Summertime brings a mix of heat and humidity, which can be uncomfortable and even detrimental to health. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a range of herbal remedies and culinary practices designed to combat the effects of summer dampness and heat, promoting balance and well-being.

In TCM, the concepts of dampness and heat are pivotal. Dampness refers to an excess of moisture in the body, which can lead to feelings of heaviness, lethargy, and digestive issues. Heat, on the other hand, is characterized by symptoms such as irritability, excessive thirst, and inflammation. Together, these conditions can disrupt the body's harmony.

Therefore, cooking with Chinese herbs during the summer focuses on ingredients and methods that clear heat, resolve dampness, and support overall health.

Here are some key principles and common herbs used in TCM summer cooking:

1. Clear Heat: Herbs like peppermint (Bo He), chrysanthemum (Ju Hua), and honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua) are used to cool the body and clear heat.

2. Resolve Dampness: Ingredients such as coix seed (Yi Mi), and adzuki bean (Chi Xiao Dou) help to eliminate excess moisture.

3. Promote Digestion: Bitter herbs like dandelion (Pu Gong Ying) and hawthorn fruit (Shan Zha) can stimulate digestion, which is often sluggish in damp conditions.

 For those popular summer recipes, we sometimes mix and match those herbs with similar properties to achieve a balance. For example, Dampness Expelling Soup Packet, which include both Adzuki Bean and Coix Seed, plus Poria and Euryale, working altogether to combat the summer heat.

Here is another easy-to-cook Coix Seed and Lotus Seed Porridge recipe, a type of sweet soup that is both nourishing and effective in eliminating dampness.


- 50g coix seeds 

- 50g lotus seeds

- 100g rice or sticky rice

- 2 liters water

- Honey or rock sugar to taste


1. Rinse the coix seeds, lotus seeds, and rice.

2. Soak the lotus seeds for a few hours if they are dry.

3. Bring the water to a boil and add all ingredients.

4. Simmer on low heat for about an hour until the mixture becomes a thick porridge.

5. Sweeten with honey or rock sugar to taste.


by Jingzi 2024-Jun-27

June 27, 2024 — The Herb Depot

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