Resolving Summer Heat: Yes you can really use herbs to help you handle this heat wave!
Think of the herbs as personal ‘air conditioning units’.
Resolving Summer Heat is an interesting concept that comes to us from Chinese medicine. It is not an idea that is well understood in the West. It personally took me years to really understand this concept. Even though I studied this idea in the late ‘80s; it wasn’t until the ‘90s when I started spending more time in the deep tropics I really got the body feeling of it. When I first visited the Amazon, I knew I was going into a ‘malaria hot zone,’ so I started taking a herb with the common name of Sweet Annie, also known in China as Qing Hao (Artemisia annua). It is well known and thoroughly tested to prevent malaria. One of its other uses is to ‘resolve summer heat’. Being a Canadian I am not use to, and don’t do well in extreme heat, but it didn’t take long to notice I could handle it better than I thought. In fact I was handling it better than colleagues from the Southern USA. I was impressed, so I shared some of my herbs with my colleagues and it didn’t take long before they saw the benefits also. This started me using a product we produce called Para-Tech when ever I went into the tropical, or even on lecture tours in summer hot zones. It has helped me and students greatly over the years. The usual dosage is two capsules twice daily, but I have often gone as high as 3 capsule, three times daily, in really hot times.
Even though the concept of ‘resolving summer heat’ might seem – well foreign to us – on a personal level we all have most likely used this idea. When it is hot outside, we might crave watermelon, for its cooling and soothing properties. Watermelon is well known to cool the body down. It does this both by of course its water content, but even more so if you eat the seeds and part of the white of the rind. The seeds and white rind of watermelon are diuretic, which literally pull some of the body heat out through the kidneys in the form of urine. Of course in hot weather a person should drink 2 – 3 litres of water daily. There is a saying for hiking in hot climates; you should drink enough water to make your urine clear. Dark yellow urine means you body is too hot.
Another beneficial food/herb to drink in hot weather is green tea. On the surface this might sound absurd. How can a hot liquid cool down the body? Well it can. It works a bit like refrigeration, where the hot liquid in the stomach, moves more blood to the surface (just under the skin) to cool itself down, this of course causes micro-sweating, which aids in cooling the body down. For many centuries green tea has been used in this way in the Orient. Black tea (also called red tea) is mostly drunk in the winter as it is know to heat up the body, oolong tea is the spring and fall as it moderated the body temperature, green tea in the summer as it cools the body and white tea in really hot times as it cools the body even more than green tea.
The best to cool the body though is the Sweet Annie as it has a more direct application. It also benefits the body by ridding it of parasites. This is why I get many of my patients to do parasite cleanses in the summer using Para – Tech.
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