Summer 09: Summer Heat-What is it and what do we know about it?

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With the love of summer, it’s sun vibrancy and outdoor activities, we must not forget the environmental dangers our bodies face this time of year.  According to  Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer-heat pathogens may invade the body during the hot humid weather, often at the end of summer. These symptoms of high fever, copious sweating, irritability, headache, dizziness and thirst can be seen.  This type of disease has a rapid onset and digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or lack of appetite may also occur.  Careful consideration must be taken in preventing an attack by keeping the right Qi of the body strong by limiting hard physical labor during the extremely hot weather.  

    If one is attacked by these summer-heat pathogens, traditional Chinese herbal medicine offers various herbal teas to cool the body and rebuild fluids lost through sweating.  Bai Hu Tang or White Tiger decoction, which is taken as a warm tea, is one such formula that addresses the symptoms of summer-heat.  This formula contains 4 ingredients including licorice root.  If the body’s qi is weak, ginseng may be added.  The dampness of the humid summer may also invade with the heat leading to sensations of heavy body and scanty urine whereby other herbs can be added to the above formula.    

    Additionally, further care can be taken by consuming cool natured foods that will help to resolve summer-heat symptoms.  Watermelon fruit (xi gua) is sweet, bland and cold, thus will help resolve summer-heat symptoms of intense thirst and difficult urination.  Just simply eat watermelon or drink 100-300mls of its juice and its efficacy will be immediately apparent.  Summer is here!  Enjoy its fruits but do so with your health in mind!