Coffee, Alcohol and Smoking according to TCM

Who would not like a cup of morning coffee or a glass of good wine? In ancient China, these non-standard beverages belonged to delicacies that are not a matter of everyday life, but the beverages indulged in during festive and social occasions. Otherwise, they become a regular part of the day. They are, in a sense, true delicacies, something that we call “ the icing on the cake”, and as such, they should always be rare, otherwise they lose their charm and distinction. Besides, the greatest delight is always the idea and the enjoyment of something exclusive, because as soon as we have eaten or drunk it … the spell fades away. In this case, the Czech saying is correct: Everything in moderation and good things come in small packages!


In our country, roasted grain coffee is usually a daily stimulating drink. Only a few people do not have this habit. Black coffee is most popular in the Nordic countries, Norway, Finland and Sweden, because, according to Chinese medicine, black coffee “warms the body up” for a short period of time. Its consumption in these countries is about 12 kg per person per year. On the contrary, surprisingly, the smallest amount of coffee is consumed in southern states, for example, in Turkey, at the place of origin of black coffee, only about 0.5 kg per person per year is consumed. In China, green tea is most prevalent and only a small amount of black coffee, about 0.03 kg per person per year, is consumed. Like everything, it has its advantages and disadvantages, and it is good to know about all of its effects before we become its notorious consumer. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it has the following both positive and negative characteristics:

    1. It strengthens (for a short period of time) the heart qi energy XIN QI– it is a stimulant, but a short-time one, which, as they say, easy comes and easy goes, and, worst of all – takes energy away… It can be compared to gasoline that is splashed onto the dying fire instead of stoking dry wood. Therefore, students preparing for a test or intellectually working people often drink coffee every 2-3 hours under pressure. This is always at the expense of their kidney essence SHEN JING, that means at the expense of their root of life. In the heart XIN there is the so-called imperial fire, and in the kidneys SHEN there is the so-called ministerial fire. Both fires interact and complement each other and, in the case of a powerful burning fire in the heart XIN HUO, the fire is fired up in the kidneys SHEN XIN and vice versa. Therefore, it always depends on how strong the root of life in the kidneys the person has and how long they will endure all these „attacks“, because such a repeated pouring of gasoline on the weak fire can cause (literally) a known and frequent burnout… These people, rather than being full of energy for a long time after having a cup of coffee, that energizes them for a while, have withdrawal symptoms such as inability to concentrate and think, irritability, insomnia, restlessness, forgetfulness, anxiety, heartbeat etc., like with any other drug. However, this is already some kind of dependence (to the aroma or taste) and also a kind of weakness (weakening of the SHEN JING kidney essence). It is possible to resist such an addiction (as in the case of those unrequited-in-love), and in both cases herbal tablets Elixir of heavenly emperor – code 121 can be used to help.
    2. Increases heat in the stomach WEI RE– because coffee is warm and dry in nature, and roasted in addition, it brings the so-called heat and dryness to the stomach WEI RE/ZAO. Stomach WEI needs enough YIN fluids for its successful function, which, like engine oil, help to digest properly. If they dry out, and in case of heat in the stomach WEI RE, illnesses may occur, such as ulcerative disease, chronic inflammation of the stomach and intestines, constipation, etc.
    3. It supports stagnation of liver qi energy GAN QI ZHI– precisely because of the aforementioned heat RE, which dries and gradually slows the flow of qi energy, which leads to the subsequent stagnation qi energy QI ZHI. This is manifested by, for example, heart diseases (hypertension, heart attack, angina pectoris), headaches, thyroid diseases, psychosomatic diseases, etc.
    4. In women, it damages the conception pathways CHONG MAI – through a mechanism similar to previous qi energy stagnation QI ZHI, this is particularly evident in women’s imbalances and stagnation in the conceptual pathways CHONG MAI. Today, these problems appear in practice very often and manifest themselves at the level of the uterus and the ovaries as, for example, myomas, polyps, cysts, endometriosis, functional sterility, gynaecological effusions and inflammations and any menstrual problems (spotting, painful or irregular menses, etc.). Or they often manifest themselves in the breasts in the form of different cysts, fibromas, mastopathies, tumours (malignant and non-malignant), breast pain and premenstrual syndrome.
    5. It weakens (in the long term) the kidney Yang SHEN YANG – in case of long-term consuming, the undesired burnout described in point 1 will occur. Just the overheated engine that we constantly „revved up“ without adding oil to it and adjusting nozzles burned out the last oil residue and our engine got stuck … This condition is manifested by, for example, psychological problems (depression, neurosis, insomnia, etc.).
    6. It strengthens the lung water FEI SHUI and supports digestion– by draining water from the FEI SHUI lung tract, supporting urination and thus is very diuretic, which in some cases can be beneficial (for example, in case of swelling in the upper burner or stagnant water in the lungs, etc.). It also brings heat RE to the stomach, where it can again positively accelerate digestion of food in the case of the so-called cold and moisture in the stomach WEI HAN/SHI. However, in obese patients, it is not a burner of fat caused by moisture and heat SHI/RE!


