Autumn Notes // Portland Apothecary // 2013
Associations with Autumn in Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Element// Metal Organ//Lungs Color// White Direction//West Emotion//Grief
The air has a slight chill to it and the sun is hitting the earth at a slightly different angle with it’s astonishing golden light. The spiders are spinning their webs and the winter squashes are ripe on the vine. The yang energy of Summer is beginning to give way to the approaching yin energy of Winter. All of these reminders indicate that we are leaving the warmth of Summer and moving into a time of longer nights and cooler weather. As the leaves change color and we bring in the harvest and bounty of summer, it’s also important to focus on some preventative health measures to ensure that you are fortified and ready to face the oncoming Autumn & Winter months. We give careful consideration to the physical and emotional demands of the season both in curating and making your Autumn CSH Shares.
Transitions between the seasons can be a little tricky. Our bodies and minds have to adjust to the changing light, temperature and pace. The primary organ associated with Autumn in Chinese Medicine are the Lung, and we all know this season can be full of respiratory colds and flus. Here are some suggestions and associations that can help us avoid being susceptible:
>>>Cover up. Dress in layers so you can easily keep warm, and in particular wear a scarf. All the acupuncture points on the back of the neck are named after wind. In TCM it is a commonly held belief that disease travels on the wind so it is best to keep those wind points on the back of the neck covered up against the elements. Might sound odd, but we’re telling you, it’s truly preventative.
>>>Start primarily eating warm foods again. It’s time to keep the core of your body warm, so begin to think about your eating habits, and cooking methods. Start to roast and slow cook your foods again. Braising and baking are all methods appropriate for the season. If you are still eating raw foods, be sure to add warming spices like ginger, chilies and garlic to them.
>>>Mind your skin. It’s our largest organ and a major pathway for detoxification! Dry skin can be a problem with the weather change, so pay attention to your moisturizers. Use shea, coconut butter and other natural oil based moisturizers when possible and avoid products containing chemical parabens. Also stimulate your lymphatic system with some dry skin brushing before hopping in the shower. To dry brush simply use a dry soft, natural bristle shower brush and briskly brush your skin towards your heart.
>>>Focus on your breath. Set aside some time to take some deep belly breaths. This will ensure increased oxygen flow to your body, which in turn helps sustain energy and the ability to focus. We’re moving into darker days and deep focused breathing can help you adjust to, and benefit from, the natural inclination to turn inward.
>>>Nurture Community. As Autumn progresses and Winter nears, we have less daylight and spend more hours in the dark of night, or under grey skies. Keep in mind the Lungs are associated with grief and while a good cry to your favorite song is healthy, you don’t want to get stuck there. Make friend dates, have a cup of tea on the porch bundled in a blanket, find a good book series to read, plan a dinner with people you love or gear up and take a hike through the forest…you get the picture, involve yourself.