Medicine and Food

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Medicine and Food have been entwined for centuries. The entries on diet, digestion, four humours, galen, hinduism and food, sardi/garmi, yin-yang are evidence. hippocrates’ charge, ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’, has ever been the standby of traditional healers, and the persistence of humoral theories has been remarkable even in an increasingly allopathic West. Other medical schema still influence the culinary cultures of Latin America, China, India, and the Middle East. Their hangover, even when their curative force is spent, is seen in traditional food pairings—or their opposite, such as the Bulgarian refusal to serve fish with yoghurt.