Summer is here! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is fire time. The color red signifies this season of heat. We can see it in the ripening berries, blossoming flowers, and flames on the grill.
Well-balanced rains and sunshine, along with the hard work of our farmers, have produced delicious strawberries. What to do with such bounty? I froze 8 quarts for smoothies the rest of the year and of course, strawberry rhubarb pie was in order.
Summer Fire Heat also correlates with the heart, pericardium, and small intestine. The heart is the “seat of the mind,” therefore its highest expression is love. In the heat of the summer, our emotional hearts can get out of balanced and cause rapid changes from feeling joyful to feeling depressed. Excess fire in the heart can cause agitation, nervous exhaustion, heartburn and insomnia.
When the fire element is balanced, the heart properly governs and circulates the blood and insures proper assimilation of the beginning breakdown of food in the small intestines. Emotionally, when the fire element is balanced, sensitivity and expression, true fulfillment and the equilibrium between heart and mind are our greatest rewards.
During the summer heat, I try to cool my body internally and externally. Swimming in rivers and lakes every day takes care of one of those. The other solution is herbal sun tea. I like to combine equal parts of fresh mint, lemon balm, bergamot (bee balm), and lemon verbena. I cover the leaves in room temperature water, add lemon or lime slices, then place the jar in the sun for a few hours. Add honey to taste if you wish. Cool in the fridge.
Monarda fistulosa, M. punctata, M. menthifolia, M. didyma
Also called Wild Bergamot, Sweet Leaf, Horsemint, Wild Oregano, Oswego tea
Plant family: Mint family (Lamiaceae)
Plant energetics: spicy, diffusive, stimulating
Parts used: Aerial portions, harvested preferably just before a full bloom emerges
Plant properties: anti-microbial, carminative, stimulating/relaxing diaphoretic, anti-spasmodic, emmenagogue, relaxing nervine
Plant preparations: Infused honey, infused vinegar, tincture, steam inhalation, infused oils and salve, culinary spice, cough syrup, douche
Used for: Colds and the flu symptoms (fevers, sore throats, coughs), UTIs, yeast infections, topical fungal infections, digestive woes, wounds, burns, as a culinary spice, toothaches, steam for congested sinuses, mouth wash, inflammation
“In my mind, Bee balm’s special talents lie in its infection resolving abilities as well as its mood lifting and somewhat euphoric effect upon the senses. It also has the benefit of having both stimulating and relaxing, warming and cooling attributes. It can create a distinct feeling of heat in the body, but also significantly cools inflammation of any kind.” Kiva Rose