In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the use of different herbs during different months is closely tied to the principles of Yin and Yang and the concept of the Five Elements. TCM recognises that the human body is intricately connected to the natural environment, and its balance is influenced by the changes that occur throughout the seasons.
Here's why different Chinese herbs are used in different months in TCM.
The Five Elements
TCM incorporates the Five Elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) to understand the relationships between different phenomena, including seasons, organs, emotions, and herbs. Each element corresponds to specific seasons, and herbs associated with a particular element are often used during that element's season. For example, during late summer, the Wood element represents growth, expansion, and the energetic qualities of the liver and gallbladder.
Yin and Yang Balance
Yin and Yang Balance: Yin and Yang are fundamental concepts in TCM, representing opposite but complementary forces that interact to maintain balance in the body. Yin represents coolness, darkness, and rest, while Yang represents warmth, light, and activity. During different months, the balance between Yin and Yang in the environment shifts, and certain herbs are used to help adjust the body's internal balance accordingly. Natural supplements are a great way to preserve this balance.
Climate and Health Concerns
Different seasons bring about specific climate patterns and associated health concerns. For example, in summer, there may be excess heat and dampness, leading to conditions like heatstroke, skin rashes, and digestive issues. Herbs used during this time often have cooling properties to clear heat and dampness from the body.
In TCM, food is considered medicine, and seasonal foods are recommended to support health and balance during each season. Some herbs used in TCM are closely related to the foods that are naturally available during specific months. For example, watermelon is commonly consumed in summer to late summer, and Watermelon Peel, a herbal remedy derived from watermelon, is used to clear heat.
Historically, the availability of herbs was influenced by agricultural practices and the growth patterns of various plants. Certain herbs were harvested and used during specific seasons when they were most abundant and potent.
6 Culinary herbs to use in August
Known for its cooling properties, chrysanthemum is often used to clear heat, calm the mind, and improve vision.
Peppermint is a cooling Chinese herb in TCM used during August for heat-clearing properties and aiding digestion. It resolves Qi stagnation, promotes comfort, and has a soothing aroma for emotional well-being.
Dried watermelon peel is used for its cooling and detoxifying properties. It clears heat, reduces excess dampness, and soothes summer heat-related issues like thirst and heat rash. As a diuretic, it supports toxin elimination and reduces swelling.
5. Job's Tears
Job's Tears, also know as coix seeds are believed to have diuretic properties and can be used to clear heat and reduce edema.
Bamboo leaf tea is considered cooling and can be used to reduce heat and thirst.
Overall, TCM's approach to using different herbs in different months is based on the idea of harmonising the body with its natural environment. By aligning with the changing seasons and utilising the properties of specific herbs, TCM aims to prevent imbalances, support overall well-being, and promote health throughout the year. It's important to note that TCM is a holistic system, and individualised treatment is emphasised, taking into account a person's unique constitution, symptoms, and health conditions. Always consult with a TCM practitioner.
To shop our full collection, hit the link.