Da Shu, literally translated as Great Heat in English, is the last solar term of summer and a crucial time for health preservation. As the saying goes, “Slight Heat is not hot while Great Heat is the dog days,” meaning that the weather is extremely hot during Great Heat. At this time, the ”steaming heat and humidity” reaches its peak, and it is especially important to prevent the damage of damp-heat pathogenic factors to health.
In the heat of summer, it’s like being steamed from above and boiled from below. Chinese folks have the tradition of drinking fu tea, burning fu incense and basking fu ginger during Canicular days.
With the arrival of every solar term, Chinese folks will act according to the phenology. Bask fu ginger and drink fu tea are the unique customs of this solar term.
In Shanxi and Henan provinces of China, during Canicular days, people slice or juice ginger and mix it with brown sugar. It is then placed in a container, covered with gauze, and dried in the sun. Once fully integrated, it is consumed to help relieve symptoms such as coughs due to colds and chronic diarrhea.
Fu tea, consumed during Canicular days, is made from a dozen Chinese herbs such as honeysuckle, prunella and licorice. It has the effect of cooling and dispelling summer heat.
During Great Heat, it is important to focus on clearing heat and replenishing Qi for good health.
During Great Heat, people’s energy can easily become depleted. This is particularly true for the elderly, children, and those with weaker constitutions who may find it harder to withstand the intense heat of summer and may experience symptoms such as summer heat fatigue and heatstroke.
Eliminate dampness to relieve restlessness.
During this time, high temperatures and humidity often result in hot and stuffy “sauna days”. In traditional Chinese medicine, dampness is considered a Yin pathogen that can obstruct the flow of Qi. When the flow of Qi in the chest is hindered, it can easily lead to restlessness and other negative emotions.
Sitting still, watering plants, reading, listening to music, and engaging in moderate exercise can all help to alleviate feelings of restlessness and agitation.
In terms of diet, it is appropriate to eat some bitter foods such as bitter gourd and bitter greens, which can not only stimulate the appetite but also refresh the mind, helping to eliminate dampness and relieve restlessness. Before going to bed, you can soak your feet in hot water to promote blood circulation in the lower limbs, accelerate the elimination of dampness, and drink a cup of reishi tea to improve sleep quality.
Nourish the spleen and stomach.
During the period of Great Heat, high humidity can weaken the ability of the spleen and stomach to function properly, leading to a relative decline in digestive function. If one frequently moves between air-conditioned and hot, stuffy environments or consumes large amounts of cold beverages, they may be more susceptible to developing gastrointestinal diseases.
Li Shizhen, a medical expert from the Ming Dynasty, proposed that “congee is the best food for the stomach and intestines, and is the best dietary choice.” During the Great Heat period, drinking a bowl of congee, such as lotus leaf and mung bean congee, coix seed and lily congee, or chrysanthemum congee, can not only relieve summer heat but also soothe the spleen and stomach.
During the Great Heat, one should avoid greasy foods.
From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, the saying “In summer, even the healthy are a little weak” means that during the hot summer months, people are prone to symptoms of Qi deficiency. During the Great Heat season, the hot weather can easily consume the body’s Qi and fluids. It is recommended to consume foods that can relieve heat and generate fluids, such as mung beans, cucumbers, bean sprouts, adzuki beans, and purslane. For those with weaker spleens and stomachs, these foods can be consumed with a small amount of fresh ginger, amomum fruit, or perilla leaf to aid digestion and stimulate appetite.
Drinking tea can help the body dissipate heat and cool down, generate fluids and quench thirst, while also replenishing fluids.
For a refreshing and invigorating tea, it is recommended to choose a blend made with Ganoderma sinense, Goji Berry and Chrysanthemum. This tea has a clear and bitter taste with a sweet aftertaste. It can course the liver, improve vision, relieve fatigue, and invigorate the mind. Regular consumption of this tea can provide additional benefits such as clearing heat and generating fluids.
Recipe – Ganoderma sinense, Goji berry and chrysanthemum tea
Ingredients: 10g of GanoHerb organic Ganoderma sinense slices, 3g of green tea, and an appropriate amount of Hangzhou chrysanthemum and Goji berries.
Instructions: Place the GanoHerb organic Ganoderma sinense slices, green tea, Hangzhou chrysanthemum, and Goji berries into a cup. Add an appropriate amount of boiling water and steep for 2 minutes before serving.
Recipe – Ganoderma sinense, Lotus Seed and Lily Congee
This congee clears away heart-fire, tranquilizes the mind, and is suitable for both young and old.
Ingredients: 20 grams of GanoHerb Ganoderma sinense slices, 20 grams of cored lotus seeds, 20 grams of lily bulbs, and 100 grams of rice.
Instructions: Rinse the Ganoderma sinense slices, lotus seeds, lily bulbs, and rice. Add a few slices of fresh ginger and place everything in a pot. Add an appropriate amount of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer until cooked through.
Medicinal Diet Description: This medicinal diet is suitable for both young and old. Long-term consumption can protect the liver, clear the heart, and calm the mind.
In addition to drinking plenty of water, eating congee regularly, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, you can also eat more foods that clear heat, strengthen the spleen, promote diuresis, benefit qi, and nourish yin, such as lotus seeds, lily bulbs, and coix seeds.
During the Great Heat, maturity is nurtured and all things grow wildly in the warmth, displaying the abundance, brilliance, and diversity of life. By following the natural cycles of the seasons and adapting to the changing temperatures, one can find peace and contentment. In the intense heat of summer, it can be refreshing to take some leisure time, invite a few good friends, and savor health-preserving delicacies.