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  • Writer's pictureJessica Gradel,DC,MS,L.Ac

Damp Heat Invasion

Summer should be about having fun outside not feel the effects of damp heat. Traditional Chineses Medicine may have answer help you feel better during the dog days of summer and out of the bathroom.

What is Damp Heat? And Why is it more pronounced in the Summer?

Damp heat is a collection of symptoms that is recognized by Traditional Chinese Medicine to be caused by external and internal causes. During the summer hot humid days promote damp heat invasions of the body that typically appear as "heat rashes".

However Summer is also the time most Americans eat lots of ice cream, have barbecues and beer, and our diet is a major contributor to Damp Heat Symptoms.

Eating lots of meat, dairy and alcohol (if not beer, then Sangria!), but more importantly excess of sugar. Consuming an excess amount of these typical summer foods and drinks encourages damp heat in the body.

Symptoms of internal damp heat include:


  • Stomach Flu

  • Unquenchable thirst

  • Heat Stroke or Fever

  • Phlegm

  • Indigestion

  • Lack of energy

  • Acid reflux/ heartburn

  • Bloating

  • Diarrhea

Lucky enough though modifying your diet slightly and add a few cooling foods and herbs can go along way with treating damp heat and clearing it from the body. To counteract the stagnancy of late summer, when drinking water just isn’t enough to cool you down and satisfy your thirst?

The following are just a few of the foods and Chinese herbs that are beneficial to consume in late summer:

Foods that should be limited :

  • Excess sugar

  • Excess Alcohol

  • Processed Meats

  • Char Grilled Meats

  • Ice Cream

  • Ice Water and Smoothies

This is not to say that we can't have an ice cream , but if we have ice cream it isn't wise to wash it down with Iced fresh squeezed Lemonade, follow it with a brownie, eat it with bbq slathered in bbq sauce, paired with deep fried fries and a funnel cake. Makes me nauseated just imagining eating all that rich fatty food on hot day, but isn't that typical fair fare?

Moderation is key, You can have your cake and eat it too, just not with the ice cream and bbq. If symptoms don't respond to diet then it can be beneficial to speak with an Acupuncturist or another healthcare provider.

Here are just a few common TCM patterns associated with damp heat are:

  • Damp Heat External Invasion

  • Congenital Spleen Qi Deficiency

  • Over Taxation of Spleen Qi

  • Large Intestine Stagnation


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