There is a concept of “食补” (shi bu) in China, which means food treatment approach or using food as medicine.
Some of them are really interesting. Like if you hurt your ankle, then you need to have trotter. As the saying goes, what part of animal you have will do well to the same part of your body. Another saying is some food look like our human bodies, and they are good for the part they look like. For example, black soy beans look like kidneys, so they are good for kidneys. Walnuts look like human brain, they are indeed good for human brain.
Many people in China know the saying ” medicine is always 30% poisonous”. It’s an exaggerating way to express that medicine always has potential side effect. So many Chinese people prefer to have natural food and get nutrient substance they need instead of taking medicine when they are not seriously sick. They will certainly seek for doctors’ help when they really need.
Over centuries, Chinese people have got methods of food treatment for many common illness. Each ingredient is considered to have its own property. Mutton belongs to “hot”, that’s why it’s a good choice in autumn and winter. Bitter gourd belongs to “cold”, so when you feel very hot inside your body or have oral ulcer, bitter gourd will be helpful.
Chinese food treatment is kind of like philosophy of yin and yang.