Qing Ming (清明) Solar Terms – Diet and General Wellness Guidelines

We are into the Qing Ming (清明) solar term (节气) starting from 4 to 18 Apr 2024. Qing Ming is the 5th solar term out of the entire 24.

Most people are familiar with Qing Ming as it is also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day (扫墓) or Ancestors’ Day.

Qing Ming also signifies 上清下明, which means the skies (上) are clear, with little or no clouds and hence the sun shines brightly (明) onto the ground (下) during this solar term.

The Yang energy will continue to rise in our environment, resulting in an increase in temperature during this period.

While the temperature will be higher in this solar term, there is also a saying, “清明时节雨纷纷” – this means that there will also be more rainfall during the Qing Ming solar term in certain regions, depending on where you live.

With the rise in temperature coupled with some rainfall during this solar term, the dampness in our environment will start to accumulate, especially in tropical countries. This also means that dampness (湿气) will start to accumulate in most people’s bodies starting from this solar term.

Therefore, it is best to avoid consuming foods with hot thermal nature such as mutton, ginger, ginseng during this period (unless you have Yang deficiency body constitution).

We should consume more foods that can strengthen the spleen (because dampness affects the spleen), as well as foods that have the property of removing dampness, such as Chinese yam (shan yao), Chinese barley and lentils.

During this solar term, it is also recommended to consume foods that can help to relieve liver Qi stagnation and strengthen the spleen and lungs. The reason is because if the liver goes into an excessive state (which is common during the Qing Ming solar term), it can hurt our spleen and lungs. Some of the recommended foods/drinks you can consider are rose tea, tangerine peel, chrysanthemum and Chinese yam.

Here are some of the top foods to eat during this Qing Ming solar term:

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.

Chinese Barley (薏米仁) – Another highly recommended food to eat during this period is Chinese barley as it has very strong properties to help with clearing dampness, especially if you have water retention issues in the lower part of your body.

Chrysanthemum Tea (菊花) – You can also increase your consumption of chrysanthemum tea (especially the yellow color type instead of the white color type) as it can help to clear liver heat during this solar term. Do be careful not to boil the chrysanthemum for too long as it will lose its properties. You just need to boil it for less than 10 seconds, then let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

White Lentils (白扁豆) – White lentils have multiple properties that are beneficial to you during this solar term. It can help to strengthen your spleen, reduce heatiness and also get rid of dampness in your body. It is an ideal food to add to your grains or soup!

Spinach (菠菜) – Spinach is one of the few vegetables that can help to clear heatiness in the liver. Thus, people eat it to relieve liver-heat symptoms like headache, eye pain, giddiness and hot temper.

General Wellness Recommendation

Similarly 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.

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