Summer – the Perfect Time to Cure Winter Illnesses

July 1, 2019 Trisha Han HighlightsOriental Herbal MedicineWellness & Prevention

In Chinese Medicine, summer is the time to cleanse your body of all the illnesses you’ve accumulated during the long winter months. Chinese medicine expert Sun Si Miao once said: “Great doctors prevent illnesses that may happen in the future; Good doctors prevent the inevitable illnesses of the near future; Regular doctors treat illnesses that are happening or have already happened.”  It is true that good doctors prevent the illnesses of the future, but there are so many possibilities of future illnesses—Chinese medicine doctors, on the other hand, pinpoint exactly which illnesses you are most likely to develop in the future, and work on those instead.  By recognizing the signs and symptoms that the body gives off, one is able to identify the origins of sickness and chase it away before the illness becomes severe or untreatable.  This is done by modifying the body’s conditions so that it isn’t the ideal environment for breeding sickness.  As a result, the body’s problems can be healed without the use of medicine.

“Winter illnesses” refers to illnesses that easily occur in the wintertime, which are not necessarily ones that have already occurred.  The reason we can say that these “winter illnesses” are most likely to occur is because most people have, in the winter, what Chinese medicine describes as “Lack of Fire Energy”, or lack of internal bodily heat.  The most common signs of this are cold feet and hands, an aversion to the cold, and always feeling fatigued or sleepy.  This means that your body doesn’t have enough heat energy in it; when the body can’t produce enough heat energy, then the coldness is naturally born from within. People who have this problem are constantly cold, even in the summertime, and pile on blankets and wear socks to go to bed.

Why do winter illnesses need to be cured in the summertime then? It’s because people who have winter illnesses, more often than not, have body constitution that tend to be weak to the cold. And depending on where you live, winter may be a bitter and long season, and the outside world is frozen for quite a while; therefore, treating winter illnesses in the wintertime is like hanging your clothes to dry outside on a rainy day—the sickness won’t really go away, because of the nature of the season.  On the contrary, in the summertime when the outside environment is warm, the body will be full of internal heat as well.  Because of this, the cold can easily be dispelled during this time.

It’s important to remember that the coldness from winter deposits itself in the body in layers, and wherever the coldness subsides, there is poor blood circulation. This is why, when the weather is especially cold or damp, people tend to feel pain in their joints, or their arthritis may act up. Likewise, if the coldness subsides in the organs, swelling is likely to develop; if it subsides in the meridians, then there will be poor blood circulation to many parts of the body, especially the feet and hands, causing not only cold feet and hands, but sometimes a numb feeling as well.

The key to dispelling this coldness from the body is to kindle the body’s inner “fire”, or heat energy.  In order to develop one’s inner heat, one must eat foods which Chinese medicine deems as having a “warm nature”.  Some people might think, “Eating warm foods in the summer heat will make me uncomfortable and sick.”  This is true, but eating foods with “warm nature” doesn’t necessarily mean eating foods that are warm.  For example, a common remedy to coldness in the body is a tea made of brown sugar and ginger.  Both of these ingredients are warm-natured, but in the summer you would not drink it as a hot tea, but rather cool it.  However, the tea still retains its warm nature, though it may taste cool, and has the same effects on the body as it would if drank warm.

People who don’t sweat easily—or those that, after sweating are vulnerable to cold—can use “Yu Bing Feng San” granules, dissolved in hot water to make a bottle of liquid, then cooled.  It’s recommended to drink a bottle of this daily, because the beverage has the ability to stop excessive sweating, promote sweating if a person doesn’t sweat easily, and also prevents one from being vulnerable to coldness from the wind.  There are so many uses for this beverage, it’s really like killing three birds with one stone rather than two—there’s no harm in trying it.

Because people are especially fond of eating cold foods and drinking cold beverages during the summertime, the digestive system organs accumulate a lot of coldness.  At this time, the body is easily susceptible to colds, especially ones that are accompanied by high fevers but no sweating.  Sweating is necessary when you have a cold, because the virus is flushed away through the skin pores.  If there is no sign of sweating, the person can take Huo Xiang Zheng Qi teapills.  However, if these are symptoms of a heat stroke, this medicine is not effective, so make sure it really is a cold before using this medicine.

If you feel that your stomach is always cold, and even in the summertime you feel the need to eat hot foods in order to warm your body and stomach, you should take “Fu Zi Li Zhong” teapills.  This medicine also is effective for people who are afraid of wind and the cold in general.  It is also quite beneficial to use moxa on Zhong Guan, Guan Yuan, and Zu San Li.  A lot of people dislike the smell and smoke of moxa—it’s not bad for your health, but you don’t have to use it.  There are many other solutions, so it’s best to find one that you feel comfortable with and enjoy using.

If you feel coldness on your back, use the Gwa Sha method on your back. It’s best if you soak your feet in hot water while doing this.  Afterwards, drink a bowl of hot ginger and red date tea, or pepper and Daikon radish soup.  These ingredients can be commonly found in oriental supermarkets.

Another effective method is making yourself sneeze, which has been described in a previous blog.  This is one of the best ways of alleviating cold symptoms and dispelling inner cold from the body.

Many people say that they are easily cold, but when taking warm-natured medicines their bodies collect too much inner heat, the symptoms including swelling of gums and teeth and blisters on the face, and then they must take cold-natured medicine, and the cycle starts all over again.  Why does this happen? It’s because your body’s has excessive cold on the surface, and when you take warm-natured medicine, the body is like ice wrapped around fire—the outer cold is not dispelled, and you are left with excessive heat on the inside.  The solution to this is using the Gwa Sha or cupping method on the back in order to “break the ice”, then taking warm-natured medicines or foods to dispel the coldness.

Of course, this blog is only to advise and inform you about all the solutions available—it’s up to you and your doctor to decide which, if any, to use, and which ones are most suitable to your lifestyle and body type.  There isn’t a perfect solution to anything, only ones that best suit your condition.



coldcold feetface blistersfatigueRunning noseswollen gumwellness

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