Essential Takeaways: 

  • Summer, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) terms, is the time of maximum Yang, the time of the year with the most active energy. It corresponds with the ovulation phase of our menstrual cycle. 

  • Summer is associated with the Heart organ system, which regulates blood circulation by governing our blood and blood vessels, houses our shen (the mental-emotional-spiritual aspect of ourselves), and controls thinking, consciousness, sleep, and memory. It is considered the ruler of all organs. 

  • As with every season, Elix’s individualized Cycle Balance formulas can help you thrive during the summer season by supporting your underlying root causes of imbalance, helping your body function better at a foundational level.

Observation of the innate cycles of nature guides much of the theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Each season has its own personality and characteristics that influence our bodies and can clue us in on what activities we should place emphasis on. TCM teaches us how to live in harmony with each season and ourselves, based on these seasonal associations.   

Summer, in TCM terms, is the time of maximum Yang, the time of the year with the most active energy. The weather is hot, plant life is in full bloom, and the laughter and joy of the days stretch into night. The abundance of the outside world penetrates and livens up our spirit. It's the time of year when we should be most active and be outside taking in the beauty that the prior seasons nurtured to fruition. All the work of the previous year is coming to fruition, think of the flowers on the trees blossoming into fruit. Plans, thoughts, and visions for the future should be put into motion as creativity is unleashed.  Summer is the season to socialize, be outside, and expend energy physically, emotionally, and creatively. 

While the summer season places a lot of emphasis on the dominant Yang active energy of the season, TCM is all about balance so we also need to take care to nourish our restful, cooling, and moistening YIn energy. Adequate rest, avoiding overexposure to summer's extreme heat, rehydration, and creating a cool and peaceful environment are all good ways to protect our Yin energy.  

What This Means For Our Menstrual Cycle 

When it comes to our menstrual cycle, summertime corresponds to the ovulation phase (approximately days 12-16 of our cycle), a time when many of us have peak energy levels, have less need for sleep, and feel an increasing urge for intimacy (no coincidence considering this is our fertile time). Ovulation, when an egg is released from our ovaries, is the culmination of the multi-month long process of folliculogenesis, the maturation of our primordial follicles into the mature follicle ready for fertilization after ovulation. This mirrors summer and the pinnacle of plant growth, when fruits and vegetables are bountiful. If you are having issues around ovulation, Elix’s personalized Cycle Balance formulas help support our body at the foundational level helping to balance our root causes of imbalance so over time our body functions better and our hormonal rhythm smooths out, helping with ovulation symptoms.  

With the increase in energy we can incorporate movement at higher intensities during this phase of our cycle, making sure we rehydrate ourselves after sweating and avoiding activity during the warmest times of the day. And if our digestion allows it, we can incorporate more cooling, raw or lightly cooked foods into our daily routine. It is also a time to nourish our connection with ourselves, our loved ones, and nature. 

Below we go into more detail about the associations of summertime, and by extension our ovulation phase, all of which can not only help us during the actual summer season, but also each cycle during ovulation.       

Summer Associations 

Organ System


Menstrual Cycle Phase




Climate Factor 








Summer and the Heart Organ System  

TCM sees the body as a dynamic energy system, based on a theory that all of the body’s organ systems mutually support each other, so a dysfunction in one organ system has an impact on the functioning of other organ systems. Each organ system is more than its physical function, it has its own personality having an influence over specific emotions, activities, tissues, and environmental factors. 

Summer in TCM is associated with the Heart organ system, which regulates blood circulation by governing our blood and blood vessels, houses our shen (the mental-emotional-spiritual aspect of ourselves), and controls thinking, consciousness, sleep, and memory. It is considered the ruler of all organs through its influence over the hypothalamus and pituitary, the master glands of our body - so the Heart organ system is related to our nervous system and brain.  Since the heart controls blood circulation, its health is integral to our menstrual wellness, the heart controls how our menstrual blood is released each month.    

People with a balanced Heart organ system are full of vigor and strength, friendly, humble, have open hearts, a clear mind, and a vibrant complexion. Through this clarity they are able to easily solve problems. On the other hand, people with an imbalance in the Heart organ system will be more likely to exhibit symptoms in the summertime, which include – scattered and confused mind, speech issues, memory loss, poor circulation, a lack of strength, an intolerance to heat, hyperactivity, emotional volatility, sleep disturbances, mania, depression, bitterness/resentment, heart issues (palpitations), mental restlessness, or hyper-vigilance. SInce the Heart organ system regulates blood circulation, an imbalance in this system can impact our menstrual cycle contributing to symptoms like dysmenorrhea; irregular, frequent, or absent menses; and irregular or no ovulation. Elix’s Cycle Balance helps support our body at a foundational level helping the Heart organ system function better so symptoms fade away.       

