Erection Difficulty Treatment, Foods and Supplements

orange fruit slices on yellow surface

On this page on erection difficulty treatment you get, for each of the syndromes causing erectile dysfunction, (=erection difficulty) information about

  • Good and bad foods
  • How drugs and medicines work and endanger your erections
  • Advice on foods and supplements, ancient and modern
  • More general advice on what to do

Supplements and Foods for Erection Difficulty

Good FOOD, Bad FOOD for Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

To make sense of most of this erectile dysfunction or erection difficulty treatment page you need to know which Chinese medicine syndromes are causing your erectile dysfunction. Click on erectile dysfunction to find out!

Let’s not spend too long on Good Food! You don’t need me to tell you what is good. At least, if you’ve read our page on Erectile Dysfunction you probably already know what you SHOULD be eating.

If not, it’s high time your read our page on Nutrition, for a start!

But just to be clear, many men with erectile dysfunction can transform their sexual prowess and general health (leading to reduced times off sick and feeling tired) by improving their diet. It can be that simple. (Though I admit, cost, ingrained habits and peer pressure can inhibit change.)

The VITAL idea is that a little and often makes all the differene. You’ll read about things to avoid and things to do. For example, it’s what you do regularly, every day, that matters.

Bearing that in mind, before looking at which supplements may help which syndrome, let’s briefly consider the effects of Junk Food!

JUNK FOOD and – Erectile Dysfunction – Erection Difficulty Treatment

junk food is a bad form of erectile dysfunction treatment

No, not just fat, salt and sugar! Of course, too much of these is not good, everyone agrees.

The June 12th 2021 edition of New Scientist carried an article on what Junk food does to you. First they looked at four categories of food, ranging from unprocessed and minimally processed food up to what they describe as ‘ultra’-processed food. They took a group of people and fed them ultra-processed food for two weeks, then switched them to a diet based on unprocessed /wholefood. Each diet had the same proportions of fat, protein, sugar, salt and fibre.

Guess what? On the ultra-processed diet participants gained 0.9k weight whereas on the ‘wholefood’ diet they each lost the same amount. And on both diets they could eat as much as they wanted. The amount actually eaten on the ultra-processed diet was more than on the wholefood diet.

Of course, the ultra-processed food was more concentrated. The wholefood diet has vegetables full of water and fibre, unlike (ultra-processed) chicken nuggets and crisps which contain salt and sugar, and much less moisture, that make you want more. So people on the ultra-processed food easily put on weight, leading to obesity which can be a cause of erectile dysfunction. (I suggest you look the article up – this is just a summary!)

WholeFoods, ie not processed, contain more moisture

So wholefoods, ie not ultra-processed, are less concentrated and contain more water, naturally. It turns out that non-junk diet (ie the ‘wholefood diet’) feeds the good bugs in your inside while the ultra-processed diet doesn’t, and in fact the latter causes inflammation, disturbing how well you absorb food. That means you have lower levels of energy, and less Qi (to understand Qi click here) means weaker erections.

What I get from this is that poor diets are more concentrated and contain not just the wrong foodstuffs, but also contain less water. Junk foods are ‘dry’ foods. For health, you need ‘wet’ foods. Wet foods are naturally closer to their origins. They naturally contain moisture.

Blood contains moisture! Give yourself food that, as you digest it, absorbs both the nutrients and the moisture together. This is not quite the same as swallowing glasses of water while eating ‘dry’ foods because Chinese medicine believes your body evolved to absorb water through the food you eat, not alongside it. (By the way, that does not mean you shouldn’t drink water with meals, although it’s thought better to drink later).


brown leaves on white surface: supplements are often dry so not ideal forms of erectile dysfunction treatment
Dryness weakens erectile potential

The same goes for supplements! Supplements are concentrated and ‘dry’. You can’t get these supplements in a wet form, unless you go back to the original foods from which they were made – assuming they were natural foods!

So with supplements you must – ideally – chew them up, swallowing the powder with warm water. If it’s a capsule containing a liquid like an oil, take it with water, (warm water), which may help the capsule dissolve more easily and then help the oils or fats to circulate more freely over the walls of the small intestines through which nutrients are absorbed.

