Fall brings more than colorful foliage 🍁, and pumpkin 🎃 spice lattes ☕️; it also brings a decline in temperature. This time is also associated with the cold & flu season, but that has more to do with our ability to adapt and prepare our immune system for the seasonal change. Fortunately, there are several things we can do.
You may have heard this before — in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each season is associated with certain organs and elements, along with foods that correspond to them. The fall / autumn is associated with the spleen (earth organ), and the color it corresponds to is yellow.
In general, eat more warming foods during fall and winter — yes you can still have your kale salad 🥗, just try not to make it the staple of your diet. Here is a partial list of foods and spices you can incorporate:
- black pepper
- steamed pears
- brown rice, rye, oats
- green, jasmine, raspberry leaf tea
- small portions of lamb, tuna, lean meats
- sesame, pumpkin seeds
When you hear the phrase “catch a cold”, TCM means that quite literally. We use term “wind invasion“, to describe wind as the pathogen that penetrates your skin, the largest organ in the body and first line of defense from physical and chemical attack. One of the main access points for wind is through the neck and back. Wearing a hat will help defend those vulnerable areas.
In addition to food and clothing, there is another item you can use to protect and boost your immune system, that’s mugwort (latin: artemesia vulgaris), commonly referred to in TCM as Moxa or Moxibustion. It is burned and applied indirectly or directly to the skin. Studies on the mechanism of moxa, show that the heat generated is near the far infrared spectrum, penetrating into the shallow and deep muscle layers.