Harvest Time: Chinese Medicine Tips for a Healthy Fall

Image by Eugene Mykulyak via Unsplash

(NOTE: This is a re-post from our old blog)

It sure feels like autumn: The air smells crisper, days are getting shorter, local gardens are starting to churn prepare for winter crops, kids are back in school.

Fall season is all about consolidating our energy and getting ready for winter. In Chinese medicine this time of the year is associated with the element/energy of Metal and the organ systems of Lung and Large Intestine. Fall is a good time to strengthen our respiratory and digestive systems and to boost our immune system in preparation for the cold and flu season.

In Chinese medicine the Lung system governs respiration and elimination. It is responsible for the receiving energy in the form of the breath and acting as the first line of defense against external pathogens.  A weak Lung system can make us more susceptible to colds, allergies, asthma. The Large Intestine is considered to be a pair organ to Lungs in Chinese medicine, and its job is to help us absorb nutrients and eliminate unwanted waste.  On the emotional level Lungs and Large Intestine are helpful regulators of what we take in and let go of in our daily lives.
Here are a few tips to help you balance your body as we enter the Fall season:


Support the Lung System in warding off pathogens by drinking plenty of fluids, doing the sinus rinse daily and wearing scarf. In acupuncture theory, the back of our neck is a particularly vulnerable place where cold and wind can invade easily.


Warm up your diet: Help your body adjust to the cooler weather by cooking your food slightly longer that in the summer and replace the raw salad with cooked veggies or a warming soup. Pay attention to the produce that is prominent at the farmer’s market and incorporate those foods into your diet. Enjoy Fall’s bounty of root vegetables and beautiful winter squashes! Try these recipes from Gastronicity blog. For more details on seasonal eating and great recipes, we recommend the wonderful book Real Food All Year by Nishanga Bliss (available for sale at Sarana)


Think pungent: Pungent flavor is associated with Lung system in Chinese medicine. Pungent and slightly spicy foods traditionally help stimulate the lungs, break up excess mucus and improve the function of respiratory system. Think of onions, garlic, leeks, radishes and turnips. Add some fresh ginger to your soup!


Ferment some change: fermented foods help our gut function better, aiding healthy digestion and elimination, so keep up with probiotic food consumption such as yogurt, miso and sauerkraut.


Get Regular Acupuncture: consistent acupuncture treatments can help you transition through the change of seasons in good health. Acupuncture can assist in relieving stress, help you get sounder sleep and re-balance your energy. It can help boost your immune function and settle the mind, helping you let go and focus your attention more within as we get ready for the winter season. Make an appointment today!


Have a very healthy Fall!

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