With the raging heat at the moment people are asking for a quick and easy Chinese recipe to clear internal heat. As a professional Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner I adopt a holistic approach to healthcare that has been handed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. In TCM treatment we use acupuncture, herbal medicine, lifestyle changes and diet to restore balance and harmony within the body.
The Causes and Symptoms of Internal Heat in TCM
When the Yin and Yang forces are out of balance in the body, internal heat builds up. Some of the symptoms include red eyes, inflammation, thirst, insomnia, irritability, a red face, skin rashes and a rapid pulse. These symptoms are exacerbated by the heat of summer.
People often talk about those who ‘run hot’ when others are covering up with jumpers and beanies in cooler weather. An excess of Yang energy is associated with movement, activity and heat causing these people to suffer in summer. They often envy the person with an excess of Yin energy who always seems cool and unflustered. There is a negative side to an excess of Yin energy too. Although they may not feel the heat they often forget to keep hydrated as they don’t feel thirsty, they may suffer from swollen feet, need to urinate frequently, and often have a slow pulse.
An excess of Yang energy or internal heat can disrupt the normal functioning of various systems within the body, affecting internal organs such as the liver, heart and stomach. Qi (energy) flows throughout the body and if the liver if affected by internal heat, the result is an irritable, angry person who often suffers from headaches. If the heart is affected by internal heat the person may experience restlessness, insomnia and even palpitations. Constipation, thirst, and acid reflux are common when internal heat disrupts the normal functioning of the stomach.
The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Managing Internal Heat in TCM
In TCM, it is important to avoid foods that generate heat within the body. This includes spicy foods, greasy foods, fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, and excessive amounts of meat. Instead, it is recommended to consume cooling foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and herbal teas.
In addition to dietary changes, lifestyle modifications can also be beneficial in managing Internal Heat. It is important to engage in regular exercise to promote the smooth flow of Qi and blood within the body. Stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, and acupuncture can also help.
Internal Heat and Women’s Health: Menopause and Other Conditions
Internal Heat can have a significant impact on women’s health, particularly during menopause, a natural transition associated with hormonal changes and the cessation of menstruation. During this transition period, women may experience hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, and insomnia. Internal Heat exacerbates these symptoms, making the transition more challenging and can also have an effect on menstrual irregularities, PMS, and fertility issues. These conditions can be managed more effectively once balance is restored.
It is important to work with a qualified TCM practitioner to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and promotes balance and harmony within the body.
Here’s a quick and easy Chinese summer recipe for Mung Bean Tea that I would like to share, as making dietary changes is crucial to managing internal heat. Chinese people use Mung Bean Tea to lower internal body heat and assist in preventing heat stroke during hot summer weather. The taste is somewhat earthy, slightly sweet and nutty. If you like you can add a little honey for extra sweetness.
Scientific research has found that mung beans possess anti-inflammatory properties and were even effective against the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) that causes cold sores due to their antiviral properties. This cooling drink can help with summer rashes by reducing internal heat.
It is not advised for those with an excess of Yin energy who suffer from cold feet and hands. to use this tea. Always consult your professionally qualified TCM practitioner before making dietary changes.
Mung Bean Tea
(aka Mung Bean Water, or Mung Bean Soup)
- 2 handfuls of green mung beans
- 7 cups of water
- Place a saucepan on the stove top, add the water and the mung beans, then bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the beans and allow the liquid to cool, before refrigerating.
- Drink a glass or cup of the mung bean water, which resembles a thin soup, whenever you feel you need to cool off. Two to three cups a day are usually taken.
- The best part is that the mung beans themselves are not wasted – you can eat those too if they are soft enough, with a meal – just remember no greasy or spicy food if you want to cool your body.