Knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The Abundance of Autumn in Preparation for the Winter

By Gigi Vincentine Dr. TCM Dip., R. TCM. P., R. Ac.

Welcome to Fall! A lot of us didn’t want summer to end, I know.  However now that the cooler weather is here, I’m looking forward to hunkering down and getting to “work” on all those things I didn’t get around to on those hot and summer days.  A few of those things are about getting back to routine and taking care of myself.

This first starts in my garden.  Will I ever get to all those tomatoes, beets, carrots and grapes?  Well I did one canning job a week, and that was manageable.  Canning of course started at the beginning of civilization, when we were no longer hunter gatherers.  I always feel a great sense of satisfaction when my family and I are eating our own food in the middle of winter.  So this brings us to the foods we could be eating now to build our immune systems for the colder months.  Root vegetables! And lots of them. Beets, Carrots, Potatoes, Yams, Parsnips, Onions, Garlic.  Eat them in a soup or grill them in the oven. Adding them to bone broths can help strengthen the digestive system and support good gut flora.

I just came across Rosemary Gladstar’s Fire Cider recipe and jumped on it this year

  • ¼ cup ginger (chopped up)
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • Put in large mason jar (1quart)
  • Fill to the top with apple cider vinegar
  • Let sit for 4-6 weeks, drain and add honey to taste

So when I’m feeling cold and run down, this should do the trick to help prevent common colds and flu, increase my circulation, and clear phlegm.

The Fall, in Chinese Medicine, relates to the Metal Element which corresponds to the Lung and Large Intestine. It’s important to keep our lungs open and our chest turned outward. Don’t let yourself “cave in”. A simple exercise to do this is to wave your arms from front to back on a horizontal plane and clap. Doing circles with your arms or simply thumping your chest like a gorilla. This all helps promote circulation to the chest and keep viruses, bacteria, and phlegm out.  For the Large Intestine (hence digestion), it’s time for more warm and cooked foods. We don’t have the summer heat to help us digest so put more heat in your food i.e. garlic, onion, cayenne and ginger is my favorite. Raw foods take more energy to digest, so if you are feeling a little low, try and reduce your intake of them. Make apple sauce with ginger instead of eating cold fruit. Make oatmeal with berries and ginger instead of cold cereals and milk. 

The emotion that corresponds to the Metal Element is sadness or grief.  In my practice I refer to it as a feeling of “homesickness”. For me that’s the best way to describe it. For others there can be a real sense of sadness or grief for no apparent reason, especially if they have a history of lung issues.  Keep that chest open and know that it will pass.

Fall is the perfect time of year to boost your immune system. Gentle tonics include Astragalus and Elder berry.  For kids in particular (because it tastes so good) Elder Berry syrup can be a great way to keep those viruses away.  Add some fish oils and chewable probiotics and that’s far fewer colds this season.

In my practice, this is the time of year I encourage my patients with Asthma, COPD, or Low Immunity to come for a series of treatments before the Winter Season is upon us.

More articles by Gigi Vincentine - Eating and Living with the Season

Winter

Being Present, Listening…to Ourselves


Spring 

A Time for Cleansing


Summer

Summer Hot Fun Joy Abundance…


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