A solar term is a period of about two weeks and is based on the sun’s position in the zodiac. Solar terms form the traditional Chinese calendar system. The calendar follows the ancient Chinese belief that living in accordance with nature will enable one to live a harmonious life. This article series explores each of the year’s 24 solar terms, offering guidance on how to best navigate the season.
Solar Term: ‘Clear and Bright’
2021 Dates: April 4 to 19
As this solar term’s moniker “Clear and Bright” suggests, the weather is often clear and bright during this time as we move into spring, but there is also plenty of rainfall to wash away the dust and dullness of winter.
After the rain inevitably comes rainbows. The ancient Chinese believed rainbows were the product of yin and yang energy meeting in balance, and that they couldn’t appear if the energy was purely yang or yin. The solar term Clear and Bright is when rainbows first start showing up in the sky. Not incidentally, it’s also a time of energy balance.
A perfect metaphor for the season, the rainbow with its brilliant arc represents balance, potential, and the promise of renewal when fresh sunshine appears.
As the yang energy rises in all living beings during this solar term, the qi energy also becomes clear and bright. This time presents boundless potential for our health if we harness it mindfully.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the spring season belongs to the wood element. This doesn’t refer to the material of wood, nor to trees. Rather, it is the idea of growing upward and of a vaporizing quality. It is the power of improving, and it provides a foundation for the rest of the seasons to come.
This is why spring is the best time to stimulate and encourage well-being. By doing the right things, we can follow the rhythm of nature and get the best results with minimum effort.
Living in Harmony With ‘Clear and Bright’
As the yang energy begins to rise and accumulate in one’s body, it travels from the inside to the outside of the body. If one eats overly greasy or heat-containing foods, such as hot spices, it may overload the body and cause congestion. The excess heat may also trigger allergic reactions, high blood pressure, or coughs.
During this time of year, people tend to have good appetites. But try not to overeat, and look to include more outdoor activities in your routine to help you lose any excess weight left over from winter. The sun is very mild and beneficial for health during this time of year, so get outside whenever possible. For elderly people, gentle exercise is best. Be careful not to overdo it.
Dragon Well Tea, or Lonjing Tea is 1 of the top 10 tea types in China; it is a type of green tea. The premium category among the Dragon Well Tea is called Yuqiancha, which means tea before the rain. The tender tea leaves were harvested right before the heavy rains as the rain boosted the speed of the growing and thin the delicate aromas of the tea.
A special tea ritual has been followed for a very long time, people blended newly produced Dragon Well Tea with old ones to drink around this solar term. It might be interesting to blend old and new, but more importantly, it is indeed a good idea to balance the aged and fresh flavors from different vintage as well as to get a nice mix of enzymes.
Beneficial foods include barley, carrot, cucumber, eggs, melon, potato, rice and most grains, spinach, sweet potato, goji berries & their leaves, and yam. They cleanse the blood and tone our livers. Slow-cooked oxtail with plenty of root vegetables is very light, yet replenishing. Avoid mushrooms, wheat, seafood, and plants that grow in water, such as watercress, as the nature of these foods is wet and can cause water retention in the body.
Avoid grilled and deep-fried foods. Slow cooking is best for this time. Avoid foods that are overly hot in temperature, or spicy.
Recommended herbs include rose, celery, coriander, wormwood, chamomile, marjoram, calendula, lavender, and rosemary.
Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She is also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand.