Well, it looks like Juneary has struck again! And while it hardly seems like the Summer Solstice is right around the corner with this cooler weather, according to one traditional Chinese calendar, we are well into the height of Summer.
Just like the sap of a tree flows out from its trunk to its branches in Spring and Summer, our body’s resources are now closer to the surface. This means that our digestive fire—our capacity to transform food into nutrients—is not as strong as it is during the Fall and Winter. Think of a hot, summer afternoon. That comforting lasagna so welcomed on a cold winter night sounds less appetizing when it’s too hot to even turn the oven on. And with the digestive fire gone from the core of the body, appetite and digestion decrease. What’s one to do? Enter our friend, fresh ginger root.
In Chinese medicine there is a saying: “In the Winter, eat daikon radish. In the Summer, eat fresh ginger.” In the Winter, the enzymes found in daikon help digest heartier dishes, especially if they contain meat. In the Summer, the warming and acrid properties of fresh ginger help stoke our digestive fire so that foods become easier to digest. Whether you brew fresh ginger tea in the morning, add grated ginger to your favorite stir-fry, or enjoy the occasional ginger ale, I hope that fresh ginger becomes your friend this summer.
For a fascinating podcast regarding the importance of timing when it comes to herbal medicine, including a conversation about why it’s best to take fresh ginger in the morning, check out this episode from Botanical Biohacking.