Gu Yu (谷雨) Solar Terms – Diet and General Wellness Guidelines

We are into the Gu Yu (谷雨) solar term (节气) starting from 19 Apr to 3 May 2024. Gu Yu is the 6th solar term out of the entire 24. Gu Yu is also the last solar term in this Spring season, after which we will be entering the summer season. 

The reason why this solar term is known as “谷雨” is – “雨生百谷”. This means that the growth of many types of grains are dependent on the rainfall during this period.

Hence, more rainfall is expected during this solar term, while the temperature continues to rise further.

Gu Yu solar term is one of the best times for tea drinking. According to “茶疏” (a Chinese classic record on tea), it says “清明太早, 立夏太迟”. This means that the previous solar term (Qing Ming) seems too early for tea drinking, and the next solar term (Li Xia) seems too late. Thus, Gu Yu is deemed as the best period for tea drinking.

During this period, you can consume more green tea as it can also help to quench thirst, improve alertness, reduce heatiness and brighten the eyes.

As for dietary recommendations, there are two main approaches depending on where you live.

If you live in the north where it is windier and there is lesser rainfall, you should focus on 清热润燥 (reduce heatiness and moisten dryness).

Some foods you can consume more of include white fungus, honey, mulberries and green tea.

If you live in the south or in tropical countries (where there is more rainfall), you should focus on 清热祛湿 (reduce heatiness and remove dampness).

Some foods you can consume more of are red bean, Chinese barley, winter melon and white radish.

General Wellness Recommendation

Similar to the previous solar term, our liver can easily go into an excessive state as spring aligns with the wood element (which is the same element as the liver). This can make a person easily frustrated and hot-tempered.

During this solar term, it will be good to spend more time in nature, such as going for a walk or hike in the park or forest. Do your best to go in the early morning or evening to avoid the strong sun exposure.

Doing some light exercises like brisk walking, jogging, taiji, qigong under the morning sun (ideally 7 to 8 am) will also help your body to strengthen its immunity and get rid of dampness (through sweating), especially during this solar term.

During this season, avoid consuming strong tonic foods (unless you have Yang deficiency) and try to eat more vegetables, especially spinach and celery to clear excessive liver heat.

EDIT: On 19 Apr 2024, it was noted that there was heavy rainfall in Dubai and Iran resulting in floods. This needs to be observed for another few years to see if this Gu Yu solar term is related to flash floods in certain countries.  

EDIT 2: On 22 Apr 2024, heavy rain descended upon the vast southern province of Guangdong in China.

EDIT 3: On the last day of Gu Yu 2024, Singapore triggered flash flood warnings across the island due to heavy rain.

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