Nourish your Heart this summer
According to the the foundation of TICM, summer is the season that correlates to the Heart organ system. This depicts the greater connection of ourselves to nature. The Heart is the King organ of the body, mind and spirit. On an energetic level, it controls both the mental and emotional function. Without a peaceful Heart, the body cannot function properly.
Though that may sound a bit extreme, allow me to explain why this is the case in TICM. Our Heart houses our Spirit (Shen in Chinese and Ruh in Arabic). Though Spirit does not have an exact translation, it is most comparable to the spirit and also encompasses the mind. Spirit includes our mental activity as well as our consciousness and is the hub of focus, intelligence, planning and our thoughts and ideas and how to work to manifest them. All emotions are considered a reflection of our Spirit.
Have you ever heard the saying "the eyes are the window to the soul"? TICM doctors use the eyes to determine the nature of one's Spirit and their vitality. If a patient has dull eyes that lack vibrance, we usually know that means their Shen is disturbed. Another way to check on the Heart is through the tongue. The tongue is the sense organ related to the Heart. When people talk incessantly, talk very quickly or laugh inappropriately, therein lies disharmony. Speech has always been the highest regard for many traditions around the world, as words are the truth of the Heart, showcasing the connection between Heart and mind. The tongue also denotes taste, so not being able to taste food very well can also indicate an imbalance.
We can strengthen the Heart by consciously speaking our mind, living our truth, showing care and compassion, connecting to nature and experiencing joy. Regular and moderate movement as well as a clean diet and a mindfulness practice always supports living well.
Many red foods benefit Heart function and come into season in the summer. Try watermelon, cherries, tomatoes, red apples, beets, radish, rhubarb, red lentils, longan fruit, red dates, chili, red beans, strawberries, saffron, beef.
Schisandra (Wu Wei Zi) and hawthorn (Shan Zha) are two particular red berries that nurture the entire body, specifically the Heart. Schisandra is an adaptogen that calms and anchors Spirit, promotes the mind and body connection and helps conditions like insomnia and forgetfulness. This berry is classified among the superior medicines, stated to “prolong the years of life without aging,” increase Qi (energy), treat fatigue, emaciation, weakness, act as a male sexual tonic, and treat asthma. Hawthorn targets the Blood and Qi (energy) while aiding in digestion.