FALL HEALTH IN CHINESE MEDICINE
Fall is officially here! In our weekly CSA box, the cherries are gone and in their place are apples and pears. Pretty soon we’ll also be seeing more butternut squashes, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
In Chinese Medicine, Fall/Autumn is when Yang energy is starting to slow and pull inward to make way for the quiet, stillness of Yin. It's the transition from the high activity of Summer towards the peaceful rest of Winter. And just as the season shifts, we should also flow and follow this change with the food we eat, our activity, rest, and overall lifestyle.
The following are associated with the season of Fall:
the Metal element
the Lung & Large Intestine meridians
the emotion of Grief
the color white
the element of Dryness
foods that are pungent or aromatic
To help guide you during this seasonal change, here are a few tips to support your health:
1. Ditch the salads and smoothies:
Instead, start opting for warm/hot cooked foods like steamed or roasted veggies and soups or stews. It's time to start warming up your body to conserve & store Yang Qi for the Winter.
Vietnamese pho, pumpkin curry, or beef stew are all delicious choices.
2. Stay hydrated:
Yes - even in the Fall. Dryness (dry skin, lips, nose, etc.) is most apparent during this time. Room temperature water is best but you can also opt for hot tea with honey or coconut water.
Choose foods such as pears, apples, nuts, or persimmon.
3. Avoid dairy:
There is a saying in Chinese Medicine that the Lungs are a "container for phlegm" especially in a state of imbalance.
A common symptom of many upper respiratory infections is excess fluid or mucus in the nose and lungs.
To keep the Lungs clear and mitigate any excess phlegm/dampness, avoid milk, yogurt, and cheese.
As a probiotic alternative to yogurt, try drinking kombucha or kefir water instead.
4. Strengthen and protect your Lungs:
In Chinese Medicine, the Lungs are a key component of our immune function so it's important to keep Qi circulating.
Exercise regularly by going for a walk or run, doing Qi Gong, or even yoga.
Try doing breathing exercises which can also help with focus and mental clarity.
Avoid smoking to keep Lung Qi clear. Lastly, improve the air quality & circulation of your home through the use of an air purifier or simply by opening a window to let in fresh outdoor air. You can also keep houseplants such as Peace Lily or English Ivy indoors.
With Fall also being the start of cold & flu season, it's even more essential to strengthen your Lung Qi during it's associated season. The Lung Meridian System has a connection to our immune system so I hope this information will be helpful for the coming months. Issues such as allergies, sinusitis, and upper respiratory conditions including the common cold can be addressed naturally using the wisdom of Chinese Medicine.
In addition to the tips above, acupressure, other dietary measures, ear seeds, and herbal medicine are all tools within the scope of Chinese Medicine that can be easily implemented at home.
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- Dr. Lesley
P.S. Here are a few books that can be a great resources for you at home:
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