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cooling foods

How to Clear Summer Heat With Cooling Foods

recipes tcm

Heat (usually occurring just in the summertime) and “fire toxin” (can occur any time of the year) are 2 of the “Evil Qi” in Chinese medicine.  

Heat signs may include: 

  • feeling hot, sometimes with a fever, but not always
  • red tongue with a yellow coating (or red pinprick spots on the tongue)
  • sweating and loss of body fluids
  • yellow urine
  • irritability or restlessness
  • fainting
  • red rashes 

 Fire symptoms are similar to but generally more intense than heat signs.  The symptoms depend on which organ system is impacted from the fire.

Fire toxin may include:

  • loud, forceful cough, possibly with bleeding
  • high fever, thirst, and sweating
  • red, painful rash or boils; mouth ulcers
  • burning ulcer, heartburn
  • toothache or infection
  • severe anxiety or restlessness; mania
  • shingles or burning pain from herpes
  • dysentery
  • coma or stroke
  • sudden and unexpected bleeding of the nose, uterus, bladder, lungs, or intestines
  • bright red tongue (crimson) with a yellow, dry, or no coating

Some foods and herbs can help reduce the signs of heat and fire in your body.  

  • Fruits – Apples, Cantaloupe, Citrus, Pears, Tomato, Watermelon
  • Herbs – Chrysanthemum, Cilantro, Dandelion, Lemon Balm, Peppermint
  • Tofu and Tempeh
  • Vegetables – Asparagus, Broccoli, Bok Choy, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce, Mung Beans, Radish, Seaweed, Squash, Sweet Corn (not dried), Zucchini

It’s no coincidence these are mostly summertime foods!  

Here’s my favorite summertime, cooling salad recipe:


Ingredients:  1 cucumber (peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices); 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped herbs (cilantro, parsley, mint, or green onion), olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper

Put cucumber slices, tomato, and herbs into a bowl.  Add in 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Optional:  add in a few chunks of goat cheese.  🙂 

Enjoy as a side dish!  

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