Adapting to Heat and Dryness

Reading Time: 3 Min

Desert by HORIZON

Hot and Dry (Desert)

Heat in the human body comes from external radiation and from internal metabolism. In either case the effects on the body are similar. The human body responds to heat by increasing circulation and sweating. By bringing the blood to the periphery of the body it can easily release heat into the outside  environment. This decrease in resistance causes a drop in blood pressure. Its like having your thumb on a hose to get it to spray further and then  suddenly  taking your thumb off. The spray quickly becomes a drizzle. The same thing happens with heat. The increased size of the blood vessels and additional areas for circulation causes a drop in blood pressure. This is part of the reason that heat can make people feel tired. In this overbearing heat it is difficult to get out and exercise or even think strait. Many black men are more prone to high blood pressure. This could be a heat adaptation allowing them to work through intense heat. In intense heat most people lose their  appetites. This is because your body wants to the reduce caused by metabolism to prevent overheating. Heat generally manifests with red eyes, thirst, and dark urine. It is associated with skin rashes, lesions, and irritability. One of the key signs of systemic heat is inflammation.

In the desert, heat can be deadly. The way to make yourself comfortable is to consume substances that help your internal environment stay cool. I once met a Bedouin man from Egypt. He described how his people could survive with little water:

“After a long day in the desert, a man could drink an entire lake. It is not truly his lack of water that injures him, it is the heat. We first drink a tea made of herbs. It cools the inside. After we drink even a small cup of this, we feel relief and a normal amount of water is sufficient.”

Bedouin  discovered how to turn their bodies into a cool garden even when the outside environment is a blistering hell. The diseases of the desert will enter the body no matter what. But once inside, they cannot survive. When Bedouin drink their herbal teas, they cool themselves by carrying an oasis within. They realize that their cravings have more to do with the regulation of moisture and temperature than anything else.

In hot, dry climates, cacti are prevalent. Cacti retain their moisture with a waxy cuticle and tend to have a bitter flavor; they can help us to retain moisture. Sunburn and constipation are symptoms of heat and dryness. Cacti such as aloe are very useful for treating these signs of dryness and heat.

Many foods available in hot and dry climates are cooling and moistening. Foods such as grapes, watermelons and dates are designed to retain moisture. Dairy products are also ideal for arid regions. Fermented yogurt with salt is a popular drink throughout Central Asia. The sour flavor makes it cooling, and the salt makes it moistening.

Signs of Dry Heat in the Microbiome
Thirst Thirst increases with a desire for cold drinks
Skin Dry, red, rash. Skin redness is associated with heat. Think of pimples and skin eruptions as small volcanoes. The heat is pushing its way up and out. A rash is another sign of systemic inflammation.
Temperament People with too much heat will speak in short bursts. The body is trying to force more air out on the exhalation to make the blood more alkaline. This causes people to speak as though they are shouting.
Lips Red, if the heat starts to dry up fluids, then they will get dry or chapped.
Mouth Teeth will tend to be more yellow. Possible sores on mouth or tongue. Bad breath, especially in the morning.
Pulse Fast
Urine More frequently yellow
Stools Tendency toward small sheep-like stool or constipation with an intense smell.
Sleep Heat will affect sleep. It causes people to toss and turn and have trouble getting into a deep state of sleep.
Eyes Bloodshot eyes can indicate that the body is running a little hot.
Tongue color Red
Tongue coating Yellow or dry without a coating

If you live in a warm and dry climate or if your internal microbiome has become too warm and dry: Hot & dry

If you have too much heat in your microbiome, you can cool it with plants that have a bitter flavor. These plants tend to have antibiotic antifungal, and antiviral properties. They kill pathogenic bacteria and reduce inflammation. They also tend to move through the digestive tract faster, which further reduces body heat.

Tea: Senna, Green tea, Jue Ming Zi tea, aloe

Meat: Have less meat as it tends to be warming.

Plants: Most fruits and vegetables are cool and moistening:


Pine nuts








Wild yam

By adapting to heat, you can enjoy more energy, reduce heat fatigue and help prevent heat stroke.

Adapting to Heat and Dampness

Adapting to Heat and Dryness

Adapting to Cold and Moist

Adapting to Cold and Dry

Desert by HORIZON

Creative Commons License Adapting to Heat and Dryness by Andrew Miles & Xuelan Qiu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at



4 thoughts on “Adapting to Heat and Dryness

  1. Pingback: Adapting to Cold and Moist | Andrew Miles, LAc & Xuelan Qiu, PhD

  2. Pingback: Adapting to Heat and Dampness | Andrew Miles, LAc & Xuelan Qiu, PhD

  3. Pingback: Adapting to heat and dryness | Nudge Acupuncture

  4. Pingback: Adapting to Cold and Dry | Andrew Miles, LAc & Xuelan Qiu, PhD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s