There is a heat wave sweeping much of the world right now. Below I've gathered a few of my favorite Chinese medicinal herbs and foods that expel heat to cool the body from within. But first, let's cover an important tenet of traditional Chinese medicine regarding the temperature of foods and liquids you should consume in the summer.
Stay hydrated - but avoid iced drinks!
Interestingly, according to Chinese medicine, cold foods and drinks don't actually help cool the body down, but instead dampen your digestive system and stomach, which may lead to sluggish digestion, bloating and fatigue. So instead of iced drinks, opt for room temperature or even warm drinks. It sounds counterintuitive, but ingesting warm beverages can actually help to cool your body temporarily. The warm liquid activates heat receptors in the digestive tract, triggering an increase in sweating and sweat evaporation, which helps to cool the body.
Hibiscus (mei gui qie) clears heat, lowers blood pressure and is rich in antioxidants. Make some hibiscus tea or try our BeautyBlend over room temperature sparkling water. Beauty Blend contains Hibiscus flower, acai berry, rose petal, goji berry and schisandra berry, along with herbs to balance hormones and promote glowing complexion.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, all parts of the watermelon (xi gua), including the
rind, fruit, seeds are used to clear heat in various ways. The fruit contains over 90% water and contains essential rehydration salts like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. It is also rich in vitamin C, beta carotene and lycopene, which offer protection from UV light. Try juicing watermelon with mint, or make a gazpacho.
In traditional Chinese medicine, mint (bo he) has powerful cooling properties. Try mint tea or add mint to your salad. Add watermelon to the salad for an extra cooling boost!
Chrysanthemum flower tea
Chrysanthemum (ju hua) has cooling properties and clears heat from the head and chest. It also benefits the eyes and skin. I like to boil chrysanthemum flowers in a small amount of water to extract the healing properties and then add it to coconut water to replenish electrolytes.