Here comes summer, finally summer, always summer, again summer!

This is summer, it is with these words that the playful song of Les Négresses Vertes ends, and it can now be sung at full speed!

The solstice has flooded us with its beautiful energy and marks the transition to summer which will last two full months. The long-awaited season is not only for its high temperatures, it is also for the change of pace that comes with it for many of us. For young and old, it’s time for a break, often the longest of the year. But a very often active break, and so much the better because now is the time. A very “yang” season in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), summer is notably a period of exteriorization: we move, we meet, we go “to”.

The dominant element is Fire: solar fire and inner fire which asks to be expressed. At the same time, in our lifestyles, the summer break time is also synonymous with rest. It is up to us to harmoniously combine these two energies and to take advantage of both solar energy and a peaceful start to the evening, shady naps, or the freshness of the water in our rivers or coasts.

What natural treatments for this summer? To spend a summer in good shape and vitality, however, it seems opportune to listen to the needs of our body and to prevent certain inconveniences.

Soak up the summer in the sun

It is tempting to let go for hours in the hot rays of the fiery star. But everyone should know the potential harm.

It is good to prepare your skin for this influx of UV rays by taking a course of antioxidants now: acerola, camu camu, pomegranate, acai but also fruit and vegetable juices at will. If you are feeling tired, spirulina is a great supplement.

Orange fruits and vegetables (carrots, melons, yellow summer fruits, peppers, etc.) rich in provitamin A and vitamin C are recommended. Also consider carrot oil: thanks to its concentration in beta-carotene, it gives the skin radiance and promotes natural tan. Healthy glow guaranteed! A few drops incorporated in your daily care are enough.

Exposure to the sun should be gradual and reasoned (2 to 3 hours per day maximum), starting with short moments (15 minutes alternating back and torso) and protecting your head with a large hat.

Sun and vigilance :

  • Avoid exposure between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is closest to the zenith and UV rays are the most aggressive for our skin. Alternate tanning time with resting time in the shade or swimming and don’t be obstinate just because you want to be tanned. Fashion fads are less important than your health, you will agree. This is because it is proven that the darker the skin, the less sun penetrates it. Use a high index, organic quality sunscreen.
  • As soon as the heat gets too hot and sunburn begins, steer clear of the rays.
  • Think that movement and physical activity are good ways to sunbathe in a smart way, since we alternate the parts of our body exposed while varying the intensity of the action of the sun on our skin.
  • It is better to avoid sunburn, but if it occurs, alternately apply St. John’s Wort oil (be careful, it is photo-sensitizing; therefore prefer its use in the evening) and Aloe Vera gel which moisturizes, soothes and regenerates the skin.
  • Give yourself cool water compresses to relieve the burn. Green clay works wonders in severe sunburns, in the form of poultices by removing them as soon as they get hot.
  • Finally, consider giving children a drink regularly in summer and moisturizing their skin.

Hydrate deeply :

Hydration is essential and in summer the needs are increased by increased sweating. Start by increasing the volumes of water absorbed and try to drink at least 2 L per day of quality water (dry residue less than 150 mg / L to promote natural purification of the body). Think of fresh fruit juice, herbal teas and refreshing or hot infusions. The infusions of hibiscus flowers or mint are a real delight during this period.

Sea and river baths, beyond the mere refreshing aspect, have the virtue of putting into circulation the fluids circulating in the body (“humors” to use a term dear to naturopaths). Take advantage of this, too, with a few common sense rules to avoid thermal shocks (gradually entering the water, spraying yourself regularly, getting the back of your neck wet, etc.)

Applying jets of cold water to the legs at the end of the shower stimulates the whole body and promotes blood and lymphatic circulation. Sitz baths or derivative baths can also be practiced for their undeniable benefits: invigorating the body, draining, activating digestion, relief of certain inconveniences (abdominal pain, hemorrhoidal crisis, etc.) and of course the cooling effect!

Food is also essential for hydration of the body. Some waterlogged plants provide a large amount of liquid: cucumber, melon, watermelon, tomatoes.

Some summer tips for a healthy summer !

  • Avoid foods and cooking too “yang”. Hot spices (peppers, cardamom, cinnamon), red meats and alcohol should be limited, as should fried foods and barbecues.
  • Mint for its refreshing qualities is to be consumed in all its forms.
  • The contribution of essential fatty acids is essential for a real hydration and a good cellular functioning, by varying the sources of contribution: oils of squash, safflower or sunflower for their contributions in omega 6. Linseed oils, rapeseed , camelina for omega 3. Rapeseed oil provides a contribution of both. Borage and evening primrose oil, in addition to their richness in omega 6, have a specific action on the skin. They can advantageously be used orally or through the skin.
  • Olive oil retains its place in healthy cooking that promotes cardiovascular protection.

Support the functions of the body

In TCM, summer is the energy of the Heart. Without making uncertain shortcuts as TCM involves so many subtleties, it is particularly good to support heart function, stimulated by bitter flavors: watercress, dandelion, chicory, curly salad, grapefruit .. Olive oil protects the arteries, just like oils rich in omega 3.

In herbal medicine, hawthorn (Crataegus Oxyacantha) is a great cardiovascular regulator.

Circulatory problems will be improved with red vine (Vitis Vinifera), witch hazel (Hammamelis Virginiana) or even olive (Olea europea) depending on your specific land. The appropriate dosage form and the dosages are to be determined with your naturopathic health practitioner or with your pharmacist.

Summer is nevertheless a good time to try fruit mono-diets. The peach, slightly laxative, is interesting for a gentle cleansing of the intestines. Raw or steamed gently and mashed, you can try the experience over a day or a meal as needed, and repeat it once a week. This allows the digestive system to rest and regenerate it.

In summer, alternate break time and movement

If summer is a good time to exteriorize, changing the pace is also a way to give more space to interiorization and to oneself. Give yourself time to rest, stroll in a hammock, garden, read, contemplate and meditate! The frenzy of the rest of the year subsides in summer, whether in the city or on vacation. Turn off your cell phones and unplug your computers, for your greater good.

Take advantage of this different rhythm to balance and recharge your batteries. But don’t neglect the specific energy of the season which involves movement and encounters. Walking, hiking, swimming, canyoning, horseback riding … the many possible activities allow you to reconnect with nature and the elements.

Arnaud. C. (Doctor of Pharmacy)

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