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Harvesting Health: Autumn Wisdom in Chinese Medicine

Girl meditating in fall

As we bid farewell to the warmth of summer and welcome the cool embrace of autumn, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognizes the significance of these seasonal shifts in our lives. According to TCM principles, each season is associated with unique characteristics and qualities that influence our physical and emotional well-being. TCM emphasizes the importance of balance and harmony to navigate this transition successfully. So let's see how Chinese Medicine views the season change into autumn.


Autumn in Chinese Medicine

Autumn is a time of transition, characterized by several key elements that shape the way TCM views this season:

  1. Metal Element: In the Five Element Theory of TCM, autumn is associated with the Metal element. This element is related to qualities like clarity, precision, organization, and letting go. It also governs the lung and large intestine, making it a crucial time for addressing respiratory and digestive health.

  2. Yin and Yang Balance: As autumn follows the expansive, yang energy of summer, it marks the transition into yin energy. Yin represents qualities like rest, introspection, and conservation. Take it easy and take it slow. TCM emphasizes the importance of maintaining the balance between these opposing forces for overall well-being.

  3. Letting Go: Autumn is often symbolized by the falling leaves, suggesting a natural shedding of what is no longer needed. In TCM, this season is a time for letting go of emotional baggage, negative thoughts, and unhealthy habits.

Health Tips for a Harmonious Autumn Transition

  1. Nourish Your Lungs: Since the lungs are associated with autumn, focus on practices that support respiratory health. Daily breathing exercises, can help strengthen lung function. Incorporate white-colored foods like pears and apples; and pungent foods and daikon radishes and ginger, which can all benefit lung health.

  2. Stay Warm: As temperatures drop, it's essential to keep the body warm. Dress in layers, cover the back of your neck and ankles, consume warm foods and drinks, and consider adding warming spices like ginger and cinnamon to your meals.

  3. Balance Your Diet: Autumn is a time for transitioning from the lighter, cooling foods of summer to heartier, warming fare. Good-bye salads, hello warm, comfort food! Incorporate seasonal vegetables like squash, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens into soups and stews.

  4. Let Go of things that don't serve you: Embrace the spirit of autumn by decluttering your surroundings and mind. Clear out your closet, rearrange your furniture and engage in practices like meditation and mindfulness; creating space to find grounding and promote emotional balance.

  5. Harmonize with Nature: Spend time in nature, observe the changing colors, and breathe in the crisp air. Aligning yourself with the natural rhythms of autumn can enhance your overall well-being.


In traditional Chinese medicine, the transition into autumn is a time for reflection, balance, and letting go. By understanding the principles of the Metal element, yin-yang balance, and the significance of this season, you can harmonize your physical and emotional well-being with the changes in nature. As the leaves fall and the air turns crisper, consider embracing Chinese Medicine to guide you towards a healthy and balanced autumn.

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1 Comment

Fantastic read Dr. Carpenter! Lots of great tips and wellness advice! Thank you!

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