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HoloSapiens - the TCM "Food as Medicine" Project




  • stress
  • overwork
  • toxins
  • fear
  • fright 
  • insecurity
  • excessive loss of semen in men
  • bearing more children than their constitution can support in women


In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Kidney is considered the “root organ” that supplies the body with vigor and nourishment.  Just like the growth, development, and life span of a plant depend on the strength and vitality of its roots, in humans the growth, development, and life span depend on the strength and vitality of the “root organ Kidney”. Thus the Kidney in humans contains “the Essence” of life.


Mother And A Child


The Kidney Essence determines the growth, development, maturation, and reproduction and is responsible for the vitality and longevity in every person. There are two types of Essence - prenatal Essence and postnatal Essence. The prenatal Essence is acquired from our parents (some compare it to DNA). The postnatal Essence is gathered during life through the energy of the food and drinks we consume and our overall lifestyle. Both essences compose the state of health and longevity of our life.

Some of the biggest causes for depletion of Kidney Essence is stress, overwork and toxins. As the Essence resides in the Kidney and the emotion that disrupts the Kidney is fear - fear, fright, and insecurity deeply exhaust Kidney Essence. Another cause for Kidney Essence deficiency is excessive loss of semen in men, and in women - bearing more children than their constitution can support. (2)

If you want to learn more about the Kidney and its functions from the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine you can read the material "The Kidney in Traditional Chinese Medicine" in the Physiology chapter.




  • poor physical and mental growth
  • slow development
  • incomplete maturation
  • weak sexual activity
  • impotence
  • poor bone development
  • late fontanel closure in children
  • softening of the bones and knees in adults
  • back pain
  • loose teeth
  • mental dullness and retardation in children
  • poor memory in adults
  • hair loss
  • premature graying of the hair


As the Kidney Essence determines the growth, development, maturation and reproduction in people a deficient Kidney Essence will manifest in poor physical and mental growth, slow development, incomplete maturation, weak sexual activity, and impotence.

The Kidney Essence generates bone marrow thus a deficient Kidney Essence will fail to nourish the bones, which will cause poor bone development and late closure of the fontanel in children, as well as softening of the bones and knees in adults. Back soreness will be also present. In Traditional Chinese Medicine teeth are viewed as “bone extensions” therefore there loose teeth may also become a symptom (1)

Marrow fills the brain. Deficient Kidney Essence may therefore be responsible for mental dullness and retardation in children and poor memory in adults.

As the Kidney opens in the ears Kidney Essence deficiency may cause hear loss and/or ringing in the ears.

The Kidney manifest in the hair thus poor Kidney Essence will cause hair loss and premature graying of the hair.




Young Woman


As mentioned above Kidney Essence consists of prenatal essence, acquired from our parents, and postnatal essence, acquired from the food we eat and our overall lifestyle. Thus it is important to understand that even if our parents’ essence might be poor and deficient we still have the chance to magnify our postnatal essence with the food we eat, the lifestyle we have and the choices we make, and greatly enhance the quality of our life. 


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Food Therapy


Food therapy is the most economical and non-toxic biochemical approach to health and disease. Food is something we continuously use to sustain our lives. Learning what foods are healing (and what disruptive) for each condition has the potential to convert every meal into a form of therapy.   


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(1) Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Nanjing: Harcourt Publishers Limited

(2)Pitchford, Paul (2002). Healing with Whole Foods. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books


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