Minor and Major Heat : Summer Tips

The Chinese lunisolar calendar maps out 24 solar terms. From July 6, we begin what is called Minor Heat and from July 22, it’s Major Heat. Minor Heat / 小暑 (xiǎo shǔ) is the start of the hottest part of the summer. Originally created as a guide for farming and agriculture, the 24 Solar Terms show the changing patterns in climate and natural phenomena. It also informs the changes in the foods the Chinese consume, to support health and well-being to align with the weather.

“Summer heat 暑 is one of the evils or pathogens recorded in Chinese Medicine, meaning it’s an external element that can cause illness. It can feel like catching a “bug”, as it usually comes on unexpectedly and strongly.” – Dr Lily Choi

Imbalances, according to Dr Choi, range from excess body heat, irritability, heart palpitations, fatigue, and heaviness.

One of the most common (and probably controversial) Traditional Chinese Medicine advice is not to drink cold icy drinks. Of course, this is all relative, such in not overdoing it. Digestive imbalance, with Spleen and Stomach organ energy being disharmonized, is believed to be a major cause of disease. When cold is consumed, these organs must first heat it, resulting in a disruption in the circulation in the lower body. People then commonly experience reflux, headaches, and even eye problems as the Stomach meridian begins near the eye.

Tips for Well-Being in the Summer

  • Instead of cold icy drinks, opt for cooling and watery foods such as watermelon, peach, cucumber, bok choy, green tea, bitter melon, mung beans, and mint. If you’re prone to digestive struggles, be sure not to go overboard with the cold and raw foods. Cooling foods help to clear heat from the body. It’s not uncommon to eat more fresh, lightly, and less in the summer. Honour your natural flow.
  • Watch out for too much fried and spicy foods. These, unlike cooling ones, add heat.
  • Ensure appropriate hydration, including an electrolyte. Perhaps coconut water. While some people love adding trace minerals, adding a pinch of salt can be for you.
  • Support the Heart and Small Intestine, the two Organ systems that govern the Summer.
  • Support the Kidney and Bladder Organ Energies. Poor health in the summer can be an imbalance in these energies.
  • Enjoy siesta time and the natural active/not-active cycles/periods.
  • We may want to be more active in the summer, be out in the sun, be with friends. Listen to your personal authority – don’t be pulled in by peer pressure or mental beliefs, at the expense of what’s correct for you.
  • For skincare, you can make a mist with green tea to cool the face. Here are some suggestions to check out. I get my sustainable Pearl Powder from Sun Potion, which also offers other Yin-nourishing products as as Yin Powder.

Summer Tips