The Five Elements: Fire & its Personality

That pointy chin. The red dress and that mischievous look in my eyes.

Those are characteristics of the summer’s fire element.

I love hot summer days, bitter greens, and hot sauces. 

My tall stature, talkative nature, and passionate personality also suggest the fire element.

I can do many things in a day, but need to be careful of overdoing it.

I like fast cars, but don’t like red, the fire element’s color. I love red fruits and vegetables, except for beets.

It is the fire element within us that drives us towards creativity and love. 

Our internal fire resides at the base of the spine. We call it Ming Men in Chinese Medicine.

When this internal fire is stoked, it blazes upwards to connect with the eternal fire of the pericardium and heart. This fire is what keeps us alive in instinct, and allows us to settle into creativity and desire.

Malerie, 5 years old

The Five Elements of Chinese Medicine are living in all of us. We naturally embody some more than others. While we may be turned off or bothered by the others.

The Five Elements are:

  • Fire (Summer)
  • Earth (Late Summer)
  • Metal (Autumn)
  • Water (Winter)
  • Wood (Spring)

Each element has associated organs, season, color, taste, cardinal direction, personality characteristics, and much more. 

The Fire Element is associated with the Heart, Pericardium, San Jiao, and Small Intestine.

  • Season: Summer
  • Taste: Bitter
  • Emotion: Joy
  • Color: Red
  • Sensory organ: Tongue
  • Tissues: Blood vessels
  • Cardinal direction: South
  • Time of day: 11a-1p & 9p-11p
  • System: Nervous system, parasympathetic and sympathetic responses

We can use these Five Elements to our favor. One of which is by living in accordance with each season.

These elements also teach us where our personality characteristics are strong and where they may need to be nurtured and honed.

A well-balanced and cared-for fire personality embodies:

Joy, passion, gratitude/appreciation for self and others, awareness of self, thoughts, and emotions, speaking their truth, balancing the need for movement (dance) with rest, and relaxation.

When the fire element is out of balance, there may be excess.

This can be seen by doing and experiencing too much such as overly talkative, social, and extroverted nature, and the overuse of stimulus, like phone, television, loud music, or excess activity.

To maintain and balance your fire element, schedule time for intentional rest, solitude that includes breathing, journaling, and meditation. Seek and maintain relationship with your inner calm. 

My wood body type thrives off quick fast movements (fire). I’d rather sprint (fire) than run marathons (water). I prefer to do daily tasks in spurts with frequent breaks than go all day.


Fire imbalances can include but are not limited to: 

  • Dislikes heat
  • Anxiety
  • Scattered mind
  • Agitations
  • Depression / Lack of Joy
  • Circulation issues
  • Heart palpitations
  • Impatience
  • Inability to sleep deeply
  • Nightmares
  • Restlessness / Fidgeting / Nervousness
  • Unstable emotions, mania 
  • Speech issues
  • Rashes

Western fire imbalances can also include thyroid issues, blood clots, heart attacks, embolisms, and strokes.

Treatment for the fire element can also include food therapy and lifestyle. 

There are foods, herbs and spices that are hot (fire), warming, cooling, and cold. Lifestyle choices are also just the same. They can heat the body, and cool it down. They are listed below.

Chinese medicine suggests that fire types moderate and sometimes when healing avoid:

  • Excess spicy and drying foods like Mexican, Indian, and Thai spices
  • Stimulants like caffeine, coffee, tobacco
  • Refined salt, sugar, and flour
  • Excess protein


The bitter flavor has an affinity for the Fire Element, Heart and Small Intestine. It is draining and drying to the body and therefore, yin in nature. It stimulates the upward movement of Qi and Blood to the chest and Heart.

We can use the bitter flavor medicinally. Read more about its properties on my post The Effects of the Bitter Flavor


  • Apricot
  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Citrus fruit
  • Lemon
  • Peach
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon


  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Mint


  • Adzuki
  • Mung


  • Asparagus
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Bitter greens: arugula & dandelion
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Corn
  • Lettuce
  • Mushroom
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Snow Peas
  • Summer Squash
  • Watercress


  • Duck
  • Cow and goat milk
  • Ghee
  • Fish


Thought provoking journal prompts:

  • In what ways can I show myself more love and compassion?
  • What do I love to do that I am not prioritizing?
  • Where can and I slow down, and at what time of day?
  • What and who am I sharing my love with?
  • Am I willing to reduce/avoid any foods and eat more bitter greens, red fruits, and vegetables? Which ones do I like the most?

“When the heart is serene, pain seems negligible.”

The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine

I hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a reply down below.

As always, stay curious!


Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.