Traditionally we begin harvesting our produce in Autumn, ready to stow away for winter. We make pickles, dry foods and prepare for the months to come when food is scarce. Energetically, we should be doing the same thing – protecting our energy and nourishing our bodies ready to cope with the oncoming cold season. Fortunately, Chinese medicine has a wealth of food knowledge to prepare for the coming change!
Wind is often a fixture here in Perth during the end of summer and beginning of autumn. With the wind comes and dryness. Dryness is represented with dry lips, dry skin, itchiness, dry throat, dry cough or constipation.
How to help reduce a dry throat
To treat dryness in autumn, you will need to add moistening foods to your diet, including soy milk, spinach, barley, pears, apples, persimmons, mushrooms, almonds, pinepnuts, milk, eggs and pork.
If you have a dry throat and dry cough, honey in warm water before bed will help.
Build your immune system in autumn
Something else that the wind brings with it is disease. During autumn it is important to make sure your immunity is bolstered – and in Chinese medicine, we do that with food and lifestyle choices that support our Wei Qi (pronounced Way Chi).
According to Chinese medicine practices, it is important during autumn to reduce sweating, unless we are sick. When we sweat our Wei Qi is opened to pathogens. But, if we are sick, you want to open things up and get pathogens out – as in, you want to sweat when you are sick.
When you are sick, try eating fresh ginger and green onions, even spicy foods, to help you sweat. But if you have a lowered immunity, it is better to protect your Wei Qi and avoid foods or exercise that leaves you overly sweaty.
Overall, remember that autumn is a time for gathering your resources, building yourself up and boosting your immune system. Try to eat white, and pungent flavoured foods, and keep yourself warm.
Leek and Potatoe Soup
(Builds energy, improves digestion)
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups potatoes, cubed
1 small sweet potatoe, cubed
Handful of fresh parsley
To make: saute the leeks in butter until translucent. Add the stock and potatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Add parsley, blend soup. Serve with pepper to flavour.
Starting to feel sick?
Cut up 3 – 4 green onions, including white part, and a few slices of ginger, then place in a teapot. Pour boiling water over the top, allow to cool down. Add honey if it makes it easier to drink.