If it contains powder take it with lots of warm water to help dissolve the powder, making it easier in its ‘wet’ form to be absorbed.

 And if it’s a tablet made of compressed powder, it’s best to chew it up and swallow with warm water. (Very occasionally they now make tablets which are coated with something to protect them from dissolving in your stomach, so don’t chew these – but still take them with plenty of warm water.  Check the directions for this.)

If you are in the habit of swallowing supplement tablets with just a mouthful of water to swill them down, you could be wasting your money! Why? Because you could be swallowing a rugby ball and ejecting a football!

That’s no kind of useful erectile dysfunction treatment!

Instead, chew them up with water and wash them down with more water. Properly dissolved in water, your body can then extract far more nourishment than from a concentrated nugget of compressed powder as it tumbles past.

Take supplements with water. Otherwise, your body will, in effect, use moisture from its own reserves to digest them: this reduces the moisture available for erections!

Erection Difficulty Treatment: supplements

Looking through the different syndromes (for explanations see erectile dysfunction), there are many with yin deficiency or blood deficiency, and a few with a form of yang deficiency. Some are a mixture of both.

Most books and sites I’ve seen suggest a collection of supplements without differentiating between them this way.

You can spend a lot of money on the wrong supplements!

money wasted on poor erectile dysfunction treatment!
Waste leads to disappointment

Kidney syndromes, Ageing considerations and Erectile Dysfunction treatment

Where you see the word ‘Kidney’ in a syndrome, it signifies a more chronic condition. This usually takes longer to treat, and for older people or those seriously drained by long-term or chronic disease, no complete cure may be possible.

 In these situations, the ancient Chinese advised less frequent attempts to ejaculate. Ejaculations dissipate jing-essence which you need for healthy longevity.

When young you normally have more than enough jing-essence reserves to ejaculate many times per day/night, but as you grow older, both libido and resources dwindle.

For your general health, Chinese medicine then suggests forbearance and less frequency.


queues stop you getting ahead!
Waiting your turn!

However, as you’ll read on our page on Male Infertility, if you want to provide healthy, able and energetic sperm for your partner, you should ejaculate every 3 – 5 days to ensure that they aren’t queued behind a lot of doddering old fools. So it may be a balancing act.

Blood syndromes and erection difficulty

Where the word ‘Blood’ is in a syndrome, supplements may work faster, so long as you take care to deal with the situations which caused the syndrome for you.

If you make no attempt to change the underlying causes of your syndrome, the supplement may help a bit, but you’ll fall back: you’ll relapse!

Also, this takes time. You need to take the right supplements and make the right adjustments to your life. But nothing will solve your problem overnight. (If it does, it’s not because of the supplement but because, probably, the problem was in your mind.) To maintain the results, you need to back it up with the right food, the right supplements, and the right life adjustments.

Difference between Supplements and Herbal treatment

Although both herbs and many supplements come from plants they work in very different ways. It’s important to understand the difference.

Supplements aim to replace something missing or depleted in your diet. The thinking is that health problems occur because of dietary deficiency. In other words, were you able to eat the perfect diet (perfect, that is, for YOUR needs) you would have no health problems, assuming you have the perfect digestion of course! For more, read our page on Supplements.

Herbal treatments aim to change the way your body works.

Chinese herbal prescriptions are often effective erectile dysfunction treatments
Herbs to reset your system

In Chinese medicine, treatment usually treats syndromes which are patterns of ill-health that occur when the body’s main systems (zang-fu) mis-function. Knowing what the zang-fu do when healthy enables one to diagnose what happens when they go ‘wrong’ – the pattern of complaints that diagnose a ‘syndrome’.

In Chinese herbal medicine there are usually one or more herbs that treat the main syndrome and others that support its action, while still others balance out any over-reaction. For example, if you take herbs for yin deficiency, you might also need herbs to help support your yang in case it got overwhelmed by the strength of the yin herbs.

In the same way, acupuncture treatment might aim to reset the way your body works, but include various acupuncture points to keep you in balance while your body readjusts.

So Chinese medical treatment aims to change the way your body works. As your body starts functioning the way it should it then needs the right foods – and possibly supplements – to work towards its point of greatest health and potential.

What Happens when your system is working fine again?

