Summer the Element of Fire and Excessive Body Heat in Summer
As the season changes and summer approaches we feel joyful and happy. Summer represents the Fire element in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In Ayurvedic Medicine summer is considered as the Pitta season. The yang energy is at its peak which can be seen all around us in nature as flowers and plants grow to flourish and bloom, wildlife is abundant and the sun shines all day long. In humans our body also expresses the yang energy as we burst into creative energy. The warm weather enables us to be more energetic and expansive as we spend more time outdoors, socializing with friends, take up sporting activity and feel a great flow of enthusiasm to celebrate life.
The Fire element when in balance represents warmth, growth, expansion and joy. Where there is excessive fire the body starts producing symptoms such as skin eruptions, over or lack of perspiration, body heat, insomnia, restlessness and explosive energy. This is as a result of having too much heat in the body. This also applies to pitta in Ayurvedic medicine where there is an imbalance and the body starts to produce excessive heat.
How to Extinguish Fire and Balance out Excessive Body Heat in Summer
Diet: Fire is associated to bitter foods so increasing food with bitter properties such as leafy green vegetables will help reduce body heat. Also an increase of cooling food and drinks will help reduce body heat. Eating fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables especially cucumber, watermelon and drinking coconut water will help reduce heat. Foods to avoid are nuts, hot spices, protein rich food are a storehouse for heat producing agents.
Teas and Herbal Infusions: Certain types of teas play a very important role to balance internal body temperature. The cooling effect of teas are mainly dependent on the amount of oxidation the leaves have undergone. Black teas are fully oxidized and considered to contain more `warming’ properties in comparison to green teas which are not oxidized and are known to be `cooling’. Oolong teas are semi-oxidized and the lighter ones such as Milky Oolong tea has more of a cooling effect in comparison to Formosa Oolong, which has gone through a longer oxidation process.
Green Tea Recommendations: China White Hair is a green tea grown high in the mountains and has a delicate and smooth taste. Similar to China White Hair is Lung Ching also known as Dragonwell. This has a wonderful balance of bitter and sweet flavour. Milky Oolong is a oolong tea grown in Taiwan that has been slightly oxidized and flavoured with real milk vapour. The flavour is characterized by a milky smooth infusion with vanilla undertones.
Herbal Infusion Recommendation: Herbs offer more than adding flavour or nutrients to our food. In most herbal healing practices, herbs provide warming or cooling properties and this can influence how a herbal tea preparation can help with a healing process. Some cooling herbs/flowers include Chamomile, Rose, Nettle, hibiscus, rose hips, chickweed, dandelion, peppermint, lemon balm, lavender and lemon verbena.
Beautiful Skin Tea contains a lot of key herbal ingredients used traditionally to balance body temperature and reduce inflammation and heat. The formulation is believed to help with heat related conditions to the skin. Toxin Killer also believed to contain heat reducing herbs associated to the liver and blood.
To maintain a state of balance body heat in summer, it is important to find time to relax, rest the body so it is able to reduce body heat and not be overexerted. It is also important to exercise and break a sweat so toxins can be eliminated. Most importantly maintain good hydration and avoid getting over-heated.