A Herbalist's Guide to Autumn
All ancient people were in touch with the cycles of nature. They believed that the every season brought new changes and themes for the months ahead. By tuning back into these cycles we can begin to reconnect and harness the healing power of nature.
This guide is the first step to reconnecting with the remedies and wellness available to you in Autumn.
The Theme of Autumn
Autumn is the 'yin' energy of reflection, contemplation, stillness, letting go and internalization.
Just as the trees shed their leaves, we are also asked to release and let go of what no longer serves us.
Herbal Remedies for Autumn
I recommend herbal medicines which are warming & moistening to combat the dry/cold constitution of autumn. Including:
Specific areas of focus in autumn are the lungs & large intestine. Support these organs with herbs such as:
Additionally, astragalus and reishi can be used to strengthen the immune system before winter.
Disclaimer: Please talk to your doctor or naturopath before starting any new herbal remedies. Particularly, if you are taking any medications, are currently pregnant or breastfeeding, or intend to dispense to children.
Medicinal Chai Latte
1/4 tsp cardamon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 /4 tsp dried ginger root
1C Plant based milk
1/2 tsp date syrup
1/2 tsp deglycerrized licorice
1/2 tsp reishi mushroom
Directions: Add all ingredients to a pot. Warm slowly on the stovetop for 10-15 minute. Enjoy daily.
What to Eat During Autumn
Autumn is notoriously cold, windy and dry. We can help our body achieve balance by consuming warming & moistening seasonal foods or spices. Including
Nuts & Seeds
If your constitution is prone to dampness (phlegm, mucus, fluid retention, asthma, kapha) you should be extra careful at this time. You might find benefit by also reducing:
Processed dairy products
Nourishing Bone Broth Recipe
1 medium onion
500g-1kg organic beef or chicken bones
2 cloves of garlic
6 sprigs fresh parsley
20ml apple cider vinegar
1 tsp iodized salt or kelp salt
3 celery ribs
10ml extra virgin coconut oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
Combine all the ingredients into a slow cooker. Heat on low for 24 hours. Strain. Enjoy 1 cup per day (or add into meals)
A short detox during Autumn facilitates the process of release and letting go.
Detoxification for the lungs and large intestine will benefit you most at this time. However, make sure to avoid 'cold fasts' such as water fasting or juice fasting.
For the large intestine consider a gut cleanse with warming herbs such as cloves, black walnut or anise. Your detoxification process can be enhanced with colon hydrotherapy and warm enema cleanses.
Detoxify your lungs through your breath. A daily breathwork practice with Wim Hoff or pranayama would be especially detoxing during this time.
I also recommend avoiding smoking, vaping & toxic inhalations. You might consider switching to natural home cleaning products, perfumes, and air-sprays also.
The yin energy of Autumn encourages gentleness, softness and flow. You might find yourself less motivated for exercise - particularly those which are high intensity.
Be gentle with yourself on these days.
Consider adding more rest days to your exercise regime. Alternatively, add in yin-focused movements such as yoga, qigong or slow walks in nature. Cardiovascular exercises such as running, biking and jogging can help to build heat if you are prone to feeling cold and sluggish during Autumn.
The cold/dryness of autumn can lead to dehydration. This poses an interesting challenge as many of us feel inclined to drink less when it is cold. However, it is important to continue to drink your recommended daily intake of water.
Tips to increase water intake in cold weather
Drink warm/lukewarm water
Increase hydration with broths, herbal teas & warm drink (coffee doesn't count since it causes us to eliminate more water)
Consume hydrating foods such as soups & stews
Buy a 2L drink bottle and aim to drink the whole bottle before bed time
Set an alarm (or download an app) to remind you to drink water
Note: Your skin could use some extra nourishment in this phase too. This would be the perfect time to use oil-cleansers, moisturizers and body oil to prevent dry skin.
Autumn is connected with the element of metal. The emotion correlated to metal is sadness, grief and letting go. During this transition you may experience old feelings and thought patterns rising to the surface. If any of these emotions have come out of the blue, remind yourself that these feelings are quite natural and common during this phase. Autumn is a time when all the old is coming to the surface to be released. I like to use the phrase "what is coming up, is coming up to be released".
Honor your feelings by providing space to release them often. It is encouraged to start a daily personal care practice, meditation. journaling, breathwork, counselling or other self-care practices in this time.
Storm Naturopath & Medical Herbalist
About the Author
Storm is a Qualified Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She sees clients both in-person and through zoom for one-on-one health consultations, custom herbal formulations & care plans.
Storm also hosts regular herbal medicine retreats & workshops to help you connect more deeply with herbal medicine and wellness.
Connect with her through www.functionalnaturopathy.com or instagram (@functionalnaturopathy)