The Five Seasons in Traditional Chinese Medicine, by Vonalee Gilroy, Registered Acupuncturist

June 21 is the apex of summer, and the most yang day of the year. Also the hottest season of the year, Heat is experienced not only as the temperature of our environment, but in the nature of foods we eat as well. If there is excess heat in the Summer, the goal is to balance it with coolness.

Some cooling Foods include:

Apples, pears, tropical fruits, watermelon, cucumber, spinach, tomato, yogurt, barley and green tea (“green tea disperses summer heat and can expel toxins, cool the heart fire, calm the mind, remove heat from liver and gallbladder, and relieve stomach and lung.”) Also, stay away from frozen foods, as excess can damage the digestive system, even in summer. I’m guilty of consuming too much iced coffee in the summer, and can definitely feel it when I’ve overdone it.

Another topic to consider is sweating. During the summer months, Chinese Medicine would recommend avoiding excess sweating as excess sweat can lead to exhaustion of Yin energy (blood and deeper levels of fluid in body). Exhaustion of Yin energy can lead to symptoms of increased hot flashes during menopause, fatigue, lack of moisture and nourishment to muscles which can lead to muscle damage and other pain conditions, and much more! Light forms of energy are recommended (ex. yoga, walking, swimming), and listening to your body’s limits.

tip: In Chinese medicine, barley is known for its ability to tonify qi, blood and yin. It also helps resolve dampness, water accumulations and eliminate toxins. Making barley “tea” is great in summer. Boil 2 ounces of barley in 1 quart of water, and either consume on its own, or use it tea or soup of your own.

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