Transitioning into Autumn; Metal Element

Achieving and maintaining optimal health involves strengthening our bodies in preparation for the seasons. This is a tradition that goes back to the Yellow Emperor some 2,500 years ago or more in the Huang Di Nei Jing.

Autumn belongs to the Metal Element. Energy begins to turn inward and sincerely evaluate what is of value and what needs to be discarded. The organ systems of Metal are the Lungs (representing holding on) and Large Intestine (letting go).

Emotional & Spiritual
Having a healthy lung and large intestine system means you easily keep commitments and stand by your principles. You sense when it’s time to let go of something and allow yourself to fully feel the sadness and grief. Then you let it all go and  move on.

Dysfunctional Metal relates to unresolved sadness and grief. Fall is an ideal time to release unhealthy emotional attachments. This involves taking time each day to go within. It is greatly facilitated by sharing with friends or a counselor. Getting acupuncture and energetic bodywork done greatly speeds up the healing and releasing process. In conjunction, the following dietary guidelines are very helpful.

Cook with lower heat, for longer periods of time. Also use less salt. The intention during the fall is to increase moistening and pungent foods.

moistening foods: seaweed, apples, pears, chard, papaya, pumpkin, and white fungus.

pungent foods: dakon radish, radish, ginger, arugula, watercress, onion, garlic, fenugreek, fennel

Purity is a key Metal concern, on a physical and emotional level. Keeping the Lungs and Large Intestine clear is key for optimal health. In TCM, detox is gone about in a more balanced way so as to avoid weakening the body.

To detox the Lungs a simple formula is to make a tea of Fenugreek and Fennel seeds and drink daily. This helps clear excess mucous as well as clearing impurities.

To detox the Large Intestine we recommend doing a colon/parasite cleanse once a year. We sell an anti-parasite and colon cleansing formula containing pumpkin seeds, black walnut bark (green hulls), clove, wormwood, and other herbs. Rhubarb root (Da Huang) is an excellent herb to detox the intestines when used in minute amounts over a period of time. Excessive use of detoxifying or purgative herbs weakens the Spleen and digestion, which is counterproductive. This also applies to excessive or too frequent fasting, or excessive raw foods when not appropriate.

There is nothing worse for the Lungs and Large Intestines than a sedentary lifestyle. The Metal element requires exertion on a regular basis for proper functioning. Exercise forces you to expand the lungs, facilitates peristalsis, and helps release emotional stress.

Read More on the 5 Elements and Chinese Food Therapy: Healing with Whole Foods by Paull Pitchford


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