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Traditional Chinese Medicine Adapting to Autumn

by Dr. Hua Bing Wen:  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), each season corresponds to an organ system; the fall season corresponds to the lungs.

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In the autumn months, the climate is predominately dry and can easily injure the lungs, which prefer moisture. From a physiological standpoint, the lungs need to be moist in order for them to function properly and facilitate the exchange of gases into the blood stream. The lungs are also one of the most important organs in the body; without breath there is no life.

Fall weather can affect children, elderly and people with chronic lung disease. During this season, people with chronic lung disease usually struggle due to the dryness, especially individuals with asthma. The TCM principles state that man should live by the seasons and go with the flow of nature. In the fall, you should increase your fluid intake to keep the lungs moist.

With that in mind you can control this through dietary changes such as consuming seasonal fall produce like pears and squashes. A bad fall food would be watermelon because it is a summer fruit which acts as a diuretic by draining critical fluids from your body. Your goal should be to persevere and maintain the fluid level in the body and not to drain fluids that are needed to keep the lungs moist. Try to avoid pungent foods that are considered warm and hot, like ginseng and hot spices. Meats, like lamb and beef are also considered hot and should be avoided during the fall. Vegetables that can increase fluids are pumpkin, winter squashes, kale and broccoli; these types of foods nourish the fluids in the body.

Grief and sadness are emotional aspects in the fall that correspond to the lungs. If the lung function is already weak it will naturally have a tendency to feel grief and sadness, so during this season you need to strengthen the lungs and provide more fluids to help physiological and emotional aspects of your health. Every season there is a change and by living with the season and adapting to the change it can help improve wellness.

fruit-bowl-sm.jpg   Steamed Pear for Dry Cough Recipe

Ingredients:  1 Pear, Chuan Bei Mu ( Sichuan Frillaria Bulb), Water

Directions:

1. Rinse the pear and chuan bei mu. Then remove the core of the pear.

2. Add Chuan Bei Mu to the core of the pear.

3. Place the pear in steamer for about 10 -15 mins.

4. Remove from steamer and enjoy the pear whole. You can also drink the juice from the bowl.

Source:  Acupuncture Center

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