To finish off the semester, RT made us a colorful watermelon salad that combats damp-heat. We have readers from all over the globe (hello, Albania!); here in Florida, though, it’s getting hotter and more humid by the day, making this a very timely dish. I’m a big fan of all the ingredients in this streamlined recipe, so I went back for seconds (and fourths, and sixths…).
TCM DOS: Damp-heat
Signs & symptoms may include: mucous and bloody dysentery or constipation, turbid urine, leucorrhea, red/oozing eczema, poor appetite, heaviness of the body and limbs, lassitude, bloating and/or distention of the abdomen, restlessness, insomnia, bitter taste in mouth, possibly fever, nausea. The pulse will tend to be slippery and rapid; while the tongue body may or may not be red with a sticky, yellow coating.
Western Correlation: dysentery, constipation
Foods that help to treat damp-heat:
Vegetables – are generally considered cool so they clear heat, and they drain phlegm/damp
Examples – alfalfa, asparagus, bamboo shoots, bokchoy, broccoli, all cabbage, carrots, celery, corn, eggplant, lettuce, spinach
Fruits – are generally cool to cold so they clear heat, and dissolve phlegm/damp; however avoid excess consumption because they may add damp
Examples – apples, bananas, cherries (in mod), lemons, limes, mango, oranges, tangerines, dried papaya, pear, persimmon, watermelon
Grains – generally speaking T SP&ST, remove damp
Examples – millet, rice, buckwheat (used sparingly in heat syndromes), barley, amaranth, Job’s tears, rye, spelt
Misc – kidney beans, mung beans, soy beans, adzuki beans, cardamom, olives
Try to utilize cooking methods that add a minimal amount of heat to your food
Examples – steaming, blanching, boiling, salting
Foods to avoid in cases of damp-heat
Examples – meat (especially red meat), dairy, eggs, alcohol, greasy foods, nuts, anise, sugar, molasses, processed foods
Also avoid cooking methods that increase the dampness or heat of foods
Examples – grilling, baking, frying or roasting, cooking with alcohol
Watermelon with Mint and Lime
8-10 C of ripe, seedless watermelon cut into bite-size pieces (roughly one 5-6 lb melon)
Sea salt to taste
¼ C fresh lime juice (roughly 2 limes)
½ C mint chiffonade (fancy term for cut leaves)
½ C crumbled feta (optional – use sparingly if dampness is the predominate pathogen)
After cubing the watermelon mix in the sea salt, lime juice, and mint chiffonade.
Chill until a few minutes before serving.
Sprinkle feta on top.