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Fall Health the Natural and TCM Way

The fall crisp breezes mark the season, and with it comes the opportunity to create better habits for the upcoming holidays and the winter months. Autumn brings a renewed feeling of energy and motivation, and is the perfect time to develop an exercise routine, boost your immune system, and introduce fall superfoods and herbs into your diet. 

Many people associate the fall with the approaching cold and flu season. Boosting your immune system naturally can help ward off both. Sleep, hand washing, a healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies, increasing zinc intake, exercise, and stress reduction can all help strengthen immunity. Even spending time with friends or family and laughing can have feel-good positive effects on the immune system. 

The fall season is the beginning of the yin cycle in traditional Chinese medicine, and it is a 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 isn’t needed. 

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. TCM herbal formulas used to 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), an herb believed by some to enhance the body's immune system and offer antiviral properties. 

Autumn is also a dry season and moisturizing our skin and protecting it from cold air 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.