Today, July 7th 2017, when the sun reached the longitude of 105° at 5:52 am, the 11th season Xiao Shu 小暑 (Lesser Heat) of the Chinese calendar has started.
Although Yin Qi will more and more start to prevail on Yang energy, the weather changes will only occur gradually. Three periods of heat (called “Fu") will now first succeed. ‘Lesser Heat’ means that it will start to get more and more hot, but the hottest time of the year is yet to come. Do you know that, during this season, many chinese families usually hang out their clothes outdoors, in order to let them dry in the Sun and prevent mold ?
What will change in the nature? The wind blows hot (so expect thunderstorms and lightnings, sometimes even hail), the fireflies will start coming out more and more, lotus flowers are going to be very abundant and young eagles will begin to learn how to fly and hunt. Concerning local delicacies : fans of Chinese dumplings will be able to enjoy choosing the Jiaozi (typical dim sum of northern China). You don’t like dim sums? Well, get started on melons of all kinds: it seems to be the best season now to appreciate all their flavors.
From the health point of view, Yang Qi is at its peak in the human body. Therefore, try to maintain a good balance between your professional and personal life and eat foods that can reduce this heat. If you happen to be in China currently, you could order this typical Chinese porridge, with cooked black beans or lotus leaves. Remember to ‘support’ the heart by remaining optimistic, at the risk of causing stagnation in the liver if you constantly grind a sad face (and this stagnation could, in turn, be transformed into heat which will annoy the heart).
During this season, we also have to evacuate as much moisture as possible. It is therefore advisable not to sit on wood in this summer season, because it can retain moisture after a rain and cause rheumatism and arthritis. Also: avoid to drink cold beverages or eat cold food; prefer your water at room temperature than ‘cold from the fridge’. Over-consumption of cold foods, and particularly those which are also very sweet, damages the spleen resulting in an accumulation of even more moisture. Prefer slightly bitter drinks that reduce the body temperature, without creating a heat shock or humidity stagnation. So opt for natural green tea, or mixed with mint or chrysanthemum.
Speaking about tea… I’ll go for now and prepare myself some nice Long Jing 龍井 (Well of the Dragon) cha 😉
Picture credits for Xiao Shu : Image taken from a traditional Tong Shu, published in Malaysia, 2012