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HoloSapiens - the TCM "Food as Medicine" Project




  • excessive or chronic negative emotions
  • anxiety
  • compulsive manic behavior
  • over- ambitiousness


In traditional Chinese medicine the Small Intestine is the partner organ of the Heart. This peculiar partnership can be clearly grasped when looking at the mental manifestation of these two organs. In traditional Chinese medicine the Heart houses the mind.  It is responsible for virtually all mental activities, including emotions, consciousness, memory, thinking, and sleep.  These mental activities all rely on the ability to make clear judgment - a quality governed by the Small Intestine.

The pattern “heat in Small Intestine” is caused by excessive and chronic emotional disharmony as most negative emotions are "hot" in nature.




The pattern "heat in the Small Intestine" is also seen in compulsive manic behaviour where people driven by great desire are overly ambitious, undertaking several tasks and projects at the same time, and pushing themselves hard in many different ways. (1)

If you want to learn more about the Small Intestine and its functions from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine go to "The Small Intestine in Traditional Chinese Medicine" in the Physiology chapter.




  • restlessness
  • tongue ulcers
  • thirst
  • feeling of heat in the chest area or the lower abdomen
  • dark, scanty, painful urination


As the Heart and the Small Intestine partner each other predominantly on a mental level the major manifestation of “heat in the Small Intestine” is mental restlessness. The Heart opens into the tongue therefore there may be tongue ulcers. With any type of heat there is thirst. Location-wise there may be a sensation of heat in the chest area (where the Heart is) and the lower abdomen area (where the Small Intestine is). As the Small Intestine is responsible for separating the clean from dirty fluids, and heat evaporates fluids, there will be dark, scanty and painful urination, and in some cases blood in the urine.




Foods and herbs, which clear “internal heat”, are "cold foods". 


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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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