Summer in the Chinese Medicine model represents the greatest outward showing of nature; it is the time with the longest days, the warmest weather, of abundance with fresh fruit and vegetables as far as the eye can see. Within the Chinese medicine paradigm summer is associated with the Heart and Small Intestine and represents the element of fire, emotion of joy and colour red.
This is the time when we are out doors, waking up early with plenty of energy to enjoy the sunshine and absorb the vitamin D it produces, giving us the energy we need to catch up with friends and be with nature, while staying up late enjoying the warm summer nights. This is the season when we start to exercise more regularly, where our daily walk, swim or run is filed with all that nature can reveal providing us with joy and laughter. This in turn supports our beating heart which oxygenates and nourishes our muscles, organs, skin and minds allowing us to feel more connected, centred and at peace, nourished by life’s potential.
In Chinese Medicine when our heart is strong and balanced we are emotionally calmer and focused, filled with joy and happiness, we sleep well and wake refreshed. When the heart is weak our joy wanes, potentially leading to sadness or even depression or the excesses of the heart in the form of mania. Our sleep in turn can also be affected; resulting in insomnia and fitful rest with the potential for vivid dreams leaving us fatigued and disorientated potentially creating a downward spiral of disquiet and poor health.
The foods and drink of summer are light and fresh; they consist of fresh vegetables and fruits, with plenty of water and the addition of foods with pungent flavours like dandelion, parsley leaves, mustard greens, collard greens, sesame seeds, apricot seed, asparagus, bitter gourd, wild cucumber, celery, cherry seed, coffee, grapefruit peel, hops, kohlrabi, lettuce, lotus plumule, radish leaf, sea grass, vinegar.
By following the seasons and living life by the cycles of nature we are more likely to be healthy and content. As summer is the time of action this is the time to try new things, and get involved with both nature and others. Being active does not have to be loud, it can be walking alone on the beach experiencing the sunlight and watching the waves crash on the shore. It can be an active adventure with others exploring nature or going out to see a show.
This is the time to explore and grow. Sometimes we may need assistance to get where we need to be, if you do please find the help which resonates with you, this may be yoga, a walking group, or even physical or emotional therapy. But know you are not alone and that the summer sun is here to support and nourish you and your heart.
Marlene Watson-Tara ; The Five Tastes: Balancing Foods for All Seasons, T. Collin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. August 14, 2015. http://nutritionstudies.org/the-five-tastes-balancing-foods-for-all-seasons/