Summer is upon us. In the five element system, summer is ruled by fire element. This is an extremely expansive season. The extra fire from the sun fuels plant growth and expansion. Lots of yang energy, which means, heat, fruition, passion, expansion, and glory. The fire element is all about an external show of power, form and structure.
Summer in Phoenix is a good example of what excess fire/yang energy can do. In Phoenix, the excess fire scorches the earth and instead of expansion we experience a withering of resources and energy. Usually the water element is activated to balance and subdue fire. We experience this as the summer monsoons. The rain pours down to temper the effects of the summer heat. Good to prevent the fire element from turning everything to dust!
Similarly, too much fire in the body is experienced as inflammation and eruptions. If balance is not restored, the internal organs can fall apart from the scorching action of the fire element. The treatment? Much like the desert monsoons, one can find relief with cooling substances such as anti-oxidant rich juices and herbs like burdock and dandelion root. In contrast, conditions where fire is lacking, including indigestion, are benefited by things that create fire, such as the spices like cloves, cardamon, and ginger.
Sometimes it is not so clear how to treat digestive disturbances. For instance, lack of “fire” in the stomach can result in intestinal ulcers (a fire condition) or other inflammatory conditions of the gut (cramping, gas and bloating). From an allopathic perspective treatment for an ulcer involves suppressing fire by the use of anti-acids. From a traditional perspective, the cause of the ulcer would need to be determined first. Some people get ulcers from hyper-secretion of acid while others get ulcers from hypo-secretion of acid. One situation calls for a cooling action the other requires more fuel be added to the fire.