Fall or Autumn, is the element of Metal.
I hope you are doing well. I am writing as I am pleased to present to you the first in a series of newsletters centered around health insights, tips and on staying on an optimal path of health & wellness, from a Chinese Medicine perspective. They will be 5 times a year, as there are 5 elements in Chinese Medicine, and 5 corresponding seasons; I’ll start off the first year by speaking about each element, the related organ(s) and its physiological and mental processes, according to Chinese Medicine, and related health issues.
In addition, if there is any particular topic you would like me to address and answer, please feel free to email me, and I will make sure to cover it at some point in one of the newsletters. If you do not wish to receive these newsletters, please send me an email, and I will remove you from the list.
Metal is related to the organ of the Lung, and its paired organ, the Large Intestine. The Chinese character for Metal is representative of a bell. A finely tuned or sounding bell, is synonymous with the sound of healthy Lungs in breathing, speaking and singing! In this season, dryness is predominant. The Lung is in charge of the tissue of the skin, and the sense organ of the nose, and hence, this is the season where dry skin or a dry nose begins to become a problem. When too much dryness affects the Lung, especially a weak Lung, respiratory problems may begin to manifest. Thus, foods that nourish the moisture (Yin) of our body and the Lungs are good to eat at this time of year, to help prevent any drying effects of the vulnerable Lungs at this time of year. Examples are pears, particularly the yellow Chinese pears (Ya Li), apples, honey, kidney beans and tofu.
The Lungs control Qi (our vital energy) and respiration, taking in “pure Qi” and exhaling “dirty Qi” of metabolism, and help distribute fluids around our body. The Lung is also the main organ involved in our defensive system, as it is directly connected to the external environment. Any weakness in the Lung energy system (includes the meridians, paired organ, tissues, emotions, etc), can compromise our defense or immune system, and manifest as respiratory problems. Hence, many people at this time of year get sick. Thus, as the natural energy of autumn is attune with the Lung, it is a good time to renourish our Lung, in order to strengthen it in preparation for other seasons that are hard on its system, such as spring, or “allergy season”.
Metal is linked to our concept of boundary. It is the physical and metaphorical “skin” of our body, through which we “take in” and “let go”. The Lungs are crucial therefore for ensuring a strong body and mind. If the Lung function is impaired, by causes that could be environmental, emotional, excessive or weakness conditions, there can be tiredness, shortness of breath, and feeling of melancholy as some examples. In addition, if the Lung is impaired and cannot supply us with enough Qi for our defenses, frequent colds are likely to occur. If you enjoy using aromatherapy at home, essential oils like Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Niaouli, and Hyssop can be used to strengthen the Lungs and respiration, and enhance the defensive or immune system that the Lung governs. However, be sure to use good quality, 100% natural oils, as the synthetic, chemical and adultered oils can cause reactions, and there are many essential oils out on the market that are of poor quality. If you are unsure of the quality of your essential oil, please send me and email or give me a call, and I would be happy to advise you.
From a psychological and emotional perspective, Metal and Lung in a healthy state are able to properly deal with issues of relationship, respect, and are able to fully accept and relinquish issues and situations. If under stress, a person may feel constricted, withdrawn and pessimistic, and is also connected to the emotion of Grief. Notice when we cry, our breathing pattern changes, as the emotion of Grief restricts the Lung energy system.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this brief insight on the season of fall, element of Metal, and the Lung energy system. I’ll leave you with a simple recipe used often in the season of autumn:
Relief of the Common cold, WITHOUT a sore throat:
- 3 – 5 slices of fresh ginger, each slice about the size of a quarter
- 3 slices of green onion, white part only (optional)
- 1 tsp brown sugar (NOT white sugar, NOT honey)
- Steep ingredients in 1 C of hot water for 10 minutes. Drink the liquid, repeat twice a day.
I hope this reaches you healthy and happy, and I hope (not) to see you soon!