When back to proper functioning, the system should not need further herbal treatment.

Indeed, continuing to take the herbal prescription might produce other undesirable syndromes.

For example, if originally your metabolism was slow, making you always feel cold, you might take a herbal prescription to teach your body to provide more yang, more warmth.

But once your circulation had returned to normal, it would be undesirable to continue to take warming herbs, which might give you signs of yang excess. Click on that link to see why that might be a bad idea! Lots of people take yang herbs like ginseng – renshen –  in the mistaken belief that this will improve their health and energy:  but it won’t if it leads to yang excess.

But, even with their metabolism working properly, some people might still need supplements, depending on their individual needs.

Western Medicine

Just a note on Western Medicine! There are various types of medicine, for example:

  • Supplementary: to replace something missing, like insulin for a diabetic, vitamin B12 for pernicious anaemia, steroids for joint dryness.
  • Suppressive: these usually begin with the prefix ‘anti’, as in anti-biotic. To suppress a painful or dangerous reaction to disease, such as to quell fever or pain.


macro photography of glasses on tray

  • Controlling – similar to Suppressing: to control a process that has got out of hand such as from an overactive immune system that, for example in Covid 19, leads to a cytokine storm destroying lung tissue.
  • To teach or alert your body how to deal with an invader – vaccination, for example.
  • Preferred mode of action: having diagnosed a particular disease to find the single substance, in the purest possible form, to suppress the symptoms. Steroids are also used for this, to control inflammation.


Often medication is subsequently found to have side-effects which other medicines are needed to control.

Because many Western medicine’s medications suppress the body’s symptoms which, at least until you die, are what your inherited genes have designed it to produce, many drugs are needed indefinitely and often in increasing quantities as time goes by.

Very broadly, Western medication aims to stop symptoms getting worse, while Chinese medicine aims to get your system working better so it needs less (Western) medication.

Jonathan Brand colours

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Yin or Blood deficiency: in the supplements that may help, those first-listed are probably the most important

Note: concerning the amount to take, read the directions on the packet!

When designing a herbal prescription in Chinese medicine, practitioners rely on their knowledge of the inherited knowhow about a herb and its energetic actions, how it works with other herbs and how to manage it for best effect. Treating any side-effects is part of the prescription.

Put simply, herbs and acupuncture reset your system, while supplements nourish it.

Kidney Yin deficiency and erectile dysfunction – erection difficulty

  • For erectile dysfunction treatment of kidney yin deficiency take yin-type supplements. These include oils and vitamins, such as fish oil (omega-3) , Vitamins D and E both of which dissolve in oil.
  • Concerning other vitamins for Kidney Yin deficiency think about supplements for nervousness and anxiety (mainly B vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium and Boron) and for bones – which ‘come under’ your Kidneys – so, again Calcium, Magnesium, Boron, Vitamin D, Zinc. As already mentioned, Kidney Yin deficiency takes longer to mend. NB supplements won’t work well without adjustments to lifestyle.


assorted vegetables are great foods for erectile dysfunction treatment
Eat ‘Wet’ foods for health
  • Eat more wet or moist foods, less dry foods. That means more vegetables and less pizza, toast, biscuits, bread – and dehydrated foods which are reconstituted by the quick addition of hot water. If you take rice or porridge, read our page on ‘clogstoun’ congee and clogstoun porridgee for how to cook them so that your body can best extract the moisture it needs.
  • Seeds and nuts contain high quantities of the nutrients that help your Kidney energy
  • Yin deficiency can accompany, even encourage, inflammation, so take pine bark (which is also used to improve urinary tract health).
  • Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners recommended specific foods such as abalone, asparagus (asparagus is also an important food for the Liver), black sesame seed, black soybean, goji berry, red lentil, millet, string beans and sweet potato. Of the animal kingdom, pork in particular was recommended.
  • Add some bitter foods to your diet. These help your body dissipate any tendency to inflammation and heat arising from yin deficiency. Read more under Bitter Taste.


Water and erection difficulty

And don’t forget to drink plenty of water (warm, not chilled) outside meal times. Blood is 80% water, so without it, your erections will lack lustre.

