Autumn is finally here! The air is crisp. The raucous cawing of crows rains down from the trees near my home, and the first hint of smokey oak wafts from a neighbors chimney. Autumn is my favorite season of the year. It marks a welcome change from the hot, humid summer months and heralds a season filled with home-baked goods, thick savory stews, and evenings with family and friends.
Autumn is a wonderful time to prepare our bodies for the change in season and the common health issues that come with it. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes our relationship with nature and how our bodies are influenced by changes in weather, temperature and the geography of where we live. Each season is connected with a major Zang-Fu organ system. The lungs and intestines are associated with Autumn. Common ailments during this season may involve allergies, a dry cough or cold, and your digestion may become unpredictable.
Here are a few things you can do to nourish your health:
It’s ok to slow down: Fall is the perfect time to slow down and place your health at the top of your To Do list. Follow natures example of conserving energy by reflecting on where you spend yours. What activities revitalize you? What leaves you feeling drained? Be an advocate for your immune system by reducing activities that stress you out and lower your immune defense. Autumn is a great time to curl up with your favorite book and catch up on your Netflix movie list.
- Heal with whole foods: Get back to the basics and use food to address health complaints. Whole foods have the added benefit of improving symptoms without the negative effects of some prescription drugs.
- Sooth a dry, sore throat with a cooling Yin nourishing tea: Mint (or peppermint) tea with a swirl of honey or Warm the juice of 1/2 a lemon, then add a teaspoon of honey. This combination creates a wonderful, coating along the throat!
- Loosen up thick, difficult to expel phlegm with the following recipe: Boil 1/2 a cup of green beans and 6 grams of licorice (see your acupuncturist for the licorice) in 1.5 cups of water; boil down to one cup and add two teaspoons of honey. Cool until warm, then drink it up! This lovely combination loosens phlegm and soothes the throat.
- For chronic diarrhea: Steam green beans and serve over 1 cup of warm, white rice. Yes, I said “white rice”. Although white rice can lead to blood sugar spikes, it’s easier for the intestines to digest than brown rice. This is why white rice is best when the digestive system is upset.
- Power up with Qi Gong: Boost your immune system with the following Qi cultivating exercises. Check out Lee Holden’s “Qi Gong Morning Ritual Routine“.