How to fight heat & humidity with TCM

Singapore’s weather has been unusually warm and humid for the past 2 weeks.

Rest assured that it’s not just you who feel this way. Many Singaporeans have feedbacked that it’s been abnormally warm and humid in April and May 2022.

The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) has stated that warm and wet weather is expected to continue into the first half of May. These rising temperatures are caused by global warming and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. Urban structures such as buildings and roads can trap heat1,2 and human activities like factories, construction, cars or buses emit waste heat, leading to higher day-time temperatures.

Another critical factor is the high humidity. According to the MSS Website, the relative humidity frequently reaches 100% during prolonged periods of rain. The relative humidity in Singapore now varies from 55% to 95%.  In a humid environment, the surrounding air cannot hold further water vapour and perspiration does not evaporate as quickly. As a result the body heats up and we tend to sweat more. Hence, we feel warmer in humid conditions.3

There are certain body constitutions that are prone to experience heat stroke (容易中暑体质):

DIY Acupressure to relieve symptoms of summer heat

Acupoint: 百会 (Bai Hui, GV 20)

Function: Helps to clear the mind and lift the spirits.

Location: draw a line between the tip of the 2 ears over the head, and find the midpoint. 

How to massage: Locate the acupoints shown below and apply gentle pressure using your fingertips. Massage for 3-5 minutes or until you feel better. 

Acupoint : 合谷 (He Gu, LI 4) 

Location: place one thumb over the webbed portion between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Acupoint is at the tip of the thumb.

Function: Promotes Qi and blood circulation, unblocks stagnated Qi to relieve dizziness.

How to massage: apply gentle pressure to the point using your fingertips, massage for 3-5 minutes till you feel better

 

Note: pregnant women should avoid this point.

Acupoint : 廉泉  (Lian Quan, CV23) 
Location: 
On the neck in the depression above the upper border of the hyoid bone.

Direction: Gently massage on the point for 30 seconds.

Acupoint : 照海  (Zhao Hai, KI6) 
Location: 
In a depression below the tip of the medial malleolus.

Direction: Gently massage on the point for 1 minute and swallow your saliva. You will feel the nourishment of yin in your throat. 

Here are some recipes to combat heat and humidity

Tea recipe - 酸梅汤 Sour Plum Tea

Ingredients :

  • Sour plum乌梅9g
  • Dried Osmanthus flower桂花 or Hawthorn berry山楂6g
  • Licorice root生甘草 3g
  • Rock sugar to taste (Optional)
  • 250ml water 

Instructions:  

  1. Place all 3 ingredients in a small pot and fill with water, preferably 3-5cm above the ingredient surface and soak for 30 minutes. 
  2. Cover with lid and bring to boil using high heat, then turn to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the rock sugar and stir to let it dissolve completely. (Optional)
  4. Tea is ready for consumption. Drink it warm.

This tea helps to expel heat and quench thirst. 

Soup Recipes - 三根汤 Combat dampness heat soup

Ingredients: 

  • 葛根20g
  • 芦根20g
  • 白茅根20g
  • 1 litre of water

Instructions: 

  1. Place all 3 ingredients in a pot and fill with water and soak for 30 minutes first
  2. Cover with lid and bring to boil using high heat, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Soup is ready for consumption. Drink it warm. 

This soup helps to expel heat, nourishes yin and reduces muscle aches. 

Soup Recipes - 绿豆汤 Green bean soup

Ingredients: 

  • 100g of green beans (soaked overnight, rinsed and drained)
  • 10g of dried tangerine peel slices 陈皮
  • 2 pandan leaves 班兰叶 tied in a knot
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • 50g of rock sugar 冰糖 to taste

 

Instructions:

  1. Add green beans, pandan leaves, tangerine peel and water into a big pot. Bring it to boil and reduce heat to simmer for about 50 minutes or until the green beans are soft. Stir the sides and bottom of the pot occasionally. Add in hot water if needed. 
  2. Stir in rock sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the tangerine peel and pandan leaves. 

Drink it warm .

Green beans are a good source of fibre and vitamins. It is also a traditional home remedy  with cooling properties to clear toxins and reduce body heat. You can drink it 2-3 times per week. 

Here are some tips to take note:

Do avoid consuming cold food like cold bubble tea, ice shaves, cold drinks or ice cream that can temporarily relieve the heat but harms your digestive process in the long run.  

You can consume the food shown on the right side instead! 

 

In the meantime, do also avoid consuming junk food, hotpot, fried and greasy food. Have sufficient rest and avoid staying up late. If you have to be outside, try to reduce exposure to the afternoon scorching sun and remember to apply sunscreen!

 

Note: Information provided is not a substitute for a physician or any form of medical care. Individual symptoms differ due to different body constitutions and diagnosis. One should consult a licensed TCM practitioner for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Reference: 

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/urban-heat-island/ 2.
  2. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/cnainsider/singapore-hot-weather-urban-heat-effect-temperature-humidity-906231
  3. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/we-sweat-more-in-humid-conditions-why/article6982888.ece

 




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Physician Kang Ting Tan

TCM Physician,

Lead (Platform Development and Training)

View more posts by Physician Kang Ting Tan

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