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Jing Zhe – 惊蛰

Another special day has arrived on the Chinese calendar – Jing Zhe 惊蛰. The character 惊 (jing) means to surprise, or more accurately, to startle, while 蛰 (zhe) refers to insects that live underground. What startles insects in the ground? Thunder. From today on, thunder will becomes more common with accompanying rains, while during late fall and winter, it’s rarely ever heard. The spring thunder is like a seasonal alarm clock, waking up all the creatures in the world, reminding them that it’s time to shake off the sluggishness of winter and prepare to thrive and prosper. In Chinese traditional philosophy the yang of the sky (universe) begins increasing from the winter solstice, the yang of the earth starts to rise from the Da Han (around late January), the yang of human starts to rise from the Li Chun. Jing Zhe is a more vivid description of increasing yang because the earth and nature are feeling the yang of the earth, the warmth that wakes up the underground creatures and is felt by all of nature.

It is an unfortunately cold day here in Ottawa (around -20˚C or -4˚F), but despite the ridiculous temperature, we heard cardinals singing! How interesting and beautiful that the animals realize spring is coming regardless of the temperature at the moment. As human beings, we seem to let the temperature that we feel at the moment dictate the season to us minute by minute, drowning out the welcome signs of spring that move at their own pace. There is a gap between how nature behaves and how we perceive the coming of spring. Nevertheless, our body receives the message that nature is sending loud and clear, the same as any other animal. And because our bodies are adapting there are some things to be mindful of. Those who don’t have enough xue (literally means blood) to support the rise of the liver’s yang might have more headaches or an itchy scalp, while people without enough qi and xue might suffer from itchy skin and tiredness, common among the seniors. Also, the yearly spring allergies start to show up. It is key around this time to remain at ease and happy. Massage the tummy with your palm, take walks in loose clothing, hiking with friends, those little easy and fun exercise helps your body to transition from the tight, closed mode of winter to the free, loose and relax mode of spring.

Herbal Drink: Rose Tea.

Ingredients: dry rose buds, boiling water.

Brewing guide: quick rinse the dry rose buds with boiling water. Fill the water and it will be ready in about 5 minutes, refill the water when there’s 1/3 left until the infused water is colorless and tasteless.

Drinking timing: It is a perfect first drink of the day. After a long night sleep, your body is ready to absorb and make the best use of the drink. It’s a good tea any time of the day.

Benefits: rose is known as a women’s best drink in Chinese. It helps liver to work smoothly and encourage the function of spleen. This means it stabilizes the emotions, prevents breast and uterine disease, prevents freckles on check bones, and helps the body lose weight in a natural way. It’s a great drink during your period or if you are experiencing menopause.

Limitation: this drink doesn’t have too many cautions, the only tip is for the senior or very weak people not to drink this daily for a long time (months on end) as it could make you even weaker. This is actually true with most flower based herbal tea.

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