Walnuts Benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Do you know that walnuts are classified as both a medicine and food in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)? You may have heard of many benefits of walnuts but this post will share its benefits in the TCM perspective and what are some ways you can consume walnuts with other foods. Read on to find out more.

The thermal nature of walnuts is slightly warm. This means people who are heaty (having sore throat) should avoid eating them for the time being.

Walnuts have great benefits for organs like lungs, large intestine and kidneys.

One of the four greatest Chinese physicians, 李时珍 once said that 核桃补肾通脑,有益智慧. It means that walnuts can strengthen the kidneys, and improve brain functions to enhance intelligence.

Walnuts are also known as 益智果 – it means it is a nut that increases one’s intelligence.

In the past, scholars would eat walnuts whenever they were studying for examinations. So this really tells us that walnuts have been used for people who require a lot of brain activities.

There are three main properties of walnuts:

  1. Strengthen the kidneys – Walnuts can help to boost 肾阳 (the yang energy in kidneys), relieve frequent urination, and relieve waist pain (and knee pain due to deficiency in kidney energy, qi).
  2. Stabilize lungs qi – Walnuts can help to relieve coughing due to qi deficiency in the lungs. This is a lesser-known property but it is effective for people who have been coughing for a while (without yellow phlegm).
  3. Improve bowel movement – Walnuts can also help in relieving constipation. In general, most nuts (and seeds) have the property of enhancing bowel movement.

Who Should Avoid Eating Walnuts

People who are yin-deficient should avoid eating walnuts as they will add to the heatyness in the body.

People with loose stools should also avoid eating walnuts as it can worsen the situation.

How To Eat Walnuts

The following are two ways you can eat walnuts with other foods (besides eating walnuts directly as a snack).

1) With Porridge

You can add walnuts to most kinds of porridge if you do not have the habit of eating walnuts directly.

Chinese yam, goji berries, walnut porridgeOne kind of porridge you can prepare is walnut, goji berry, and chinese yam porridge. This porridge has great benefits to the lungs and kidneys (walnuts boost kidney yang energy and goji berries boost kidney yin energy).

Ingredients (1pax):

  • Walnuts (30g)
  • Goji berries (10g)
  • Chinese yam (fresh type, 30 to 50g)
  • Rice (preferably, mixed grains) (half cup)


  1. Soak goji berries for about 5 to 10 minutes to prepare for cooking later.
  2. Wash and rinse mixed grains and add lots of water (enough to cook porridge) and bring it to boil.
  3. Cut walnuts into smaller pieces.
  4. Deskin and cut chinese yam into smaller pieces.
  5. Once the mixed grains/rice start boiling, put walnuts, goji berries and chinese yam into it and boil (small fire) for 5 minutes.
  6. If you are using a thermal pot, remove it from heat and keep it inside the thermal pot for one hour before serving.
  7. If you are using a traditional over-the-fire stove (or electric stove), then let it simmer (smallest fire) for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
  8. Eat the porridge while it is hot/warmer for the best effects.

2) With Soy Milk

Walnuts are also best to be consumed with soy milk. If you make your own soy milk at home, you can try to add smaller pieces of walnuts and sesame powder together with soybeans for a nutritious soy milk drink in the morning.

This soy milk has great benefits on the kidneys as both walnuts and black sesame boost kidney qi. This soy milk can also help in strengthening bones.

If you are eating walnuts directly as snacks, then make sure you keep the daily dosage not more than 15 grams.

I hope you find this post useful!

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