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: White Dew
2022 Dates: Sept. 7 to 22
“White Dew” is the 15th solar term and typically marks the single largest daily temperature changes. It begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 165 degrees and ends when it reaches the longitude of 180 degrees. Although it’s already the third solar term in the autumn, the heat within earth still remains strong while yin energy is taking over.
The result is a dramatic drop in temperature between day and night.
During this solar term, dew can be seen in the early morning on the plants, and birds begin to adapt for the season. Wild geese and swallows begin to migrate southward, while other birds build their hoards in preparation for winter.
For crops that can be grown in both spring and autumn, such as rice, it’s their time to yield. If it rains, the crops may be damaged and unable to ripen or be properly harvested. The name of this solar term describes air vapors that have condensed into white dew overnight. It’s the ideal amount of water for crops during this solar term.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, our lungs and skin correspond to each other, as the lungs and our pores both release air and moisture. Because of this, they’re both sensitive to the temperature changes that mark this solar term. And the results are similar. We tend to have irritated skin or respiratory systems due to the frequent and significant changes in temperatures during White Dew.
The lungs are called “tender organs” in traditional Chinese medicine because they’re fragile and dislike when the weather is either too hot or too cold. The lungs are closely linked with our immune system, thus, taking good care of them and the respiratory system is particularly important in the pandemic season.
Living in Harmony With White Dew
- Protect your neck, nose, and mouth by covering them in the early morning and later in the afternoon.
- Gentle exercise is recommended over heavy weight-bearing or vigorous movements, especially for the elderly.
- Go to bed early and get up early. As the ancients said, get up as early as roosters to activate the yang energy and qi.
- Press firmly into the acupressure point “Qu-Chi” (“pool at the bend,” large intestine No. 11, or LI 11). It’s located at the end of the joint line when we bend our elbows to our upper arms. It helps those with skin problems, such as dry or sensitive skin, pigmentation, acne, and so on.
- Press firmly into the acupressure point “Tan-Zhong,” which is in the center of the chest, between the nipples. It can help with congested lungs, coughing, or shortness of breath. You can also use a hair dryer to warm the point gently.
- Consider getting moxibustion treatments, as the heat can repel the chill hidden in our bodies and provide an energetic start for the coming spring.
- Drink a cup of warm water every morning, and a mouthful amount of warm water or milk before going to bed. This is surprisingly effective.
- Deep cleanse by inhaling warm steam, with or without essential oils, which helps to loosen and dilute congestion inside our respiratory system and can help to rinse our cells and tissues.
- Burn essential oils near the front door of the house to purify the air we bring in from outdoors. This can also help to calm and balance our senses each time we go in or out.
Seasonal Foods and Scents
Foods to Eat: Cauliflower, chicken, goose, golden gooseberry, walnut, yogurt, onion, ginkgo berry, potato, pear, tofu, pumpkin, corn, mushroom, coconut, cereal, rice soup, and eggs. Avoid deep-fried foods, pickles, shellfish, and chiles.
Essential Oils to Use: Chamomile, niaouli, eucalyptus, cypress, pine, jasmine, frankincense, peppermint, neroli, and rosalina.