Autumn is the beginning of the yin cycle in traditional
Chinese medicine, it is time full of movement and change, particularly
wind. The Lungs and Large intestine are
the organs most associated with the fall and are important to be kept in
balance at this time of the year. Lung
qi gathers and maintains strength and the large intestines “let go” of what
The Lungs are also associated with the immune system and to
the protective qi (wei qi). Wei qi is
controlled by the Lungs and produced by the Spleen. If wei qi is imbalanced, colds, flu, and
allergy symptoms can be common. Fresh
ginger can be helpful for strengthening wei qi.
Pungent food and herbs are important for the Lungs, they are
yang and ascending, helping to clear and open the Lungs. They also encourage
wind to the leave the body. Some pungent
foods include, capers, cardamom, chives, cinnamon, cloves, dill, leek, oregano,
nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, wheat germ, watercress, cabbage, ginger,
turnip, horseradish, pepper, onions, garlic, and chili peppers.
TCM herbal formulas which strengthen wei qi, dispel wind,
and nourish the lung and stomach yin are good choices for the fall months. Astra 8, a traditional herbal formula,
combines the advantages of an immune system enhancer with an energy tonic. It
contains astragalus (huang qi), a herb that some believe can enhance the body's
immune system and offers antiviral properties.
Autumn is also a dry season and protecting our skin from
cold air and moisturizing skin are also important. Warm liquids, such as tea and soups are
preferred in the fall and less salads and cold foods are recommended. Foods
such as yam and pear, nourish the Lungs and yin. Finally, staying hydrated during autumn
months will help moisten the body.