Keeping healthy in Autumn

Early Autumn.

This weekend has been a perfect couple of Autumnal days.

Warm enough in the sunshine to encourage my bees out for a last bit of nectar gathering but not warm enough for a brave skinny dipper at Beacon tarn to get in further than his ankles!

In Chinese medicine this is one of the two most powerful times of the year (the other being early Spring).

The late Summer time of plentiful food, daylight and warmth start moving into Autumn with its rapidly shortening days, drenching dews and first frosts.

This is the season of the Lungs in TCM. It’s a time when a lot of people catch chesty colds, andasthma can worsen temporarily. Because of the connection between the Lungs in TCM and skin, I often see more skin problems at this time of year too.

Historically the Chinese have always been very careful with their health at this time of year. In Japan too, when I lived there, the company canteen would be careful to add warming, pungent spices to our food.

The aim in Chinese medicine is to hold onto the health that we have gained through the Summer for as long as possible into the Winter months. It is thought helpful to avoid getting cold and wet, and to take special care drying off properly. In TCM open windows at night at this time of year, along with going to bed with wet hair, are thought to contribute towards stiff, painful necks and shoulders.

Using warming herbs and spices like ginger, coriander, pepper, cumin and turmeric in our food and home made drinks can help to stop the cold and damp from getting inside us!

In my next post I’ll write a few recipes aimed at restoring or maintaining health at this time of year.

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