4 Supporting Herbs for the Autumn Grief
The fall equinox on Sept 22 begins the Autumn here in the Northern Hemisphere. The equilibrium of light is now shifting towards shorter days and longer nights. As the solar charge of summer fades away, the air begins to crisp and we begin the process within our minds and bodies of preparing for the winter.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the autumn is a time when the lungs and large intestine are activated. This means that they are working hard for us. The function of both of the large intestine and lung is to “Let go”.
In TCM, each organ system has a emotion that it governs. The lungs are associated with grief.
Grief and letting go are a natural part of the life cycle and the seasons we experience are visceral over-arching themes that provoke those processes and feelings. As we begin preparing for the winter, a naturally occurring sense of introversion starts to occur. Whether you call it seasonal affective disorder, or simply recognize a desire to go inward - The autumn brings about the pivot into the renewal of the winter.
When there is an excess of unprocessed grief and sadness, it can stagnate the lung meridian and lower energy levels and immunity. Another function that is very interesting about the lungs (TCM) is that they govern the wei-qi, which is similar to the way we imagine the immune system. Like a shield, it protects us from pathogens, and is the boundary that keeps us from catching colds and getting sick.
If you are prone to prolonged periods of sadness and carrying a lot of old memories and find it difficult to let go of certain people and experiences, taking care of yourself as autumn approaches will benefit you especially.
It is really important to help stimulate the health of the lungs and digestion at this time. Strengthening the lungs with breathing exercises is an excellent and cost effective way to help stimulate the processes of the lungs and in turn, the entire body.
The Autumn is a time that we are building our resilience and immunity. Even from a Western herbal perspective the Autumn is a time for mildly warming, protective, and immune building herbs.
As the days grow shorter, go within. Here are 4 herbs that can help assist in keeping your disposition vibrant:
Echinacea is a great immune building herb. Going into the seasonal change of autumn we become more susceptible to colds and flus. Echinacea is perfect to use to start building the resilience that will be needed in the Autumn. It builds resilience to colds and can also be taken when sick to reduce a cold or flu.
Astragalus is a very supportive adaptogen and immune tonic. It helps to increase energy levels and build deep immunity. Taking an extract/tincture is good however adding some astragalus to soups or slowly cooked stews is an even better way to exercise the medicinal qualities of this herb.
Spiritually it is very uplifting and helps to raise one’s perspective. Astragalus like many adaptogens should not be taken when you are either sick or coming down with something. Astragalus contraindicated with any existing auto-immune disorders.
Rhodiola is a heart and lung tonic that helps with general endurance. This herb is used though Scandinavia, Tibet and through Mongolia to get through the long winters. Rhodiola strengthens the physiological function of the heart and also help one endure emotionally challenging times as well. This is a beautiful medicine through the darker seasons of the year. It is known for its ability to help with fatigue and stress reduction.
Taking rhodiola as a capsule may be the easiest way to use this herb as the tea/tincture will have a strong tannin/woody flavor.
The harmonizing qualities of licorice root are great for the autumn as it works to moisten and balance the lungs. Licorice root helps to reduce inflammation and also helps heal sore throat and cough. Licorice is common in many lozenges and post sickness recovery teas.
Licorice can be found as a single tea in any grocery store and also can be taken as a tincture.
How does the theme of seasonal grief resonate with you?
Feel free to reach out to the HOC team.
For more information about herbs and plants and flowers that can help you physically and emotionally feel free to reach out to Chase.
The information is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any medical condition and is not a substitute for the medical advice of a trained medical physician.