As the scorching summer sun beats down upon us, staying cool and refreshed becomes a priority. According to TCM, being too warm isn't just uncomfortable. It impacts overall health and wellness when our yin (cool) and yang (hot) energy are out of whack. And modern science confirms that heat waves take a toll on our physiology (Alsaiqali et. al, 2022; Fisher et. al, 2022).
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a treasure trove of herbal remedies and techniques to help us combat the heat and maintain a balanced internal environment. In this blog, we will explore some of the most effective TCM herbs and techniques to beat the heat and keep you feeling cool and energized all summer long.
Mung Bean Soup - A Cooling Elixir
Mung bean soup, known as "lǜ dòu tāng" in Chinese, is a popular remedy to combat heat and clear internal heat toxins. This delicious and easy-to-prepare soup is a staple during hot summers. Mung beans are thought to have cooling properties that help reduce body heat, soothe irritability, and promote healthy digestion. Simply boil mung beans with water and a pinch of rock sugar, and enjoy this refreshing drink as part of your daily routine.
Herbs and Teas
Chrysanthemum tea, or "jú huā chá," is a light and aromatic herbal infusion known for its cooling properties. Made from dried chrysanthemum flowers, this tea is not only delightful in taste. It’s also thought to have a cooling effect. Herbs like Goji, American Ginseng, and Reishi are also thought to have yin (cooling) properties, while herbs like turmeric and ginger are thought to activate yang (warming) energy.
Cooling Foods and Dietary Habits
In TCM, dietary choices play a crucial role in maintaining balance within the body. During hot weather, opt for cooling foods such as cucumber, watermelon, mint, and lotus root. These foods have cooling properties and help hydrate the body. Additionally, TCM advises against consuming excessive amounts of spicy, greasy, or fried foods during the summer as they can contribute to internal heat buildup.
Acupressure and Cooling Points
TCM practitioners believe that stimulating specific acupressure points can help regulate body temperature and beat the heat. One such point is "Hegu" or "LI4," located between the thumb and index finger. Applying gentle pressure to this point for a few minutes can help dissipate body heat and provide relief from headaches and tension. Similarly, "Tai Chong" or "LV3," located on the top of the foot, is believed to balance liver energy and cool the body.
Qigong - Harmonizing Body and Mind
Qigong, an ancient Chinese practice, combines gentle movements, controlled breathing, and meditation to cultivate and balance the body's vital energy, or "qi." Practicing Qigong during hot weather may help regulate body temperature, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being.
Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a holistic approach to beating the heat and maintaining overall well-being during the hot summer months. By incorporating cooling herbs, practicing acupressure, engaging in Qigong, and making wise dietary choices, you can stay cool, calm, and energized throughout the season.
1 Alsaiqali M, De Troeyer K, Casas L, Hamdi R, Faes C, Van Pottelbergh G. The Effects of Heatwaves on Human Morbidity in Primary Care Settings: A Case-Crossover Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jan 12;19(2):832. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19020832. PMID: 35055653; PMCID: PMC8775418.
2Fisher, J.T., Ciuha, U., Ioannou, L.G.et al. Cardiovascular responses to orthostasis during a simulated 3-day heatwave.Sci Rep 12, 19998 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-24216-3