Water is yin, so helps reduce yin deficiency. However, too much is counter-productive as it can overstrain your Kidney Yang.

Drink enough to keep your urine either clear or just slightly yellow. (Which, I admit, is hard to judge if taking lots of colourful vitamins, including B vitamins.)

But water is an important form of your erection difficulty treatment.


Liver Blood deficiency and erection difficulty treatment

  • Blood is yin, so take fish oils, vitamins C, D and E. Add Zinc and Selenium
  • Liver Blood deficiency is also a factor in many visual (eye) problems, and the same supplements for visual problems apply for erectile dysfunction when caused by Liver Blood deficiency.
  • Arginine, builds protein and benefits circulation
  • Drink plenty of water! Water is a major constituent of blood.
  • Fermented foods help your Liver and your digestion. (For example kefir, yogurt). They are great forms of erection difficulty treatment.
  • Eat more wet or moist foods, less dry foods. That means more vegetables and less pizza, toast, biscuits, bread and dehydrated foods which are reconstituted by the quick addition of hot water. If you take rice or porridge, read our page on ‘clogstoun’ congee and clogstoun porridgee for how to cook them so that your body can best extract the moisture it needs.
  • Chew well whatever you eat: it helps you to absorb more of the nutrients.
  • Glutathione helps your body bind toxins in your bloodstream, toxins being a possible cause of Liver Blood deficiency. Phospholipids may help too, although they work faster when injected.
  • Take plenty of protein. (Read our page on Blood building foods for stable personality.)
  • If you are vegetarian, experiment with different types of food to find those that cause the least ‘heat’ in the form of smelly breath, stinking stools and diarrhoea or constipation, and possibly itchy spotty skin.
  • If you have previously been a meat eater and wish to move to vegetarianism, reduce meat gradually and increase legumes such as beans only slowly as you intestines learn to adapt to them. Otherwise you will suffer from outrageous wind and indigestion!


Eat beets for Liver and Heart health!

Traditional Chinese foods for Liver Blood deficiency erection difficulty treatment

Foods traditionally recommended by Chinese medicine for erectile deficiency from Liver Blood deficiency include beets, many kinds of highly-coloured fruit (for example blackberry, cherry, grape, mulberry), lobster, cuttlefish and crayfish (but preferably don’t go for these somewhat endangered species), plus spinach!


Heart Blood deficiency and erectile dysfunction

  • B vitamins help nervousness, so are a great erection difficulty treatment
  • Arginine, which builds protein (assists Blood), benefits circulation.
  • Blood is yin: take oils such as fish oils (Omega 3), vitamins A, C, D and E help.
  • Red wine – a small glass daily – helps your heart: BMC Medicine, 2021; 19: 167
  • The Mediterranean diet is famous for benefiting your Heart, containing vegetables, fish, nuts and olive oil, plus fruit. Eat oily fish twice weekly.
  • Although there are reasons for avoiding dairy foods (such as their tendency to increase phlegm and damp in your body) they provide excellent nutrition for your heart, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease: PLoS Med, 2021; 18: e1003763
  • Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine.
  • Chewing well helps you absorb more of the nutrients.
  • Drink plenty of water! Water is a major constituent of blood.
  • Eat more wet or moist foods, less dry foods. That means more vegetables and less pizza, toast, biscuits, bread and dehydrated foods which are reconstituted by the quick addition of hot water.
  • For rice or porridge, read our page on ‘clogstoun’ congee and clogstoun porridgee for how to cook them so that your body can best extract the moisture it needs.
  • Tincture of Hawthorn berries is a traditional (Western herbal) heart tonic.
  • Go to bed early, definitely before 11pm (Chinese medicine has reasons for this advice, but researchers at Exeter University also found this to be true: European Heart Journal, 2021; ztab088;
  • Although meat is a traditional food for the Blood, avoid processed meat which is dangerous for your heart. (Proceedings of the European Society of Cardiology Preventive Cardiology conference, April 15,2021)
  • Traditional foods recommended in Chinese medicine for Heart Blood deficiency include mulberry cherry, beets, longan and chicken egg.


red cherry fruits: a traditional food for heart health


Kidney Yang deficiency and erection difficulty treatment

Here your problems are, first, cold or a lack of warmth, and secondly lack of energy and thirdly lack of moisture.

