Healthy Fall Tips From Traditional Chinese Medicine

It doesn’t feel much like Fall here in the Valley of the Sun, but Fall is definitely here. Mornings are a little cooler now, and nights will soon be too.

Fall is the time of harvesting, the time to settle down and prepare for the cooler and quiet winter months. It is a time to be strong and have structure, finish all the spring and summer projects, savor the fruit of our hard work, and focus more on cultivating our minds and bodies.

These are some Fall season associations:

Element: Metal

Organs: Lung and Large intestine

Color: White

Taste: Pungent

Emotion: Grief and sadness

Stage of development: Harvest

When the lungs and Large intestine are not strong enough…

It can be common during this season to experience lung or large intestine symptoms if these organs are deficient.

Some signs or symptoms indicating that these organs need attention are frequent colds, cough, seasonal allergies, bronchitis, sinus problems, asthma, digestive problems, and constipation.

Because the large intestine helps the body eliminate waste, in Chinese medicine, constipation can result from difficulty “letting go” of physical or emotional baggage.

These are some recommendations for a healthy Fall season from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • Eat pungent foods. They specifically affect the lungs and large intestine. Hot peppers and chilies are great options, but pungent white foods, such as onions, garlic, turnip, ginger, and horseradish, should also be included. If you experience heat signs (hot flashes, night sweats, yellow mucus, red face, sore throat, hot palms, and soles), instead of chilies, choose cooling pungent white foods like cabbage, radish, daikon radish, and white peppercorn.
  • Eat dark green and golden-orange vegetables: carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, broccoli, parsley, kale, turnip, mustard greens, and nettles. These foods are rich in beta carotene (a precursor of vitamin A), essential for a strong immune system and healthy skin and mucous membranes.
  • Make sure there is enough fiber in your diet, especially insoluble fiber, to help the large intestine function of elimination. Insoluble fiber helps food move through your digestive system, helping prevent constipation. Some foods with insoluble fiber are quinoa, brown rice, legumes, leafy greens, almonds, walnuts, seeds, and fruit.
  • Prefer warm and cooked foods. Cut back on salads and smoothies that were perfect for summer but can weaken your digestion during this time of the year. Instead, eat cooked vegetables and the ones that are in season.
  • Take good probiotics. They will strengthen your digestive and immune function.
  • Slow down. Go to bed earlier, take deep breaths, and relax.
  • Practice “letting go.” As the large intestine (the organ of this season) “let’s go” of the waste, fall is the time to “let go” of anything that we are holding onto and make space for experiences that can let us grow.
  • When windy and cold, cover yourself. In Chinese medicine, the back of the neck is especially vulnerable to wind and cold, so ensure your neck is covered. Bundle up when needed!

And, of course, get acupuncture! Acupuncture can help you get your lungs and large intestine stronger! Get healthy and stay healthy with acupuncture!


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