Black coffee should be an occasional delicacy that healthy people can have 1 cup a day, and sick people even in smaller amounts, depending on the nature of the disease, or even exclude it (see above)! It can be successfully (and especially safely) replaced, for example, by the Beverage of five stars – code 850. This drink is made of Gynostemma pentaphyllum, which is a herb ranging between stimulants and adaptogens – it harmonizes the organism without over-stimulation or exhaustion, for example, it increases low pressure and, vice versa, reduces high pressure. It is suitable for daily detoxification because it purifies the tubes, harmonizes digestion and stimulates the brain.



Under this concept, there are a number of so-called white coffees such as spelt coffee, rye coffee, chicory coffee (carro, cikorka), Ayurvedic coffee, etc. These cereal coffees generally heat the middle fireplace ZHONG JIAO (the spleen PI and the stomach WEI path), remove harmful moisture SHI (dry up), heat the heart XIN and spleen PI, but never excessively (unlike black coffee!) because they are not stimulants. It is recommended to consume in the decrease of spleen PI qi energy QI XU XIAN, deficiency of the heart qi energy XIN QI XU, insufficient kidneys yang SHEN YANG XU, excessive moisture SHI in the organism – in this case without milk and sugar. It can be consumed with cinnamon or cardamom. Cereal coffees in general should not be used in the yin deficiency YIN XU, rising kidney heat GAN RE/GAN YANG SHI and stagnant liver qi GAN QI ZHI.

As the most ideal breakfast, however, it appears to be the Beverage of Chinese savages (code 900), which is made of the Job’s tears forage (not cereal!) and has the exceptional property and advantage of enhancing both kidney energy SHEN QI and spleen energy PI QI and at one blow simultaneously eliminates harmful moisture SHI from the body. This is the optimal drink for breakfast for most of our population.


Alcohol is similar to black coffee, their effects are not very different from each other, perhaps alcohol is a step forward in the speed of “effecting”, because this speed is directly proportional to the alcohol content in the beverage. Generally, any alcohol brings heat RE and moisture SHI into the body. It depends on the physical constitution of each person whether it is more heat RE or moisture SHI. In humans with the so-called yang constitution (thin, dry and hot-blooded types), the heat RE will predominate over the moisture SHI, in the case of people with the yin constitution (thick, moist and cold-blooded types), the opposite will prevail – the moisture SHI will prevail over the heat RE. In balanced YIN/YANG individuals then alcohol causes a steady increase in both moisture SHI and heat RE. It always depends on the kind of alcohol. Also, alcohol should not be drunk at night because by bringing the heat RE to the liver GAN and stomach WEI, it causes permanent heat in these paths – the spirit HUN returns to the liver GAN for the night to calm down and anchor (which is not possible due to active heat RE) and the stomach yin WEI YIN cannot be restored because the heat RE dries it … Now we will introduce them gradually according to the rising alcohol content:


Beer is made of barley malt, and thus strengthens the energy of the spleen PI QI and eliminates moisture, while also cooling the heat RE, thanks to the hops that are bitter. This bitter taste in the first stage cools and calms the liver and gallbladder heat GAN/DAN RE. But if you drink too much beer, the next day, due to the alcohol transformation, it turns into harmful heat RE and harmful moisture SHI in the middle fireplace ZHONG JIA (stomach, spleen), which is the familiar hangover. These consequences may be eliminated by means of, for example, herbal tablets Supporting of central empire (code 079), which can be used even before “action” to alleviate the toxic effects of alcohol.


White wine is cooler and more diuretic than red wine, so it does not heat up so much. However, preservative additives such as sulphur dioxide and various other chemicals used in its cultivation, warm up. Therefore, it is always advisable to choose so-called healthy wines (biodynamic or organic wine – for example

Red wine warms up and in case it is prepared as mulled wine with cloves and cinnamon it even has very hot effects on our body. This effect is successfully used by Chinese medicine in case of attack of external cold in the first stage of cold.


All spirits are very hot and their effect is manifested immediately after drinking – there is an overall increase in heat RE in the body, especially the rise of the liver and heart yang GAN/XIN YANG SHI, as well as the stomach heat WEI RE. Due to this uncontrolled yang, one sometimes literally becomes a simple Simon :-), and the consequences are not late in coming. Needless to say…

Tobacco smoking

According to TCM cigarettes or cigars smoking damages not only the lungs FEI, but also the kidneys SHEN – it dries the essence JING and blood XUE and thus leads to subsequent weakening of the kidney yin SHEN YIN XU.