Kidney yang energy also assists your digestion, so how and what you eat is important.

Food suggestions

  • Coenzyme 10 helps generate energy in your blood cells: this is more important as you age because your body produces less of it
  • Oils provide energy as well as lubrication, so oils such as fish oils (Omega 3), vitamins D and E help
  • Add warming herbs and spices like ginger, cardamon, cumin, turmeric to assist digestion
  • Seeds and nuts contain high quantities of the nutrients that help your Kidney energy, especially sesame seeds
  • Replace coffee and chocolate (both of which you probably crave) with green tea. Coffee and chocolate contain stimulants like caffeine which overstimulate your adrenals, already likely to be exhausted if you have Kidney Yang deficiency.
  • Make sure the food you eat is well-hydrated so that as you digest it the food gradually releases its moisture along with its nutrients. Eg clogstoun-congee and clogstoun porridgee.
  • Reduce sugar in any form, (eg in processed food, honey, molasses, maple syrup, alcohol) and gradually replace it with root vegetables, including their skins where possible. Most alcoholic drinks contain plenty of sugar. NB do not replace sugar with artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid eating when tired, eg late in the evening before bed. Also avoid eating when stressed, walking, rushed or working: you are dividing your energies. Your deficiency of Kidney Yang means that otherwise your digestion will be less efficient. Guard your energy!


bowl of soup near two pumpkins: great form of erectile dysfunction treatment
Pumpkin soup with spice
  • Soups are good, preferably home-made, with mild spices in them (like ginger, cardamon, cumin, turmeric)
  • Traditional Chinese medicine doctors recommended for Kidney yang deficiency foods like anise, caraway seed, dill, leek, red lentil, oily fish like sardine, star anise, walnut and a range of seafoods like shrimp, lobster, mussel and prawn, and red meats ranging from venison to lamb kidney and beef kidney: also, cordyceps sinensis.


Other suggestions for Kidney yang deficiency erection difficulty

  • Being a Kidney syndrome, this takes time to produce results, especially as you age. Very important that you make the necessary lifestyle changes. Read my book on Yang Deficiency.
  • Horny goat weed (epimedium, yin han huo). Don’t overdose as high doses are toxic for Liver and Kidneys. This is a herb, not a nutritional supplement, so alters the way your body behaves, so beware overdosing.
  • Make sure you get enough rest/sleep, if possible also in the afternoon.
  • For more, see our main page on Erectile Dysfunction.


Heart and Gallbladder deficiency and erection difficulty treatment

  • Organic cider vinegar tones your Liver and Gallbladder
  • Leafy-green vegetables really help your Liver and Gallbladder, as does protein, to produce healthy Blood. Your Blood is the basis for your personality. Healthy Blood helps your Gallbladder work better and is vital for healthy Heart function. Read our page on Blood Building Foods.
  • Fermented foods really benefit your Liver and Gallbladder the health of which supports your Heart. Fermented foods vary round the world, including sauerkraut, miso, many kinds of pickles (but these are not the same as vegetables stored in vinegar). For more, check Fermented foods and your Liver. However, don’t eat in large quantities: small amounts eaten frequently are best.
  • Eat more bitter-tasting food – for a list and warnings see Bitter Taste
  • Bean sprouts, especially Mung bean sprouts, taken stir-fried
  • Cabbage and Brussel sprouts help your Heart and Gallbladder, also your Stomach


bok choy at daytime: cabbage is a great food for Stomach
Cabbage soup – a form of erectile dysfunction treatment
  • Chew well and take regular exercise – it oxygenates your Blood.
  • Green tea has bitter qualities that help your Heart, much better than coffee/chocolate which you should reduce, or abandon!
  • The Liver easily becomes overheated eg by too much alcohol, protein and fat: that heat can emerge as angry outbursts and irritability which are not the kind of assertiveness that emerges from a healthy Gallbladder, which has if anything a cooling action. Foods with a bitter taste have a cooling effect. Hence, the importance of bitter foods for your Gallbladder. But the bitter taste also benefits your Heart.
  • Any good general vitamin supplement will benefit you, together with oils such as fish omega 3, vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin!), vitamin A, vitamin E.


