Late Summer & The Earth Element

by DAO Labs |

Late Summer & The Earth Element

There’s a thick fragrance in the air. The break and progress of summer is paving the path to autumn and winter. Yang is slowly molding and changing into yin while you experience the burden and sweet dampness of the downward pull. This transition from summer to autumn is in itself unique; therefore, it is called “Late Summer”, indicated by centering of element Earth.

It’s a great time to reflect and evaluate our harvest. Do you feel full and bountiful from the fruits of your labor during the spring and summer seasons? There could be a tendency to over or under indulge. Ask yourself, do you feel stagnant, stuck or sluggish? Or maybe depleted and drained? How are you “digesting”, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually?

The DOYO Period Reset

In Chinese Medicine, we have a 5th season called “Late Summer” also known as the Dohyo Period. The notion of “Late Summer” or Dohyo not only represents a unique season, but it also demonstrate transitions between all of the 4 seasons which are eighteen days prior to the end of each season and the beginning of the next. These seasonal transitions are governed by the Earth Element which has everything to do with how we’re digesting the things we took in. 

Doyo Period Chinese Medicine

The Dohyo period offers us a beautiful opportunity to ease into change and “reset” for the upcoming season. We can anchor into the Earth Element to strengthen our journey through not only seasonal transitions, but also those tender passages through our menstrual cycle phases and the metamorphosis that occurs in between our life cycles from menarche to menopause and beyond. In fact, the “Late Summer” or Dohyo phase bridges the gap between transitions which is associated with the Earth Element It then becomes important to optimize and strengthen our digestion during these shifts.

You can now see why your acupuncturist is always asking how your digestion is. It’s crucial for not only nourishing your mind, body, spirit but also serves to anchor you through natural cycles of change.

Our Bodies in Late Summer

Our Earth organs are our stomach, spleen, pancreas, lips, and general musculature. Earth also represents our thoughts, intellect, intention and comprehension. All of these govern the way we take in information and digest it in order to nourish our mind, body, spirit. If our intake and digestion is challenged, our whole wellbeing suffers. 

Doyo Period Chinese Medicine

Late summer is the perfect time to adjust our habits into slowing down. Seek clarity in your food choices to support digestion and strengthen your immune system for the rest of the year. Here are a few tips to aid in the fortification of your Earth Element:

  • Daily Moxibustion on Stomach 36

  • Reset your digestion with a mono-diet of kitchari, congee or porridge for 1-3 days

  • Reflect on how you are mothering and nurturing yourself vs others. Is there a balance or imbalance here?

  • Start to evaluate your work-life balance 

  • Make the slow transition into adjusting your schedules around shorter days

  • Clean your kitchen and shift your pantry from summer to autumn staples

  • Start moving away from too many cold and raw foods and have the majority of your meals cooked and warmed

Late Summer & Earth Element Herbal Recommendations

The flavor that represents late summer is Sweet! Late summer is a great time to reassess our own sense of harmony with the seasons. If we’ve overindulged in sweetness, we might feel the dampness encumbering our ability to move. If we’ve deprived ourselves of sweetness, we might feel dry, weak and undernourished. These late summer herbals are great for the digestive system. Be sure to stock up and use them whenever you’re needing some help through seasonal transitions. 

  1. Patchouli (Agastache/Huo Xiang): This herb is amazing at transforming dampness that results in nausea, vomiting, bloating, stomachaches, and overall sluggish digestion. Originally, it is a key ingredient of the formula which relieves symptoms of stomach flu.

  2. Licorice (Gan Cao): Called the Grandfather of all herbs, licorice enters all 12 meridians of the body. It overcomes signs of deficiency and fosters body’s immunity

  3. Job’s Tears (Yi Yi Ren): This is a wonderful pseudo-grain, that’s actually a seed (coix). It’s a great summer and late summertime staple to help transform damp accumulation in the body. It also has the added benefit of beautifying the skin. 

  4. Mint (Bo He): The pungent and cooling quality of mint may help to ease the damp-heat that late summer might aggravate in some individuals. In case you have colder digestive system, you must limit or stop its use.

About the Author

Kris González, LAc is a licensed acupuncturist, board-certified herbalist, and guide into the lost art of radical self-care called Nourishing Life (yang sheng) and specializes in Chinese Medicine Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine. Kris is also the resident acupuncturist for Peristeam Hydrotherapy Institute/Steamy Chick where she provides consultations and education on pelvic bowl steaming for healing gynecological and andrological conditions. She resides in Santa Barbara with her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Kris at thewayofyin.com.

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