of Medicine.  Dr. Hu has been practicing Tai Ji and Qi Gong over 25 years, and she teaches these ancient Chinese arts Saturday mornings on Shelter Island in San Diego as a gift to the community and to help promote well being and longevity. or ]

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