Licensed Acupuncturist
Traditional Japanese & Chinese Medicine
Health & Wellness Educator
June 1, 2009

“The three months of summer denote prosperity and abundance.  Heaven and Earth exchange their influences.  The ten thousand things appear in all their splendor and ripeness.  One goes to bed and rises early.  One does not avoid the sun and guards the mind from vexation. One strives for consummate radiance…”

~ Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic Simple Questions) c. 200 b.c.


Summer is the time of the Fire element and its associated organs, the Heart (the Emperor) and Pericardium (Prime minister). The Yang of nature is now abundant providing a cornucopia of fresh, delicious food.

The Yang of our bodies is also more surface, while the Yin remains deep inside. Our gestures are larger, there is more laughter and celebration. This is a time to practice compassion and other deeds of the Heart which make us expansive.

Because the Yang is more surface, the Stomach and Spleen have less fire to aid in digestion. Meanwhile, the hot weather tempts us to eat cold foods and use fans and air conditioners to cool ourselves.

Cold foods (fruit, raw salads)are full of nutrition, enzymes and Qi, but must be balanced with warming herbs (e.g. sea salt, ginger, pepper) to protect the digestive Yang. In addition, healthy salad dressings are key to “pre-digesting” the vegetables. (See the article below for a delicious recipe.)

If using a fan, take care not to let the wind blow directly on your skin. Chances are you’ll wake up with a stiff neck or aches and pains that don’t bear explanation. Overly air conditioned offices are the primary cause of intense headaches and summer colds. As strange as it may seem, bring a scarf to work and protect the back of your neck.

Food as Medicine: Dress Your Greens

A good homemade salad dressing will provide you with essential enzymes, which allow for the proper breakdown and assimilation of nutrients in your salad.  Avoid store bought dressings as typically they contain hidden MSG, trans fats or oils which are already rancid by the time you use the dressing.   Finally, chew your salad thoroughly and enjoy the flavors!

Basic Dressing
(Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon)

  • 1 tsp Dijon-type mustard
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp raw wine vinegar (or fresh squeezed lemon juice)
  • ½ C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp expeller pressed flax oil

Mix with a fork and immediately dress the salad generously. Let it sit a few minutes. Ideally, your greens and vegetables are not cold from the fridge, but are more room temperature. You can add herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme, basil, oregano, garlic) for variations in flavor.

Wishing you a wonderful, healthy Summer!


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1235 SE Division Street, Suite 115
Portland, Oregon 97202

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