Red and yellow leaves, pumpkin and squash, black cats, and creepy crawlers — autumn is upon. Autumn marks the end of the growing season and the beginning of the yin cycle. A transitory season balanced between a season of highest yang (summer) and of highest yin (winter). It is a great season to take stock of the year successes and losses and to plan ahead for the upcoming winter and year.
In the cosmology of Chinese medicine autumn is a season marked by the metal element. Metal energy is consolidating and promotes inward movement, like a flower closing its petals. The metal energy gives us strength and determination for the winter ahead and contemplation of the harvest we’ve reaped.
According to Wu Xing (five elements) metal governs the lungs and respiratory system making it a great time of the year to fortify these systems. Traditionally, autumn is seen as a time for dryness, which can negatively affect the lungs. Symptoms of dryness include thirst, dryness of skin, nose, lips, and throat, and itchiness. There are many herbs and formulas that can assist in shoring up the lungs for this pervasive pathogen. Bai He Ju Gin Tang which translates to Lily Bulb to Preserve the Metal decoction is a classic formula for lung dryness. This formula is often used to treat cough and chronic bronchitis.
As autumn is a time to contract inward, more soured flavored foods can aid in this process. These include sauerkraut, olives, pickles, leeks, rose hip tea, lemons, limes, grapefruit, and sour varieties of apples, plums, and grapes. To aid the lungs with dryness: spinach, barley, millet, pear, persimmon, almond, pinenut, clam, crab, and mussel are most appropriate.
In general, autumn is a great time of the year to prepare the body for the challenging winter months ahead. We look to aid our patients with acupuncture and herbal remedies that will strengthen the lungs and respiratory systems, warding off the upcoming cold and flu season. Please contact us if you would like to know more on how to best prepare.
3)Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition 3rd ed. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, Ca. 2002.
5) PublicDomainPictures– pixabay.com – Uploaded 03/01/2012 (Leaf)
6) LoggaWiggler – pixabay.com – upload 10/26/2012 (Fall Forest)