According to Chinese medicine, each season of the year is associated to a different organ. In the fall it is the lungs and in the spring it is the liver. That would make sense since many people enjoy doing cleanses during that time of the year. The organ associated with the summer is the heart. The heart is very sensitive to summer. More heart attacks will happen during the summer. A person with heart issues will generally be sensitive to heat.

The heat we have in the summer months sometimes seems intolerable. It is very important to not only hydrate ourselves with water, but also to use minerals. Minerals are extremely important for the heart. For example, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and sodium are important for the heart to function. Magnesium helps the heart rhythms. It is also an important mineral to relax muscles. Calcium helps with contraction of the muscles and this is very important since the heart is a muscle. Calcium will also regulate the rhythm of the heart. It is important to take both calcium with magnesium. They work hand in hand, one produces an action and the other produces the opposite. This has a yin-yang effect that creates balance. Potassium levels are important to help with a regular heartbeat. All of these nutrients can be found in dark leafy vegetables, which is the absolute best source of the natural minerals. In taking minerals and vitamins of any kind it is suggested to use whole food supplements that come directly from food, not synthetics.

Besides the heart controlling the circulation of blood and qi. According to Chinese medicine their are some necessary functions that the heart controls in the body. The first is that it governs our minds and thinking. This helps with our memory and sleep. The second is that it is the home of our Spirit or Shen. This is where our physical, emotional and spiritual being is tied up into one. Our spirit is also a "vibe" that we project. Matters of the heart can be seen on our face easily. The third important function of the heart is that it opens to the tongue. When using Chinese tongue diagnosing we can easily see if a person is having some emotional crisis. Generally, it will show redness at the tip of the tongue. This is considered heart heat. One last thing to know about the heart is that it is hurt by the emotion of over joy. A person who jokes around a lot and can't be serious is usually hiding some heart break in their life. Secondly, mania is a form of over joy. This condition can cause a rapid heart rate, which can hurt the energy of the heart.

Take care of your heart this summer. Stay cool, stay hydrated with minerals. Most importantly, learn to relax and use your heart energy to project love to someone in need. This will fill your soul and spirit like nothing else.

• Dawn Krueger-Sherin is an oriental medical practitioner in Ahwatukee Foothills. For questions, reach her at

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