Autumn Herbs and Foods: Transitioning and Strengthening
The B. Tree Autumn CSA Share is about supporting the body and spirit as we move away from the bright, outside exuberance of summer and the air turns chilly, the days getting noticeably shorter. I focus on herbs that help to bring light and joy into the heart, that help the body maintain balance with a healthy immune system and a nourished nervous system.
For this year’s Autumn CSA offerings, click here!
Autumn is about inspiration, acknowledgement, slowing down, letting go, and beginning to move inward. The abundance of late summer is waning, leaves and fruits are falling, the grasses are drying out, the sap of trees is moving down into the roots. As we prepare for the quiet introspection of winter, we can support our bodies through this seasonal shift with pungent and sour foods, hearty stews, baked roots, and immune support.
The Lungs and Large Intestine
In Chinese medicine, the autumn is the time of the lungs and their corresponding organ, the colon. The lungs are about taking in, receptivity, and inspiration, just as they take in air with each inhale. They are part of the body’s defense against disease and airborne viruses. As the weather cools and colds start to spread, we do well to support our lungs. The large intestine is about letting go of what no longer serves so that movement can happen and the next phase of life can come. It is about fully grieving loss so that one can fully move on with increased vitality.
Protective and Cleansing Foods and Herbs
Pungent and mucilaginous foods help to protect the membrane of the lungs and colon as well as cleanse out some of the stuck toxins and excess mucus. Dark green and golden orange vegetables are protective because they are rich in beta-carotene (provitamin A). The green foods are especially helpful because their chlorophyll inhibits viruses and helps the lungs clear out toxic residues. Fiber is also extremely important for lung and colon health and cleansing. It is the indigestible part of food: the bran of grains, the pulp of fruit, the cell walls of veggies. There is essentially no fiber in animal products.
So let’s feed our bodies all the delicious autumn foods that are naturally available at this time of year: red peppers, orange butternut squash, yellow tomatoes, turnip greens, blueberries, purple eggplant. What an incredible rainbow of local harvest!
The above Five Elements Chinese Medicine info is from:
Healing With Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, Paul Pitchford, 2002