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The Season Of Autumn And The TCM Element Of Metal

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Autumn is a time of gathering and harvesting and Metal is the element it is associated with. This is the time when we crave foods that are warm in nature and the time when the weather turns cooler. Nature starts moving downward and inward; plants wither and leaves fall off trees. Fruits and nuts fall to the ground as rhizomes and roots of plants collect energies in their roots, which for our fall menu are ready to harvest. More root veggies become accessible, as well as fungi/mushrooms that nourishes and reinforces digestive fire, enabling us to “digest” ideas, thoughts, and foods better. Those foods strengthen also our Defensive Qi (immunity) against pathogenic infiltrations. Because autumn is a dryer season, keeping food moist by cooking with liquids is key to preventing dry organs, tissues, and skin. The taste of autumn is pungent; to avoid drying out keep, it to a minimum. To aid in the internal flow of energy, add in small amounts to your diet foods that are sour. Set on your table moistening and warming foods such as rosemary, thyme, savory, sage, garlic, olive oils, hemps, nut butters, tofu, cauliflower, radish, leek, barley, and mushrooms.

The season of the Large Intestine/Lung organ system is autumn and to make them function optimally, we need to keep these organs moist. How you cook will and prepare food will depend on climate and geographic location. Cooking with a little alcohol (sherry/wine), broth, or water, for a longer period of time at a lower temperature, as in using a crock pot /slow-cooker is highly recommended. Other good choices would be simmering, roasting, and covered baking on the stove. Late fall would be a good time to start adding salty and bitter foods to the diet to prepare for winter. Those foods have a downward/inward moving and contracting direction that which can help preserve our energies for the long winter.

Foods That Have a Pungent Taste

Functions: Boost Chi circulation (outward and upward, to the body’s periphery), dispel Wind, disperse mucus (Phlegm/Damp) and stimulate digestion.

Foods: cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, parsnip, kohlrabi, rutabaga/turnip, taro, horseradish, romaine lettuce, radish, and onion family.

Spices/Herbs: cilantro, chive, parsley, garlic, rosemary, basil, cinnamon, ginger, anise, dandelion, caraway, black peppercorn, cardamom, coriander, cumin, clove, fennel, dill, mint family (lemon balm, basil, spearmint, peppermint, etc.)

The Emotion of Metal – Grief

The emotion associated with the Metal element is grief which is also the emotion associated with Autumn. People with healthy lungs have the ability to keep commitments and hold onto their principles. When the time comes time to let go of something (physical or emotional, like a relationship) they let go without any repression of their emotions. They give themselves the freedom to grieve (feel the loss), resolve the loss, and then move on. People having weak lungs (sadness/repressed grief) have a real hard time letting go and may hold on to irrational fondness to another person or to their possessions. Suppressed grief can cause the lungs to over-expand, generating Chi stagnation in the upper cavity, which prevents the free movement of Chi. This can create problems such as disorders of the lymphatic and venous (vascular) systems, dehydration, skin problems, intestinal disorders (especially the colon), and respiratory disorders. The emotion of Grief is very important and can be used in a productive way to help us get through difficult times; physical manifestations will only arise when we refuse to let it go (at a profound internal level).

Phoenix Rising Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic is an acupuncture clinic in Saratoga Springs, NY providing Chinese medicine treatments for many health conditions.

Written by Valerie

February 26th, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Acupuncture