Food therapy is the practice of healing using natural foods instead of medications.

Food therapy is a modality of traditional Chinese medicine, also known as Chinese Nutrition therapy. It is particularly popular among Cantonese people who enjoy slow-cooked soups. One of the most commonly known is a rice soup that goes by many names including congii and jook.

Some common food therapy items and recipes:

Bird nest: oral secretion of swifts, collected from the binding material of their nests.

  • Alleged effects: promote beautiful skin for women; "strengthen the spleen and open up the stomach" (meaning improve appetite.)
  • vegetables and fruits are believed to nullify the effect of bird nest if taken within the same day.
  • The dried material is soaked in water to rehydrate.
  • The soaked bird nest is cleaned by hand to remove other nest building debris such as grass and feathers.
  • The cleaned and crumbled bird nest is double steamed with rock sugar as a dessert or with a small amount of pork as a soup.

Korean or Chinese ginseng: root of a plant that has the Yang properties.
  • Alleged effects: promote circulation, increase blood supply, revitalize and aid recovery from weakness after illness.
  • The ginseng root is double steamed with chicken meat as a soup. (See samgyetang.)

American ginseng: root of a plant similar to Korean ginseng, but it has the Yin properties.
  • Alleged effects: cleansing of excessive Yang in the body.
  • The ginseng is sliced, a few slices are soaked in hot water to make a tea.
  • Most American ginseng is produced in Wisconsin, USA.

A Cantonese cough remedy: Dried duck gizzards, watercress, apricot kernels:
  • Alleged effects: relieve both Yin (resulted from cold) or Yang (resulted from dryness) type of coughing.
  • Water cress is for removing excessive yang in the body.
  • The sweet apricot kernels and bitter apricot kernels target the lungs.
  • The dried duck gizzards are used to balance the Yin Yang of the recipe.
  • water cress is available in most supermarkets while the rest of the ingredients can be found in most Chinese herb stores.
  • The ingredients are slow cooked for couple of hours into a soup, a small piece of pork is optional for flavor.
  • Do not use beef or chicken in this recipe because they nullify the effects of the water cress.