Changing Seasons and Transitioning into the Metal Element
by Sherri Taylor, L.Ac., MSOM, FABORM
As summer comes to an end, we prepare for another season change, transitioning into fall. How do we prepare our patients to stay healthy during the time of transitioning from summer (yang) to fall (yin)?
Chinese Medicine describes our innate ability to harmonize our biological clock with nature. Naturally, we are able to adapt to the changes in the weather, sleep/wake cycles, and dietary habits. We educate patients on the importance of eating and dressing appropriately for the seasons and getting enough rest. However, we do have patients that resist these changes and become more vulnerable to illness. They are unable to adjust their lifestyle and resist the changes that are necessary to keep in harmony with nature. Due to one’s internal disharmony, it simply takes the change in environment for someone to fall ill. A sudden drop in body temperature will lead to a wind cold especially if the wei qi is unstable to begin with. Western Medicine describes this phenomenon as viruses being able to survive longer in the dry, cold temperatures rather than solely the cold environment. Hence, the Cold and Flu season.
As practitioners, we see Eastern Medicine diagnoses of Wind Cold, Wind Heat, Lung Qi Deficiency, Phlegm Heat in the Lung, Phlegm Cold in the Lung, and Wei Qi deficiency during the fall season. Upon entering the Metal element, it is important to have the following herbal formulas in stock to help balance your patients internally during this vulnerable time.
- Yu Ping Feng San– can use preventatively during this time to boost Wei Qi and Lung Qi. It is also the “go to” formula when your patients suffer from allergies during the seasonal transition*.
- Yin Qiao San- is for the beginnings of a sore throat and Wind Heat invasion*.
- Gui Zhi Tang- for Wind Cold Invasion with sweating that is due to an imbalance of the Wei Qi (defense) and Ying Qi (nutrient qi)*.
- Sang Ju Yin- Clears Wind Heat, descends the Lung Qi and stops cough*.
- Xiao Chai Hu Tang- Harmonizes and releases Shao Yang for alternate fever and chills, dry throat, coughing, nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, rib side pain and stiffness of the neck*.
Currently, we are making the transition from the Earth Element to the Metal Element. The Spleen and Stomach meridians should be well prepared if we were in harmony with the season. This will also be dependent on how well we endure the changes. The function of our stomach has always been a key factor in maintaining our health. What we eat plays a significant role in how healthy the gut flora is. Our microbiome is always changing with diet. A diverse, healthy microbiome is necessary to maintain healthy flora and a strong immune system. If we are not eating correctly with the seasons, too much of the wrong food can lead to inflammation of the gut and less diversity in the microbiome. Low diversity of bacteria in the body contributes to inflammation and overgrowth of bad bacteria. One must eat large amount of fruits and vegetables to remedy this. The microbiome starts to change in just 3 days from dietary modifications. In order for the modifications to have a lasting effect, one has to sustain the diet of primarily fruits and vegetables. The Chinese medicine principle of warming, cooked, easy to digest foods always applies anytime you want to improve the microbiome.
It is important during this time to continue to strengthen the Spleen and Stomach meridians since they play a vital role in the immune system as well as boosting the Lung and Large Intestine meridians to prevent Wind Cold, Wind Heat, and Phlegm Cold & Heat in the lungs.
*The information provided here is for healthcare professional practitioners only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.