Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Awesome Autumn the Chinese Medicine Way

It seems like summer is barely over, and here it is time to write about autumn. Autumn is a time dominated by the Metal Element, which involves the Lung and Large Intestine function and meridians. Its quality is dryness, although as summer turns to autumn there can still be dampness afoot. Some schools of Chinese medicine see the first weeks of switching from one season to the next as pertaining to Earth element, in which Spleen and Stomach function is dominant. If you have digestive issues, they can flare up as your body makes the transition from one season to the other. A mild cleanse of broth-based soup and simple grains will warm your stomach and get your digestion ready for the heartier foods of winter. Eating warm, natural foods, with ginger, mint, or other mild herbs (oregano, basil, etc.) will usually calm mild belly jitters.
The emotions of autumn are grief, nostalgia, and letting go. You may find old sadnesses cropping up again. I always hit a wave of nostalgia every autumn, and often pore over old picture books, missing friends who have drifted away and family that have died. If you suffer from depression, it may worsen this time of year. Extra acupuncture or herbal treatment, or medication if necessary, can help you adjust to the season.
Autumn is a great time to clean house in preparation for Winter. Looking over your commitments and belongings to decide what you want to keep, and what you want to release is also especially suited to this time of year. If you have kids in school, you are doing this anyway, deciding what new clothes and supplies each child needs, and remembering the years that have gone by.
There are foods to help your body adjust more easily to autumn. Soups of any kind, especially broth-based vegetable soups using seasonal vegetables are best. Adding meat with warming qualities, like lamb, venison, or goat, is also healthy. Fruits that are juicy will moisten the lungs and build your immune system for the coming cold and flu season. Pears are especially good at fighting phelgm and moistening the lungs. Adding some ginger and chopped walnuts or pecans to cooked pears makes them even better for you.
Autumn is a time when Metal energy is strongest. Metal deals with your body's immune system and sense of boundaries, and plays a large role in your sense of order. Picking activities to do each autumn year after year gives you a sense of stability. Picking apples, snuggling with your family for movie night, or going over your goals for the next year--or five--give you a tradition to follow each autumn, appealing to this season's sense of order.
What are your favorite parts of Autumn? Do you have traditions you follow each year? Please share in the comments!

Photo by Teresa Green

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