Traditional Recommendations for Heart and Gallbladder

  • Traditional herbs thought to help your Liver and Gallbladder include fennel seeds, caraway seeds and peppermint. Artichoke leaf and chicory root may also help your Gallbladder function better, hence your Heart. Hawthorn berry tincture is a traditional Western herbal preparation for the Heart.


Liver Qi stagnation caused erection difficulty

  • The Most Important action for erection difficulty from Liver Qi stagnation – in terms of food – is to avoid foods and substances that make this worse: fatty, oily, rich, heating, spicy foods and alcohol (although a very little is beneficial).
  • Avoid substances that burden your liver, like stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, fats known as ‘trans’ fats: also social drugs.
  • Avoid processed foods and drinks too many of which lead to a new disease called ‘non-alcoholic fatty liver disease’. These kind of liver fats retard your liver and stop it detoxifying properly, giving you poorer thyroid function and sex hormone problems, as well as compromised blood glucose management, which shows up as sugar cravings. The latter lead to weight gain and obesity, poor digestion and the threat of diabetes, all of which can lead to erection difficulty.


More specific erection difficulty treatment for Liver Qi Stagnation

  • Vitamin B complex helps. If you can, buy whole grains (wheat, barley, oats) and sprout them. In their sprouted form your liver will love them. Other sources of B vitamins include nuts, seeds, lentils, leafy green vegetables, and eggs: also, traditionally, red meats (pork, beef, lamb) and beef liver. These supply the amino acids your liver needs but too many or too much of them will have a heating effect: read our page on Liver Fire to see what this means.
  • If you go vegetarian or vegan, to get all the amino acids needed across a day, take foods from several protein foods. For example, take rice and sesame seeds and vegetables as each will complement the deficiencies in the others. Such protein sources include chickpeas, quinoa, nuts and chia seeds, plus grains and vegetables. Then add broccoli cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower to complement with vitamin B.
  • Traditional Chinese doctors recommended foods such as avocado, celery, fennel shoots and seeds, peppermint and sprouted barley.


sliced avocado fruit on brown wooden table
Avocado has oils and fats your Liver likes.

Toxins and Liver Qi stagnation

  • Toxins in your blood may make your more susceptible to Liver qi stagnation. A supplement called glutathione helps your body clear these toxins.
  • Although there is limited proof as yet, many environmental chemicals, pesticides and skincare products contain substances that load your liver and confuse your hormones. Read the ingredient lists carefully and look out for products guaranteed pure from such chemicals. What you put on your skin or breathe every day is what you should be aware of, not what you do on special occasions only. Just as a pizza once a month is a treat, but daily is a disaster – for your health and erections!
  • If you are suffering from toxic exposure and sensitivity to chemicals, take acetyl-glutathione (up to 6 capsules daily, but read the instructions) with vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid (B9), plus R-alpha-lipoic acid, 2 capsules daily. (But here you probably need advice and guidance.)



Heart and Kidney not harmonising with yin deficiency

  • Zinc is the most important mineral here. A healthier way to take it is via eating lots of nuts, eg brazils, almonds, walnuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds These contain a host of other beneficial nutrients for your health, some of which aid absorption of the zinc naturally found in the nuts and seeds. They also contain fibre, so they move better through your intestines. For best results, sprout them.


sprouted seeds for heart and kidney health
Sprout seeds for better absorption.
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Read the recommendations above for Heart Blood deficiency and Kidney yin deficiency for useful erection difficulty treatment for this.
  • Traditional Chinese foods for this syndrome include cheeses from cow’s and sheep’s milk, lily bulb, lotus root, mulberry, and wheat. (But the wheat they ate was probably a much earlier form of wheat than the kind we now eat.)


Heart and Kidney not harmonising with qi deficiency

  • Zinc is the most important mineral here. A healthier way to take it is via eating lots of nuts, eg brazils, almonds, walnuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds These contain a host of other beneficial nutrients for your health, some of which aid absorption of the zinc naturally found in the nuts and seeds. They also contain fibre, so they move better through your intestines.
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Also, read the recommendations above for Heart Blood deficiency.
  • Traditionally doctors recommended hemp seed and pork heart.

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