Autumn is a breathtaking time of year to enjoy the natural world. As the season changes from warm to cool to cold, and the business of our modern world keeps charging forward at an ever-steady pace, we must remember to care for our precious health and wellness.
In traditional Asian medicine, we observe the natural world. From our lessons of the natural world, we learn how to treat our bodies, and make our medicines. Autumn is considered the season of metal energy. It marks the end of the growing season, when nature makes a final stunning display of abundant harvests, then the bareness, the coolness, the dryness, and the turning inward of energy sets in, in preparation for the winter to come. The metal elemental organs of the body are the lungs and the large intestine. Much like the functions of these organs, autumn is the time to both be inspired, and to let go. We must allow the leaves to fall from branches, in order to compost the soil for next year’s harvest. Similarly, in traditional Asian medicine, the autumn is the time to take care of our digestion and our immune systems. When our immune forces are not strong enough, we are faced with the perils of colds and flus, ear infections, sore throats, respiratory and sinus infections. Preventative medicine is a cornerstone of traditional Asian medicine, and we at Benedictine Healing Products not only have a wonderful line of traditional cold and flu remedies, we also have elegantly formulated herbal remedies for preventative care, along with some sage lifestyle guidance.
The digestive system plays a major role in our immune function. If we are digesting, assimilating nutrients, excreting our waste products effectively, and our symbiotic ecosystem is healthy, we tend to feel well. Unfortunately, in our modern culture we tend to over indulge in food and drinks that are rich and sugary, and that has serious effects on our immune, respiratory and digestive function. If we make good decisions for our health and wellness regularly, we build a strong foundation, which can withstand a little celebratory indulgence without feeling unwell as a result. The food we eat, the exercise we get, the way we breathe and settle emotions are some of the daily choices which can have profound influences on our health.
The autumn time is a beautiful season to eat warm, nourishing soup. There’s a reason traditional cultures from around the world revere soup and have healing soup recipes for every ailment under the sun. Soup is powerful tool for wellness in the cooler months. Soup is an easy to digest, nutrient rich, source of food and water, which deeply moistens dryness. Digestive systems love soups packed with vegetables, proteins, fats, broth and herbs. Using bone broth is great way to boost your soup nutrient density, and increase its healing properties. Our Holiday Bitters can also be a powerful formula traditionally used to boost digestive function. Bitter herbs stimulate the body to secrete its own endogenous digestive secretions, such as stomach acid and bile, improving the break down and assimilation of nutrients. When our digestion is functioning well we feel satiated are less prone to over indulgence. Holiday Bitters has a lovely, tasty digestive aperitif which can be enjoyed alone, or in a cocktail to assist in your celebratory wellness.
Breathing the cool autumn air, and getting your body moving is essential for the movement of qi, and the prevention of stagnation, which can lead to not feeling well, pain, impaired digestion and immune function. I suggest people find a way to move their bodies that they enjoy, whether that is Tai chi, yoga, dancing, hiking, going for a run, going to the gym, surfing, walking, or gardening, just enjoy doing it. It helps with motivation when you just love the way it makes you feel!
The holidays are not a happy time for everyone. Often the holiday season remind of loss, brings up feelings of grief, loneliness and despair. In traditional Asian medicine, the lungs are governed by the emotion of grief, for as many of you know, we often physically feel grief in our chest. The lungs are affected by the feelings of sadness and loss. We are all on this earth together. We all feel the loss of loved ones if we are lucky enough to live a full life of people we have loved, and been loved by in return. The holiday season can be a beautiful time to connect with people, to give and serve our fellow human beings. I find giving, and kindness to be a powerful tool in healing our own sadness, despair and grief, and remind us of the true beauty of the holiday season. Stress and our heavy emotions take a toll on our health. Finding tools that help with stress management and emotional well being are an essential aspect to holistic healthcare.
Traditional Asian medicine excels at preventative medicine, in part due to the variety of powerfully tonifying and adaptogenic herbs which come from Asia. Immune Plus showcases many of these powerful herbs, and is a truly powerhouse synergistic formula. When cold and flu season sets in, Immune Plus becomes an essential addition to my health and wellness. Adaptogenic herbs help us adapt to stress, and optimize the bodies innate ability to function. Traditionally, the herbs in Immune Plus have been used to increase our energy and stamina, optimize the function of the immune system to stave off illness, optimize the qi of the lungs and kidneys, to increase digestive function, and to decrease stagnation. The herbs in Immune Plus are also rich in vitamins, and minerals which nourish the cells of our immune system.
When the flu hits, we here at Benedictine Healing Products hit back. Chinese Cold and Flu is our version of the TCM Formula Chuan Xin Lian Pian. The traditional indications for this formula are clear heat toxins and/or damp-heat evils. What does that mean you may wonder? It means it has traditionally been used in the treatment of seasonal epidemics, both bacterial and viral in nature, which can cause symptoms such as fever, body aches, headaches, sweats, sore throat, cough, digestive disruptions, and being irritable and downright sick. The traditional formula features the herbs Chuan Xin Lian (Adrographis paniculata), Pu Gong Ying (Taraxicum mongolicum) also known as dandelion leaf and flower, and Ban Lan Gen (Istatidis tinctoria). These herbs are all used traditionally to clear heat and toxins. Our Chinese Cold and Flu modifies the traditional formula with Wu Zhu Yu (Evodia rutaecarpa) which is used to warm the interior. This herb is added to protect the digestion from the power heat clearing properties of the other three herbs. The formula is used as an antibiotic, antiviral, antipyretic (anti-fever) anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, and immunostimulant. One of the side effects of the traditional formula is that it can injure the qi of the stomach due to its cold nature, which is why we added the Wu Zhu Yu. This allows people to take the formula for longer periods of time (in the fight against longer standing infections such as strep throat) without the impairment of digestive function. Chinese Cold and Flu is the formula I use to combat colds and flus with fevers, sore throats, and coughs due to lung heat.
I hope you enjoyed reading about health and wellness in the autumn months from a traditional Asian medical perspective. We sincerely hope you are all well, and finding your joy this holiday season! We have too many amazing formulas to write about in a single blog post, but some other autumn formulas to explore are our Immune for Kids, Sniffles for Kids, Elderberry Plus, Anti-X, Deep Lung and Deep Lung 3 in 1, Adaptogen Plus, and our Lymph Oil. Look out for more information about those formulas in our future blog posts.