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Chill or heat the body

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Chinese medicine in Japan

Chinese medicine is known as Kanpo in Japan.

It is based on herbal medicine that has a long and traditional history and was brought to Japan from China around the 5th century.

It is often viewed as alternative medicine by most people in modern Japan, but you can also use the national health insurance to receive herbal remedies, so it is officially acknowledged as a viable medicinal practice.

In this blog for Japanese learners, Japanese teacher Megumi Ogura introduces an aspect of the practice that is often discussed in Japanese media.

Read the blog to practice Japanese reading, check out the vocabulary list to learn new words and listen to the video to practice your Japanese listening, especially for the JLPT test.

Which foods chill or heat the body?


By Ogura Megumi








To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.







Which foods chill or heat the body?

Which food do you think cools the body down more, rice or bread? “What? If they are both at room temperature then aren't they the same?” Actually, bread chills the body more than rice.

“Chills” is probably a way of thinking that is unique to China, Japan and East Asia, but the phrase, “Hie Shou” [or “a sensitivity to cold body type”] is a word that is used in everyday life in Japan and also comes up frequently in the media here. If I explain “Hie Shou” briefly, it is the situation in which even if someone is in a warm room, they still have cold hands and feet, and it is thought to be a source of various bad conditions for the body.

I have suffered from “Hie Shou” from long ago, and I wanted to improve this state, so I borrowed a book about healthy diets based on Chinese medicine from the library and read it. And then I found out new ways to view ingredients that I hadn't known until then. And one of these was something called “Go sei”. All food ingredients and drinks are divided into 5 characteristics: Cold, cool, neutral, warm, and hot. So if one eats food which are cold or cool, they take away one's body heat but if you eat food which is warm or hot, this can heat up the body.

Basically if you eat food that is in season, then these will make your body the best temperature to match that season. Certainly, if you eat cucumbers and tomatoes in their natural summer season, they taste refreshing and good, but if you eat them in winter, they tend to cool down the body. We are often told that “It is good eat food that is in season”, but this is not just because they taste fresh and delicious when in season, but they actually help to maintain the functions of your physical condition and nature.

常温(じょうおん)room temperature

冷(ひ)える get cold

冷(ひ)え coldness (feeling of cold)

捉(とら)え方(かた)way of viewing

頻繁(ひんぱん)に frequently


不調(ふちょう)bad condition


前々(まえまえ)から from long time ago

悩(なや)む  suffer

改善(かいぜん)する improve

東洋医学(とうよういがく)Eastern medicine

〜に基(もと)づいた based on

食養生(しょくようじょう)cure by diet


見方(みかた)way of looking








基本的(きほんてき)に basically


〜に適(てき)した best for; suitable for


さっぱりする refreshing

時期(じき)season; time; period


実(じつ)は actually; in reality

整(ととの)える fix; prepare; maintain functions


Konnichiwa, My name is Megumi Ogura. I live in Ehime prefecture. Ehime has a lot of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons and you can eat them all year round. Also, we are surrounded by the Inland Sea so you can catch delicious fish in the nearby sea (I also go fishing once in a while). It is a place that is blessed with nature and a very relaxing spot, so if you ever get a chance, please come to visit.

I love getting to know about different countries, places and cultures. I would like to support you in your Japanese learning but not only that, I would also like to hear about your country and culture.

Please let me know all about them in the classes. Let's enjoy studying Japanese together!

Start 3 Trial FlexLessons for only $9 !

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Guest Tuesday, 26 October 2021