In ancient China, foods were chosen and prepared for the healing qualities they would impart. Many herbs are classified as "food-grade herbs" because they can be used in daily cooking to improve vigor, enhance longevity, support digestion and be used to help heal specific ailments.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) foods can be classified in the same way as herbs and used for medicinal purposes – Chinese diet therapy is therefore a very large part of TCM and one of its main therapeutic 'tools'.

Our daily food forms the foundation of our nutritional, biochemical and energetic health. The food we eat daily determines how much energy we have (food as fuel) throughout the day. The foods we choose also influence our moods.

Many cooking ingredients, such as honey, are also considered as herbs. Thus diet therapy is considered gentler and harmless.