Li Xia (立夏) Solar Terms – Diet and General Wellness Guidelines

We will be going into the Li Xia (立夏) solar term (节气) starting from 5 to 19 May 2024. Li Xia is the 7th solar term out of the entire 24 and it is also the first solar term of the summer season.

During Li Xia, the Yang energy in our environment will further increase, which means temperatures will continue to be on the rise. It will also be accompanied with rain at times (especially if you are living in tropical countries). 

During this period, the warmth and dampness in our environment will cause some people to have a poorer appetite (as dampness will affect our spleen).

If you find that your appetite is affected, you can try to eat some 茶叶蛋 (tea eggs) or dried tangerine peel. Dried tangerine peel can help to improve appetite and regulate stomach Qi at the same time.

The dietary direction in this solar term is to 养心安神 (calm our minds). The reason is that the heart (in TCM, it also represents the mind) will accumulate fire (心火) easily during this period (as summer aligns with the organ – heart). 

When a person has heart fire (心火), the following symptoms will occur (not all at the same time):

  • Insomnia
  • Irregular/heavy heartbeat
  • Giddiness
  • Ulcers on the tongue (especially near the tip)
  • Feeling frustrated

The following are some recommended foods to consume during this period to calm the mind and reduce heart fire (心火):

Lily Bulb (Chinese name: 百合) – Lily bulb is one of the best foods to reduce heart fire as its main property is nourishing heart Yin energy. When the heart’s Yin energy is sufficient, the heart is less likely to be in a heaty state. You can purchase dried lily bulb at most TCM retail shops or fresh ones at the supermarket.

Bitter Gourd (Chinese name: 苦瓜) – Bitter gourd is one of the ideal vegetables to be eaten during this period as it helps in clearing body heatiness and it also has the property of brightening the eyes.  

Mung Beans (Chinese name: 绿豆) – Also known as green beans. You can easily prepare a mung bean drink in 5 minutes, which helps to clear summer heat in the body. It also has the property of quenching thirst, detoxing and reducing dampness. This makes it an ideal drink during this period.

Lotus Seeds (Chinese name: 莲子) – Lotus seed is good for calming the mind. Heart fire can disrupt the mind and affect sleep quality. Lotus seed is a natural remedy to counter this, which is similar to the next food, Fu Ling.

Fu Ling (Chinese name: 茯苓) – Fu ling is excellent for strengthening the spleen and improving sleeping quality. During this summer period, the spleen can be easily affected and thus, Fu Ling will be a good addition to your diet in the upcoming months.

General Wellness Recommendation

In the next 2 to 3 months, the heart can easily accumulate fire (心火), resulting in insomnia, dizziness, feeling frustrated, and/or irregular/heavy heartbeat.

The main lifestyle recommendation is to reduce the heart fire or prevent it from going into an excessive state.

Meditating is an effective way to reduce heart fire. Do consider meditating before sleep. It can help to reduce the heart fire and calm the mind.

For best results, you can enjoy a book after meditation (instead of using mobile devices) and go to bed once you start to feel sleepy.

Another important thing to note during this period is to avoid doing strenuous exercises.

The reason is that such exercises will make you sweat a lot and in TCM, there is a saying “汗为心之液” – which means the sweat is actually fluid from the heart. This also means that excessive sweating will deplete the heart’s Yin energy and thus, making one’s heart easily go into the heart fire (心火) state. Try to go for light exercise so you won’t sweat so much.

If you have been sweating a lot during this period, make sure you add some lily bulbs (dried or fresh) to your diet as lily bulbs can help to replenish your heart Yin energy.

Another simple way to replenish heart Yin energy is to drink more water. But if you’re unable to do so for practical reasons (especially during work), then consuming lily bulb will be a better way.

Hope this information helps!

Do take care of yourself and the people around you during this Li Xia solar term!

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