Summer Vacation Is Almost Here, and It’s Time for Fresh Garden Herbs

Exploring Solar Terms: ‘Minor Heat’ (July 7 to July 21)

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: ‘Minor Heat’

2021 Dates: July 7 to July 21

Summer is already well underway, and this means that you should savor the remaining cooler evenings and mornings, because they won’t last. After “Minor Heat” passes, even a breeze will feel hot.

As the weather is often very hot and humid during this solar term, most people will take time off from work for a vacation to rest and recuperate.

There are five seasons and five elements recognized in Chinese traditional medicine, and each season has a corresponding element. Spring is associated with wood, summer with fire, late summer with earth, autumn with metal, and winter with water.

Among the five elements, wood generates fire, fire generates earth, earth generates metal, metal generates water, and water generates wood.

Thus the transitions between most of the seasons, such as from spring to wood and from summer to fire, are smooth and natural. But the transition from summer’s fire to autumn’s metal is unnatural, as fire conquers metal by melting it and forging it.

This unnatural transition is an opportunity. Just as the proper application of fire can purify metal and make it stronger, if we care for our health and follow the correct habits through these hot days, then our bodies can stay healthy well into winter.

Sweat comes easily, and the skin’s pores are open at this time, so sweat stays on the surface of our skin, and some people may get cold very easily. The young and the elderly should be careful to stay hydrated and avoid the heat when possible.

Gion Festival is one of the largest festivals in Japan, and it takes place every July, usually between July 17 and July 24. But in recent years, there were events across the whole month of July. The main idea behind the festival is for the purification and the pacification of epidemic diseases or plagues. Some private gardens or houses, especially near the garment business district, may be opened to the public during the festival. It’s a great opportunity to have a look at these beautiful settings and enjoy classical Japanese culture.

The largest amount of rainfall among 24 solar terms is during Minor Heat. It isn’t so comfortable because the weather is both hot and humid.

8 Ways to Live in Harmony With ‘Minor Heat’

  1. Use fresh herbs in the diet, such as salad, slow-cooked meat and vegetables, or tea. Fresh garden herbs such as peppermint, rosemary, cilantro, basil, perilla, chives, etc., are all good to improve digestion, clean your blood, and keep your energy balanced.
  2. Drink natural spring water regularly, but not too much at one time.
  3. Don’t eat very cold or chilled foods, as these reduce the yang energy that the body needs to get through the coming autumn and winter.
  4. Regulate the amount of food you consume. Too much or too little can burden the body.
  5. Coffee, a diuretic, can help to flush out heat and excess water retention.
  6. A foot massage or meditation can help to adjust and rebalance the body.
  7. For those who often have cold hands in the winter, add some organic ginger to your tea, or enjoy ginger with your food.
  8. Don’t avoid sweating, and especially don’t keep yourself inside air-conditioned rooms all the time. Sweating will cleanse your body and pores, and reduce heat from inside-out naturally. Too strong or too sudden of a temperature change closes your pores and seals all the humidity and heat inside your organs and channels. That’s one of the major reasons for disease according to traditional Chinese medicine.

Seasonal Foods

At this time, beneficial foods include cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, rockmelon, honey melon, dew melon, bitter melon, winter melon, plum, cherry, green bean, Job’s tears, green tea, peppermint, lotus seed, white fish, tofu, honeysuckle, and chamomile tea.

Epoch Times contributor Moreen Liao is a descendant of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors. She’s also a certified aromatherapist, former dean of the New Directions Institute of Natural Therapies in Sydney, Australia, and the founder of Ausganica, a certified organic cosmetic brand. Visit

Moreen Liao
R.Ph. of TCM (Taiwan)
Moreen was born into a family with a lineage of four generations of traditional Chinese medicine doctors and professors. She was Dean of the Natural Therapies Institute in Sydney, Australia. Drawing on her family heritage, she created a certified organic wellness brand, and co-founded the largest Chinese medical image encyclopedia online.
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