Summer's Sweet Medicine
Chinese medicine teaches us that watermelon is by far one of the best and easiest ways to hydrate and cool off an overheated summer bod
SANDRA LANSHIN CHIU, LAc
Remember when we we could not wait for summer a few months back? Now it's here, complete with the oppressive heat and humidity that bypassed our selective memories. Though for some a 95 degree day is a blessing, for others an outright curse. If you are seeking sweet relief, seek watermelon - and lots of it.
Not all foods are written up in Chinese herbal medicine books - but watermelon is because it's sweet flesh and crisp rind deliver a medicinal strength ability to generate fluids and cool the body. In fact, it has the genius adaptogenic capability to deliver rapid hydration, while simultaneously releasing fluid swelling that heat and humidity often cause.
There's so much to love about summer, but when the heat swelters it can also create seasonal issues for the body: dehydration, heat rash, acne breakouts, irritability, swollen limbs, headaches, heat stroke. Watermelon can help relieve all of these symptoms by acting as a coolant to the overheated parts of your system. And by regenerating vital fluids internally - it further helps the body stay cool. The more intense the summer heat condition, the more you would need to eat.
To fully extract the heat relieving benefits of watermelon, be sure to eat not only its sweet colored flesh but also the edible part of the white rind. This is where much of the cooling function comes from. If you are suffering from heat rash, increased breakouts, inflammatory skin symptoms or edema due to summer heat - it is especially important to ingest the rind. Personally, I don't find the rind as enjoyable, so I like to throw it in a blender with the flesh of the melon to make a delicious thirst-quenching and calming beverage.
To remedy summer dehydration, I don't focus soley on drinking water. It's also important to eat enough high water content fruits like watermelon. Take a hint from nature, are we not overflowing right now with so many varieties of juicy peaches, melons, berries, grapes, citrus? Fruits deliver fluids to your system in a perfect nature-engineered package, complete with nutrients and minerals infused with the light energy of the sun. You may notice that eating a few slices of watermelon is more rapidly thirst quenching and satisfying than chugging a quart of water.
Watermelon can be especially relieving if you've had too much alcohol under heat and sun, or overdid it with exercise. Don't take heat exhaustion lightly or push yourself. In the dog days of summer, you win by relaxing, and treating yourself to nature's sweet medicine.