With fall comes the return to busy routines of work, school, and perhaps preparing the home for upcoming winter festivities or holiday travel. Increased exposure to people in close quarters and increased demands on our time and energy may bring “back to school” colds and respiratory ailments that affect the whole family.
In traditional life, fall was the time of harvest, for gathering our resources to guard against the adversity and scarcity of winter. It was the season to lay in supplies and eat heartily before fresh foods diminish.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the season of supporting the lungs, sinuses, and immune system with specific foods, treatments, and herbs.
In 2018, our bodies still carry a connection to nature and we still benefit from living in harmony with each season. What can you do this fall to support your lungs, sinuses, and immune system and ward off colds and flus?
Tips for finding your fall groove:
- Eat seasonal foods: There are still many kinds of fresh produce to be had in fall, but our cooking style should change with the season. Prepare vegetables warm and serve with aromatic seasonings, grilled, or roasted meats and warm grains. Minimize cheese, milk, and cream to keep phlegm at a minimum.
- Examples: Roasted squash, caramelized red onions with cumin, star anise or ginger over quinoa. Roasted sweet potatoes with garlic and thyme served with grilled lamb sausage.
- Eat local, raw honey: See my article highlighting a local beekeeper and purchase local raw honey here.
- Breathe: Take a few minutes morning and night to sit quietly and inhale for a count of 4, hold 2 and exhale for a count of 4. Practice breathing into the very back and bottom of your lungs. This will both calm your nervous system and bring more oxygen into your body. Both are great for bolstering immune function.
- Sleep: Our bodies do most of their repair and restoration during sleep. Without it, your health, mood, and immunity can start to break down. Eight hours is vital for the prevention of a host of ills. If you have trouble sleeping, I offer acupuncture for insomnia.
- Take herbs to support your health: Depending on your area of weakness, it can make sense to have a few specific herbal formulas to have on hand like Yin Qiao for colds, Respitrol CF for cough, Immune + to prevent colds, Pinellia XPT to expectorate phlegm and Pueraria Clear Sinus to clear phlegm and congestion from the nose.
- Get Acupuncture: Weekly in the fall before the holiday season takes over. This is especially important for those who catch colds and flus frequently.
- Enjoy your life: This is the most underrated yet essential element for health. Do what you love, with people you love and who inspire you, and take the time to enjoy and appreciate what is right here, right now. The fall offers unique pleasures to enjoy like changing leaves, sweaters, and in the Bay Area, extended summer. Enjoy it all!
For help finding your fall groove, Dr. Giulietta Octavio uses acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, nutrition, Gua Sha, counseling, Chi Nei Tsang, cupping, and herbal medicine to help patients in the Bay Area, at WholeFamily MD and Integral Body. For more information or to schedule an appointment, click here.