“What is the cause?” According to Chinese pathology there are three principal causes of disharmony that brings about diseases: external factors, emotions and irregularities in day-to-day living. Of the main five organs (Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung and Kidney) which one(s) is causing the illness and what is causing the organ(s) to become imbalanced? Each organ has a Yin and Yang element within, and it is the imbalance between them that leads to disease. Through diagnosis the Herbalist hopes to balance the patients system by first cleansing it, then soothing it and finally by building up the patients system and entire condition. However, without the patient’s cooperation in maintaining a proper diet and lifestyle the herbalist and patient will be running a circle.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer belongs to fire, one of the five elements. The fire dries, and is associated ailments include fever, inflammation, constipation and frequent urination. On the emotions, this often causes irritability, lack of concentration and manic behavior. In children it can sometimes result in hyperactivity. More commonly, summer heat causes heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration.
To prevent summer illness, you need self-discipline. The self-discipline to drink plenty of clean filtered water with slices of lemon and cucumber throughout the day. The self- discipline to eat light and less greasy diet. Introduce some cool Yin foods into your diet such as watercress, cucumber, and lettuce. Avoid outdoor activities in peak heat from 2pm-4:30 pm around the Pacific Northwest. Rest in midday, take a nap. Last and most important refrain from anger, keep calm and even tempered.
I go for the good, then I celebrate and quickly I fall back to old habits, because it’s a trick of the mind with self-discipline. This season, I encourage you to challenge yourself with these suggestions and see how it changes you!
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