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Apr 23

Ne’er cast a clout till May be out

I have seen a few patients in the last two weeks with typical cold symptoms: stuffed nose, cough, headache… and the courses are very similar: enjoying the sunshine, sitting on the beach with summer clothes…

This reminded me an old English saying: “Ne’er cast a clout till May be out”. Interestingly we have similar saying in Chinese language as well: Chun Wu Qiu Dong, which means Keep warm in spring and stay chilled in autumn. Chinese medicine believes human body is an integrated part of the universe and there is a natural, inseparable rhythm between our body and the nature. In spring time, Yang energy (you may come cross the concept Yin and Yang from somewhere) starts to develop and grow from the dormant state after the long preservation through the winter; new plants start to shoot up and a new life circle begins. However, the Yang energy at this stage is still weak and the new life is still vulnerable. That is why we still need to keep the new plants covered in the nursery. Covering or keeping warm is a way to protect and nurture the relatively weak Yang energy and to help it grow stronger for the summer. For the same reason, in autumn, stay chilled is a way to help the Yang energy to go inwards and into reserved status.

In spring, Yang energy is changing and unstable. We can see the weather changing every day. When is the best time to pack your winter clothes? It is normally suggested wait until the temperature stabilized above 15℃, and then you can safely embrace and enjoy the summer.

Our grannies are always right!

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