Minor Cold Xiǎo Hán 小寒

January 5, 2022
Minor Cold or Xiǎo Hán (Chinese: 小寒) is the 23rd of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms, and marks the beginning of the coldest time of the year in China. Ancient Chinese astrologers often use the weather and climate situation during the Minor Cold period to predict the weather in the upcoming Spring.
A traditional folk custom especially common in Northern China this time of the year involves creating a “Nine-Nine Dispel Cold Diagram” (九九消寒图 or jiu jiu xiao han tu) as a countdown towards the end of winter, and looking forward to warmer spring weather. It typically takes the form of a drawing of a plum tree branch with nine blossoms, with each blossom containing nine petals. One begins on the first day of the Winter Solstice and continues for the next nine nine-day periods (81 days total), drawing one petal day on the first day and continues until it is finished. The painting is often accompanied by calligraphy of verses, each verse comprising nine characters, with each character being a word with nine brush-strokes.
Here are some useful health cultivation tips for Minor Cold:
1. In terms of dietary health, food that are warming both in terms of food temperature and energetics are most appropriate to the season. As such, this is a great time to eat Chinese delicacies like hotpot, stew and warm porridge. Chili is a fantastic American food to serve at this time of year. Soup is always healthy, and hearty soups and stews are ideal for keeping the body warm at this time of year.
2. Avoid cold foods and beverages. This is especially important for those with internal cold as well as yang deficiency. Visit our clinic to learn more.
3. For those with arthritic joints that are aggravated by severe cold weather, small amounts of medicinal wine/spirit consumed periodically may be beneficial.
4. During this time of the year, consider an acupuncture or herbal medicine treatment focused on nourishing the kidneys and warming the spleen and stomach.
For more information on seasonal health cultivation, schedule an appointment with one of our student interns or licensed practitioners at the Yo San University Blount Community Clinic. Tele-health consultations are also offered by our experienced senior practitioners. Call today. 310.577.3006.