Chinese Medicine: Some Foods for Summer

By | August 8, 2018

Chinese Medicine: Some Foods for Summer

Lois Denmark, DACM, L. Ac., Dipl.OM (NCCAOM) ,Theory Department Chair, ESATM

The Wu Xing or Five Phases includes the five seasons: Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Fall.

Summer Season corresponds to the Fire Element and Late Summer corresponds to the Earth Element.

Summer is the season when both Qi & Blood move vigorously throughout the body and over exposure to external heat can result in diarrhea or Sunstroke.

Fruits and vegetables provide a source of fluids and promote digestion.

Foods that keep the body cool include: Cucumber, Mung Beans, Lotus Root or Leaf; Watermelon, Bitter Melon, Coix (Job’s Tears)

 

Bitter Melon: Ku Gua, Momordica charantia

Bitter, Cold

Stomach, Heart, Liver

Clears Heat, Alleviates thirst

Summerheat or Warm Disease

Seeds are used to topically to treat sores that are slow to heal and swellings from sprains and fractures.   Avoid if trying to conceive.

 

 

Cucumber: Huang Gua, Cucumis sativus

Sweet, Cold

Nourishes Stomach and Urinary Bladder

Clears Heat, Eliminates Toxins, Alleviates Thirst, Promotes Urination, Reduces Edema

Can be applied externally to soothe red, swollen dry eyes; regenerates the skin and heals sunburn.

 

Mung Beans: Lu Dou, Phaseoli radiate Semen

Sweet & Cold

Nourishes Heart & Stomach

Clears Heat from the exterior of the body; Dispels Summer Heat; Alleviates Thirst

Targets some Skin Disorders & Relieves Toxicity

Helps to reduce ‘blood fat’ (triglycerides)and renew blood vessels

Caution: Spleen Qi Vacuity type Diarrhea (chronic loose or watery diarrhea, reduced appetite, abdominal distention after a meal)

 

Sweet Soup with Mung Beans & Job’s Tears (Aileen Yeoh, The Tao of Eating and Healing)

This sweet soup is traditionally given to Chinese children during the hot summer months when they suffer from sunburn, sores and boils. It is also good for adults with acne caused by the sun.

1 oz (25g) Mung Beans

1 oz (25g) Job’s Tears

tiny pinch Sea Salt

Barley Malt (Yi Tang) Extract

  1. Wash the beans and soak them overnight.
  2. The next day, wash Job’s Tears, add them and plenty of water to the mung beans and boil until the beans are soft.
  3. Add a pinch of Sea Salt and simmer for another 15 minutes
  4. Sweeten the soup with Barley Malt Extract and serve

Note: Thinner soup is ‘cooler’ than thicker soup

 

Sweet Soup with Mung Beans & Fresh Lotus Leaf (Aileen Yeoh, The Tao of Eating and Healing)

This sweet soup is good for children and adults with prickly heat or heat rash:

1 oz (25g) Mung Beans

1 Fresh Lotus Leaf

pinch Sea Salt

Barley Malt Extract

  1. Wash the beans and soak them overnight.
  2. The next day, boil them in their soaking water with the lotus leaf until the beans are soft
  3. Add a pinch of Sea Salt and simmer for another 15 minutes
  4. Sweeten the soup with Barley Malt Extract and serve

Note: If fresh lotus leaf is not available, use dried lotus leaf or dried lotus petals (available from a Chinese herbalist)

 

Lotus Leaf: He Ye, Nelumbinus Folium

Bitter, Slightly Sweet, Neutral

Heart, Liver, Spleen

Clears Heat, Resolves Summer Heat, Raises Clear Yang, Stops Bleeding

 

 

 

 

Watermelon: Xi Gua, Citrulli Fructus, Citrullus lanatus

Sweet and Cold

Nourishes: Heart, Stomach and Urinary Bladder

Clears Summer Heat, Alleviates Restlessness, Relieves Thirst, Promotes Urination

Caution: Diabetics should limit or avoid; additional caution for Spleen Qi Vacuity type Diarrhea

 

 

References:

Lu, Henry. Chinese Herbs with Common Foods: Recipes for Health and Healing. Kodansha International 1997.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. 2002. North Atlantic Books.

Yuan Wang, W Sheir, M Ono. Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen. DaCapo Press. 2010.

Yeoh, Aileen. Longevity, The Tao of Eating and Healing. Marshall Cavendish International. 2004

Illustrations:

Bitter Melon: supplements-score-card.com

Cucumber: organicfacts.net

Mung Beans: lepetitoeuf.com

Lotus Leaf: treknature.com

Watermelon: medicalnewstoday.com

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