David Christopher, M.H.

With temperatures soaring into the 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius) range, how is a person to avoid hyperthermia and even heat stroke?  If parking yourself in front of an air conditioner all day isn’t possible and if you have to be outdoors physically exerting yourself, then you need to prepare to avoid hyperthermia and the worse- case scenario of heat stroke.

If you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, a cheeseburger for lunch and steak for dinner then, unless you are an Eskimo in the middle of winter, you are headed for a worst case scenario and could end up dying from heat stroke.  These foods thicken your blood which interferes with body cooling.  The more sensible diet for summer is one that thins the blood, which is a diet rich in fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables.  Onions definitely thin the blood and should also be incorporated into a summer diet.

If you are going to be working in hot weather conditions then you must stay hydrated.  Exerting oneself in hot weather will trigger perspiration , the body’s way to release heat.  With this sweating the body loses electrolytes, which need to be replaced.  Drinking lots of water is good for hydration but will not replace electrolytes.  For the replacement of electrolytes, try drinking fresh juices with a pinch of salt.  Eating a lot of watermelon will surely keep you hydrated.  Drinking coconut water is also fantastic as preventative therapy. However, drinking Coca-Cola and other soda pops is counter- productive and could contribute to heat stroke.

Wear light, lose fitting natural fiber clothes.  Synthetic fabric clothing can contribute to hyperthermia and heat stroke.  Wear sandals and give your feet a cooling break.
Beware of drugs, because both prescription and street drugs can cause hyperthermia that can lead to heat stroke. Stimulant drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, LSD etc. can cause hyperthermia.  Anti-depressants such as MAOIs, Tricyclics and SSRIs list hyperthermia as a side effect. 

Cooling herbs like chamomile, licorice, tamarind, lemon balm and most other mints help control body temperature.  Just make a tea with any or all of these herbs and then refrigerate it for a wonderful summer beverage. 

If we look at countries that lie within or border the equator we observe that they eat spicy herbs as found in curry or salsa.  These hot herbs and spices actually help these billions of people endure the heat.  Consider migrant workers who can work in the hot fields all day and not get hyperthermia or heat- stroke.  It is a proven fact that cayenne pepper increases the circulation which helps transfer heat and it appears to work with the body’s thermostat to keep it functioning properly.

We can actually enjoy the heat of summer if we are well prepared.  Learn more about heat stroke in Kurt King’s book, Herbs to the Rescue.”

David Christopher is a Master Herbalist and the director of The School of Natural Healing. He also cohosts the popular radio show ”A Healthier You” and is a popular international teacher and lecturer.