Mang Zhong (芒种) Solar Terms – Diet and General Wellness Guidelines

We will be going into the Mang Zhong (芒种) solar term (节气) starting from 5 to 20 Jun 2024. Mang Zhong is the 9th solar term out of the entire 24.

This solar term can also mean ‘忙’种, which means busy farming. This will be one of the farmers’ busiest periods, hence, the name of this solar term.

Similar to the previous solar term, we will experience rainfall with high temperatures (in between) during these two weeks. This combination will result in a very humid environment.

As the environment is humid, it is very easy for the body to accumulate dampness (湿邪). The spleen will be the first organ to be affected by this dampness. Excessive dampness in the body will lead to poor appetite, chest tightness, loose stools, low energy and/or feeling frustrated easily.

The dietary direction for this solar term is to adopt a light diet with easily digestible foods. Do your best not to eat too full and avoid fatty, flavorful and spicy foods so as not to add more burden to your spleen during this period of time.

This solar term also coincides with the Dumpling Festival (端午节), which falls on 10 Jun 2024 this year.

During this period, you can also consume some dumplings (粽子) if possible as glutinous rice has the property of strengthening the spleen, while the leaf (荷叶) that is wrapped around the dumpling has the properties of reducing heatiness and clearing dampness in the body.

The following are some recommended foods that you can consume during this solar term:

Glutinous rice (糯米) – Glutinous rice can help to strengthen the spleen and relieve excessive sweating. It is no coincidence that in this solar term (Dumpling Festival), the tradition is to eat dumplings (粽子) that are made of glutinous rice. Just make sure not to eat too many dumplings as too much glutinous rice will cause indigestion. Remember to eat all foods in moderation.

Mung Beans (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.

Winter Melon (冬瓜) – Winter melon is a good food to eat during this period because it helps to remove the dampness in the body through urination. It can also reduce body heatiness due to the summer heat.

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.

Chinese Yam (山药) –  Chinese yam is very suitable to be consumed during this period because it can help to strengthen the spleen and improve its ability to get rid of accumulated dampness in our body.

General Wellness Recommendation

During this period, 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 when 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 go into the heart fire (心火) state easily. Try to go for light exercises 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.

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