Menstrual Cycle Phase

Each phase of our cycle relates to a different season, summers being ovulation. The Heart organ system plays a large role with ovulation, so any issues with ovulation point to a need to help this organ system function better. Ovulation is also a time of transition, moving from the nourishing Yin phase of our cycle to the active Yang phase of our cycle, and in any transition we need our Liver Qi strong to keep movement effortless. We also need sufficient Kidney Yin in order to ovulate, Kidney Yin that was nourished and built in the prior follicular phase of our cycle, just like the growth in spring matures during summer.     


Summer is associated with the fire element, as the energy of summertime is that of a flame, burning bright and upwards with power.

Climate Factor

TCM recognizes that the external climate can influence our internal balance. Heat dominates summertime, so this is why heat can easily negatively affect the Heart organ system. This is why people with an imbalance in the Heart organ system have a greater intolerance to heat and more symptoms tend to show up  in the summertime. 

Too much heat in the body can affect our menstrual cycle by injuring our Yin, this can lead to issues with ovulation because we need sufficient Kidney Yin in order for our follicles to develop properly and be ready for ovulation. Too much heat in the body can cause a range of menstrual issues from shortened menstrual cycles, heavy bleeding, prolonged bleeding, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, or dysmenorrhea. At Elix, we use a detailed health assessment to determine your unique root causes of imbalance to create a personalized Cycle Balance formula that supports your individual needs, so if you have heat in your body your formulation will contain herbs that help support your body to clear this heat and keep it from coming back.  


Joy is the dominant summertime emotion. It’s a time to express joy by engaging in work, play, travel, and socialization that uplift your spirits and unleashes your creativity.  Yet, if we have an imbalance in this organ system we may experience restlessness, anxiety, agitation, or excessive joy. Maintaining emotional balance during this time will help us find harmony during this season.  

It is a great time to express ourselves emotionally as this is a time when we feel deeply and are open and receptive to the world around us. Summer is a time to free yourself from the daily grind, even if just for a moment, and embrace your inner child for some playtime! 


Like the color of blood, red represents summer. Eating foods that are red can help harmonize the TCM Heart organ system. Many of the foods that summer gives us are red, like tomatoes, watermelon, strawberry, raspberry, cherries, and red bell peppers.


Bitter is the flavor of summer through its correspondence with the Heart Organ System. Bitter foods help clear heat so, eating a moderate amount of bitter foods can help support us through summertime.  The bitter taste is represented by foods like arugula, broccoli sprouts, watercress, endive, turnip, celery, asparagus, amaranth, quinoa, alfalfa, bitter melon, romaine lettuce, and rye. Or if you have an imbalance in the Heart organ system you might notice a more pronounced bitter taste in your mouth throughout the day even if your diet is void of bitter foods. 


TCM Dietary Wisdom: Foods to support us through the summer season

TCM encourages us to eat with the season, changing our dietary routines to be in sync with each season's personality. Summer’s hot, long, active days bring a need for lighter yet nourishing foods that will sustain us, TCM dietary theory guides us in such choices.  With the heat summer brings focus more on cooling, bitter, red, and lighter foods. Since summer brings heat we want to counteract the heat with cooling foods; indulge in summer’s bounty by including a variety of bright colored fruits and vegetables, especially red foods and the many types of leafy greens available during this season. Many animal meats are considered warming, so we might want to consider cutting down on our meat consumption in the summer season as well as limiting consumption of heavy, greasy, and spicy foods.  

Being the most Yang season, there is a lightness in the energy that sustains the day into night, and we can feed into this with lighter and smaller meals, why one might gravitate more towards salads in the summertime. Lightly steaming or simmering foods are the cooking methods best suited for the heat of summer. Although, if your digestion is weak you might not be able to handle as much cold or raw foods as others, you’ll want to make sure you incorporate more cooked and warming foods into your routine. 

