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photo by Cristina Warseck

In Chinese Medicine, we believe that every season gives us the opportunity to strengthen and balance the organ systems.

In the Autumn, we strengthen and balance the Lungs.

Some of the issues that we connect to Lung weakness include lowered immune system, frequently catching colds and flus, cough, seasonal allergies, frequent sinus infections, asthma, and skin issues (such as acne, rashes, hives, eczema, psoriasis).

Although we can address issues connected to the Lung year-round, the Autumn season is the time of year where we can most powerfully support the Lungs. In fact, for those with Spring allergies, we start to strengthen the Lungs in the Fall to lessen the allergies in the Spring.

Keeping the Lungs healthy keeps the immune system strong to prevent colds and flus.

It also may help the body recover faster and more completely from colds and flus (lessening the lingering cough that happens for some people).

Consider these suggestions for boosting Lung health:

  • Eat foods that are in season. You will notice the seasonal foods of autumn at your local farmer’s market.
  • In Chinese Medicine, we recommend specific Lung-strengthening foods which are naturally fresh foods that are “white” or have white centers– like cauliflower, almonds, daikon radish, potatoes, turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, apple, pear, rice, oats, sesame seeds, onion, garlic, and white peppercorns.  (Please note that white flour and white sugar are not part of these Lung-strengthening foods! In fact, they can further deplete the immune system.)
  • Eat fermented foods daily to optimize intestinal flora for immune health and digestion health. This includes my favorite fermented food: sauerkraut. Other fermented foods include kim chi, kombucha, kefir soda, dairy kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese, and sour cream. (Please note that dairy foods can create increased phlegm and mucous for some people. If you have allergies, asthma, skin issues or are in the middle of a cold or flu, avoiding dairy foods might improve your symptoms).

As the weather cools, we recommend to keep the body warm through warm foods, warm drinks and warmer clothes.

This simple recommendation supports the natural intuitive shift that many people will notice as the temperatures drop.

  • Minimize icy cold foods in your diet (for example: iced drinks, iced smoothies, ice cream) which will decrease your body temperature.
  • Drink warm or room temperature water and herbal teas to keep your body hydrated and toasty. Rooibos, green tea (contains caffeine), peppermint tea, chamomile tea, licorice tea and various seasonal herbal teas (like Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea) are especially helpful this time of the year.
  • Start your day with a warm breakfast- oatmeal or cooked grains, eggs, toast, sweet potato or squash, congee, meat patties, even soup can be an option for breakfast.
  • Stay warm by wearing layers. Wear a scarf to cover the back of your neck. In the acupuncture system, there are important Lung points on the back of the neck. These points are important to keep warm in order to keep your immune system strong. A scarf is also soothing if you have a sore throat- the warmth will bring more blood flow to your throat and help you heal faster.

There are also lifestyle factors that we can implement to support the Lungs.

  • Strengthen the Lungs by exercising, stretching, and moving your body.
  • Practice meditation, breathing exercises, qi gong and tai qi to strengthen the Lungs through conscious breathing.

In Chinese Medicine, we treat the whole person and create customized treatment recommendations based on your individual needs.

If you have immune system or Lung issues, schedule an appointment for customized suggestions to help your body heal and be well. In your first visit, we will review your health history, your current health issues, and together we will create a treatment plan that may include acupuncture, herbs, and foods to restore health.

This article is a continuation of a previous article: Part 1: Living in Harmony with the Seasons: Autumn

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