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Autumn

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1. The foundation and fortification with our foods and diet is an important focus now. Again, this is Harvest time and there are a great many foods - apples and walnuts, sunflower seeds, zucchini and other squash, cabbages, peppers and tomatoes, plus many grains and beans. Learn some new recipes and enjoy good foods. Most of us need more protein and heat generating foods in the colder months, even the energizing spicy peppers such as cayenne and chillies. This will keep our blood and energy moving.

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2. Exercise activity is crucial now as in any season. As the weather cools, stretching is even more important, as is having indoor exercises we can do. Yoga and other flexibility-enhancing movements are helpful at keeping us youthful. "We are as young as our spine is flexible." Our weight work and aerobic activities are vital to staying fit and toned, and strong to support our immune function and circulation. A vital body rarely gets sick.

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3. Nutritional supplements are often useful this time of year. Many people add some nutrients that support immune function so as not to pick up "what's going around." Taking some echinacea now is helpful as is the Chinese herb, astragalus. Maintaining daily vitamins C and E along with selenium and zinc is also immune protective and clears our body of certain toxins. Roots are helpful at tonifying our body at this time. Ginseng is quite good for building strength and endurance. Burdock root is good for the skin.

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4. Detoxification is the word for September. Doing an effective Detox Diet or avoiding sugar, wheat and dairy for a couple weeks is often quite revealing and helps us to feel better - lighter and more youthful with greater energy. Since it's getting cooler, we'll need to exercise and sauna or steam as a means to sweat to clear toxins. Regular sweating is important to health and longevity.

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5. Prepare for the cold season. Gather your fuel and food, breathe, and exercise as you should. In Chinese medicine, the fall season focuses on the lungs and large intestine. Overdoing it can lead to congestion and toxicity, as well as constipation and the clogging of the nose and sinuses. This leads then to upper respiratory infections as the germs grow in the mucus and then inflame the membranes. Staying clean and clear this season along with a healthy immune system will help keep you well. Try a facial steam and breathe in the herbal mist (you can use mints, rosemary, chamomile, lemon verbena, and other herbs) to help clear the sinuses.

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6. Should you get any colds or flus, it's best to jump on those immediately. Start with hourly vitamin C of about 1000 mg, increased doses of vitamin A (not beta-carotene) 25,000-30,000 IUs 3 times daily for just 3-4 days and then lower that dosage to 10-20,000 IUs twice daily for about a week (then take a break since excess vitamin A can be toxic if taken too long). Also use fresh garlic as several cloves at a time dipped in honey and chew them; repeat this several times on the first day. That’s a spicy and aromatic natural antibiotic and immune defender; you can alternatively use the odorless garlic caps, several 3 times daily if you don't want to smell, but they're not quite as effective. Echinacea and goldenseal alcohol extract can also be used to support immunity and cleanse the membranes. Some help may be achieved with olive leaf extract as a mild anti-viral herb. Of course, drink lots of water, herbal teas, and hot soup. You can press several cloves of garlic into your bowl of soup before you eat, instead of eating the garlic straight.