Foods that are especially good to counteract summer heat include cucumber and watermelon, they contain an abundance of water and nutrients that can help us rehydrate, which is of utmost importance during the sweaty summer months. Watermelon with a dash of sea salt after a summer sweat session is an excellent way to replenish our electrolytes as watermelon contains potassium and magnesium, and salt provides the sodium, all electrolytes lost while sweating. When we hydrate with water TCM recommends drinking room temperature or warmer water, as cold water is harder on our digestion and can cause more stagnation in our system. 

Below is a list of foods that can help us thrive in the summer season as they either nourish the Heart organ system or have a cooling nature.


Summer Foods


Cherry, Persimmon, Watermelon, Strawberry, Apricot, Cantaloupe, Lemon, Peach, Orange, Red Grapes, Bitter Melon,  Berries and Citrus in general 


Beet, Dandelion Root, Okra, Red Bell Pepper, Scallion, Tomato, Cucumber, Celery, Eggplant, Asparagus, Sprouts, Bamboo Shoots, Bok Choy, Chinese Cabbage, Lotus Root,  White Mushroom, Radish, Snow Peas, Summer Squash, Watercress, Seaweed, Lettuce and Greens like Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, and Arugula  


Amaranth, Corn, Jobs Tears (pearl barley), Millet, Oats, Buckwheat, Barley 


Red Lentils, Mung Bean, Tofu, Adzuki Bean  


Sunflower, Pistachio 

Animal Product(s) 

Egg whites, Fish especially white fish (Cod, Haddock, Sole)

Spices/Culinary Herbs

Cilantro, Mint, Dill, Chamomile, Chrysanthemum

Elix Foundational Wellness Pillars and Summer: Connection 

The health of the Heart organ system largely determines our ability to create and nourish meaningful relationships, which is why summertime is an especially important time to nourish the connection with ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us.  

Creating close relationships that bring us joy is a key determinant of happiness and overall health. Numerous studies, including an 80 year longitudinal study from Harvard University, have shown that the key to a happy life isn’t through wealth, fame, or an accumulation of things, but in close relationships. Harvard’s study showed that people who have strong joyful relationships at 50 were more likely to be the healthiest people at age 80. Connection to nature is also a positive predictor of overall health. 

From a TCM point of view, having a joyful, meaningful, and purposeful connection to the community and natural world around us is essential for our Shen - the mind, spirit, and mental aspects of our body. When we feel connected to nature and our lives with a sense of joyful purpose, our Shen sparkles and we thrive. It’s when we’ve lost our connection to ourselves and the community around us that our Shen suffers. The first step in creating connection is to tune in to the signals our body gives us by keeping a cycle symptom journal. You can note the date, day of your cycle, what is going on in your life, and any symptoms you experience.    


Tips for living a harmonious summer

We can use the TCM associations with summertime to help us adjust our lifestyle to better support ourselves during this season, and during our ovulation phase, so we can show up as our best selves! Here are some tips for summer and ovulation phase living based on Elix’s Six Foundational Wellness Pillars:
  • Connection: Get social - this is a time to spend more time with the people you love, who uplift your spirits.
  • Recovery: While you may find yourself needing less sleep during this time, try to have consistent sleep and wake times.
  • Stress Response: Since summertime, and ovulation, is associated with the emotion of joy, this is a great time to start (or continue) with a gratitude journal - list 1-3 things you are grateful for each day. 
  • Movement: Get out and move, the days are long and the energy is high, so enjoy the outdoors with a walk, hike, bike ride, swim, or yard work. Invite family or friends to join you to foster connection. Just be mindful of not overexerting yourself during the hottest times. 
  • Nourishment: If your digestion can handle it, this is the time to eat more raw and cooling foods like salads, sprouts, mung beans, cucumber, watermelon, apples, lemon, lime, and mint.   
  • Environment: Spend more time outdoors, especially in the morning hours, enjoying the long and bright summer days. 

As with every season, Elix’s individualized Cycle Balance formulas can help you thrive during the summer season by supporting your underlying root causes of imbalance, helping your body function better at a foundational level. Get started with Elix today by filling-out the health assessment to receive your own personalized hormone supporting herbal formula! 



  • Giovanni Maciocia - The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists   

  • Paul Pitchford - Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition 

Clinically proven to improve period & hormone health

Your cycle is uniquely yours, and your Elix treatment is no different. All you need to do is answer a few questions to help us determine what your body needs to rebalance and heal.