Summer has the most Yang energy of all of the seasons.  When the weather is nice and the sun is out, people want to have fun outside. Summer is a time of light, activity, and joy.  In Chinese traditional thought, summer is associated with fire, the color red, and the heart and small intestine in the body.

Summer is the best time to detoxify.  It is important to wake up early before the day gets too hot.  In the early summer mornings, the air is fresh with the scent of flowers and you can enjoy birdsong.  Exercising in this fresh morning air is a great way to clear toxins from the body naturally.  One of the summer organs, the heart, is associated with spiritual awareness, so summer is also a great time to let go of any toxic emotions or heartbreak that have been weighing you down. 

In China there is a traditional saying that you should eat like a king in the morning, a rich man at noon, and a poor man at bedtime.  This means that your largest meal should be in the morning.  This is especially true in the summer, when the heat will cause you to eat less.   Watermelon is a useful medicinal food for the summer.  You can eat watermelon in moderation to clear heat from the body and clean your intestinal tract.  Also, don’t throw away your watermelon seeds.  Dried watermelon seed tea is very good for your kidneys.  (see below for a recipe)

In the summer, it is good to rest around mid-day when the sun is the strongest.  If you nap in the afternoons or when go to bed at night, make sure your window is not open too wide.  A strong breeze blowing down on the top of you head (particularly from air conditioning) can cause headaches and runny noses.

The traditional Chinese calendar can also teach us some useful things about summer.  On the traditional calendar, the year is divided into 24 solar terms known as the “Twenty-Four Phases of Qi”.  Six of these solar terms take place in the summer.  

The solar terms describe the interplay of Yin and Yang and the events that  happen in the natural world as the seasons change, such as differences in temperature, precipitation, animal life, and agricultural production.

Through the turning of the year, the changes that happen in nature parallel changes in your body and mind.  I hope that during the hotter months, living with the seasons will help you have a healthy and happy summer!

Water Melon Seed Tea

  • Crush seeds
  • Use one tsp. crushed seeds for every cup of boiling water
  • Steep for fifteen minutes
  • Strain to remove the pieces of seed

For maximum benefit, drink one cup of tea per day, three times a week.