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Autumn and Traditional Chinese Medicine– the Lung Season

According to the five elements of Chinese medicine, autumn is the season of metal. The lung is the organ associated with metal and the season of autumn. This is the time of year when many diseases of the Lung show up. Colds, flu, allergies, asthma, and other conditions of the lung may become prevalent at this time.

Symptoms of disease affecting the Lungs include cough, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, sore throat, and rashes.

Autumn is the best season to strengthen the Lungs to prevent these conditions. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be used to help improve immunity to prevent disease..

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), colds and the flu are associated with invasion of the body by Wind. Just as your grandmother may have said to cover up or you could catch cold, in TCM, Wind is thought to enter through the lungs or the skin and cause disease. According to Chinese medicine, the skin is associated with the lungs, so many conditions that affect the lungs will also cause rashes and skin conditions.

Ways to prevent these conditions include covering up to keep warm and preventing exposure to Wind, hand washing, and avoiding close contact with those who are sick,

Smokers are more prone to bronchitis and pneumonia during this season, so this would be an excellent time to quit smoking or reduce the number of cigarettes.

Valley Fever and the Lung

Valley Fever or coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection from spores found in the soil. The microscopic spores are found in the low desert regions of the southwest. When the soil is disturbed, spores can be released and are then inhaled.

In most individuals, the primary infection is confined to the lungs. Many people are not even aware they have the infection because symptoms are very mild or similar to the flu– fever, cough, chills, fatigue, joint aches, and headache. There may be a spotty red rash that usually affects the lower legs. Symptomatic cases of the disease can last for months. Valley Fever can become chronic, especially in diabetics and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms in chronic infections may include chronic pneumonia or symptoms similar to tuberculosis. In its most severe form, Valley Fever can disseminate and spread from the lungs to the skin, bones, organs, or brain.

Valley Fever is not contagious, and can affect both humans and pets.

In TCM, the acute, milder form of Valley Fever is considered a Lung Wind-Heat invasion. As with many Lung Wind diseases, if untreated, they can potentially penetrate to deeper levels of the body where they affect other organs and are more difficult to treat.

Beneficial Foods for the Lungs

Pears– for dry cough and phlegm

Peppermint–common cold with sore throat & fever

Spearmint– common cold without sore throat

Orange peel– common cold with much phlegm

Mustard greens–profuse phlegm with chest discomfort

Recipe– Baked Pears

Cut pears in half lengthwise, remove cores and fill the remaining hole with mixture of chopped nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar and a small amount of olive oil or butter.

Bake in a casserole dish with 1/2 inch of water at 350˚ until pears are soft. Cool until warm and enjoy.

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