In Chinese medicine, the Lung (the delicate organ) is easily damaged by “dry evil,” which is generally at its height in Autumn. Dryness wreaks havoc on Lung Qi. Your lungs are responsible for the infusion of Qi throughout the entire body. Therefore, the health of your lungs is not just about the organ, it involves the respiration of healthy Qi down to a cellular level. Caring for your respiratory system now means you are also protecting Qi, which is a precious resource your body needs to process all of the functions in the body.
Fall weather can dry out our skin, our nostrils, and maybe even our lungs. If your lungs are ‘drying’ out, then you’ll also notice a slight ache when breathing chilled air, or you may have a dry cough in the mornings and late afternoon without being sick.
The Lungs (and its yang organ pairing, Large Intestine) are considered in charge of our skin, our nostrils, and our immune system. The two organs are associated with the ability to grieve properly, experience nostalgia, and the ability to let go of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we do not need.
Autumn is the time to strengthen the lungs and large intestines, particularly if you notice that instead of experiencing nostalgia, you may actually feel melancholy and a lack of inspiration. Or if the large intestine needs more attention, you may find it hard to let go of negative thoughts, emotions, and even small interactions that normally wouldn’t bother you. Physically, you may feel slight tension in your chest, struggle a little more with phlegm, and tend towards dry or cracking skin. If you notice these symptoms, then it is a great time to start incorporating some of the therapies below.
Below are a few ways to care for your Lungs and protect yourself from Cold/Flu season:
* Dry, scratchy throat or lungs? Try eating poached pears on your oatmeal, or for a sweet treat at the end of the day, or make a pear chia pudding, (recipe coming Friday). You can also try a hot infusion of marshmallow root or drink Throat Coat tea.
* Want a daily tonic for respiratory support? Try Cordyceps from Mushroom Harvest, a company out of Sequim Wa.
* Modulate inflammation with Vitamin C. The lungs are highly vascularized and Vitamin C helps maintain glutathione levels in the body, which protects tissues like the lung.
* Eat foods that have naturally occurring glutathione, such as asparagus, spinach, garlic, avocado, squash, zucchini, and potatoes.
* Make a batch of Golden Milk to help mitigate inflammation in the body. I like Farmacopia’s recipe. They also have a great blog with loads of recipes and food/herbal inspiration.
* Cleanse your lungs with sound healing. There are two sounds used to cleanse the Lung. The first activates the emotional energy (Sang) and the second activates the physical (Si-si). Repeat each 3x daily, preferably upon waking.
* Daily dry brushing all over your body will stimulate your lymph system, which helps filter waste that ends up outside of your bloodstream.
If you’d like to learn more about nutritional tips to support the lungs this fall, check out the nutrition video Autumn The Season of The Lungs And Large Intestine created by Lindsey Thompson, founder of Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic here.
- Renée Klorman is a seasoned practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine with a focus on movement. She practices in Walla Walla, WA at the Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic, and spends most of her time in the outdoors when not immersed in Chinese medicine.