Summer Eating with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Summer fun has always been equated with summer foods and cooking. In Asheville, we all know the value of eating seasonally. The foods are fresher, which means they are more nutritious; BUT, did you know that eating seasonally is also about helping the body maintain better balance? So many foods that flourish during the summer are ideal for mitigating the seasonal effects of the season. When practicing acupuncture, we are using the lens of nature to understand the innate essence of food and drink, as well as herbs; it’s an important guideline to maintaining a balanced diet as well as a balanced life.
Traditional Chinese medicine lists three categories in which food and herbs are classified by; temperature, flavor and action. Temperature has a range from cold, cool, neutral, warm, and hot. Flavors are sweet, savory, spicy, salty, bitter, and sour. Actions are a wide scope (and are, of course, grounded in Chinese medicine terminology), here are a few examples; clears toxic heat, clears summer heat (there are distinct differences), moves qi, builds blood.
These are some of the major stars for the summer season:
Cucumbers – cool/sweet, moisturizes, cools. Benefits: bladder, spleen, stomach, large intestine, and heart. Can be helpful as a diuretic; drains dampness, clears summer heat and toxins, moistens lungs; relieves acne, conjunctivitis, sore throat, stomach, inflammation,
Tomatoes – cool-cold/sweet/sour. Benefits; heart and liver. Can be helpful to cool and nourish liver, augments the yin fluids, clears heat and cools blood; aids blurred vision, constipation, dry eyes, dizziness, indigestion, itching, mouth sores, nosebleeds.
Squash- cool/sweet, clears heat/summer heat/toxins, disinhibits water, qi mover. Benefits; liver, spleen and bladder. Can be helpful with stopping pain, difficult urination, edema, irritability, thirst.
Sweet Potatoes -warm/sweet, moisturizes, strengthens qi (specifically of the kidney and spleen). Benefits the kidneys, spleen, stomach and bladder. Can be helpful with diarrhea, insufficient lactation, poor appetite, and premature ejaculation.
Eggplant – sweet/cool, cools blood, moves blood, drains dampness. Benefits; large intestine, spleen, stomach and liver. Can be helpful in mitigating bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, skin disorders with itching,
Corn – (grain) neutral/sweet , nourishes the lungs, heart, spleen, liver, gallbladder and bladder, specifically benefits kidney qi, relaxes the gallbladder qi, drains dampness, tonifies heart, spleen and lung qi.
Mellons (The Queen of Summer fruits!) :
Watermelon – sweet/cold, cools heat, diuretic; benefits the stomach, bladder and heart; augments yin fluids, clears heat from the heart, stomach, bladder, drains damp, relieves summer heat, edema, mouth sores, overheating, inability to urinate, palpitations, thirst; not ideal for those dealing with asthma, stomach bloating/digestion issues (best to consult a practitioner if there are concerns, hmmmm I wonder who you could call?)
Cantaloupe -cool/aromatic/sweet, clears heat, moistens lungs, benefits the lungs, heart, large intestine, small intestine, and bladder. Helpful for constipation, dry cough, fever, scanty urination, and thirst.
Honeydew – sweet/cool/aromatic, moisturizes the lungs, cools heat. Benefits the heart, stomach, lungs, large and small intestines, and bladder. Can help with constipation, dry cough, fever, scanty urination, thirst.
Peaches – sweet/sour, warm, moves blood, feeds juices, nourishes blood, augments yin fluids, moistens lungs and large intestine. Benefits the kidneys, spleen, lungs, stomach, and large intestine. Can help with constipation and dry cough.
Cherries – sweat/slightly sour/warm, moisturizes the kidneys and liver, strengthens middle Jiao, benefits the liver, spleen, stomach, lungs, heart, kidneys and blood. Tonifies the qi of the liver, kidney and spleen. Drains dampness, good for anemia, arthritis, calf pain, dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, gout, lower back pain, numbness in limbs, palpitations, rheumatism, seminal emissions, vertigo.
Plums – sweet/sour, warm-slightly cool, regulates qi, nourishes blood, clears heat, augments yin fluids, feeds juices. Benefits the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and bladder. Can help with bleeding gums, constipation, fever, indigestion, mouth sores, sore throat, thirst, tongue sores.
To learn more about food as medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asheville Acupuncture treatments, call 828-225-3161.