Essence of Summer: Food’s Healing Messages

Chinese medicine divides foods and herbs into five essences: Warm, Hot, Cool, Cold, and Neutral. Over several millennia, masters perfected the art of using essence to help prevent illness and disease and to heal a range of conditions. Ginger and cinnamon are two examples of the characteristics of essence. Each contains a Warm essence. No matter how you incorporate them into other foods or change their physical composition—even when they are turned into ice cream—they will always carry a Warm essence.

The body loves warmth. For a healthy and smooth-flowing digestive system, it’s important to feed the body warming foods—even in summer! Many people reach for a crisp salad or raw vegetables on a hot summer day. But the essence of these foods is Cold. If the Spleen-Stomach receive too many cold things, they will start to complain. At first, you will experience certain signs like bloating, burping, or a white coat on your tongue. That’s just their first round of messages. They will send more!

By roasting or sauteing your vegetables or blanching your salad, you’ll remove the Cold energy from your food and gain Qi for healing. Instead of using Stomach Qi to warm up raw, cold vegetables, you will have more Qi reserved for healing. If you want to use food as a healing medicine, this is an important concept to remember: The Qi and healing messages you gain from foods are more effective than their nutritional or physical components.

Healing Foods for Summer

Summer is the season associated with the Heart—the king of all organs. The goal of the Heart is to drop the mind and become peaceful so that you may fully connect with your Spirit.

Here are some foods to support your Heart function:

Broccoli rabe

Bitter melon


Plum tomatoes









Get Creative!

What recipes can you create with the foods on this list?

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Heart Harmony: Jun 23 – Jun 30

Journey into Heart Harmony with Master Nan Lu as he guides you into the realm of natural healing and inner peace. Learn more!