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Food & Herbs to build energy – tonify qi

Food & Herbs to build energy – tonify qi
You may have heard the term “qi” floating around at an acupuncture session, a yoga class or with some other sort of energy healer.


Qi has been widely translated as energy or vital energy, which is not completely inacurate but not completely accurate either. Qi is an invisible force that generates the body’s function, from movement and digestion, to the blood pumping through your veins. Daily use of your body and your mind uses qi, which can end up being depleting if you do not understand how to properly maintain it.

Tonifying herbs (tonics), strengthen or supplement an area or physiological process of the body that is weak or insufficient.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are three ways that you can help build or tonify qi in your body : food, herbs, and qi gong. Food is one of, if not THE MOST accessible way to nourish your body and consume medicine – if you imagine that each meal, snack and beverage can in fact be medicine. Most food stuff that is considered a qi tonic will be neutral or slightly sweet, which makes it easy to digest and also connects with the specific organs used to maintain proper digestive function. Choosing food based on how you are feeling and what your body needs is a great way to maintain health, tonify qi and feel good.

Some foods that tonify qi:

Chinese yams / sweet potatoes

Honey (local is best)

White (glutinous) rice

Shitake mushrooms

Red and black dates

Some herbs that tonify qi:

Ginseng (ren shen)

Astragalus  (huang qi)

Licorice (gan cao)


sweet potato
shitake mushroom
Chinese Yam

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