Autumn offers us an opportunity to cleanse the large intestine, the lungs and skin, especially if your feeling sluggish, fatigued, bloated, slow digestion from the excesses of Summer.
Appetite is stimulated by warmth and the smell of food cooking. Food preparation is the key is in the months of Autumn. Create astringent and yet hearty, warm soups, stews, with ginger and spices. Food preparation helps us get organized from the busyness of the warmer months, its stimulating activity helps with mental focus. When cooking in Autumn use low heat for longer periods, as it helps to internalize one’s focus. (3)
Bitter salty foods move energy inward and downwards, like the sap in the trees. Sour foods are helpful for this movement. Sourdough bread, Sauerkraut, Pickles, Salty plums (Umbolushi). Olives, Leeks, Rose hip tea. Apple cider Vinegar, Lemons, limes and grapefruits. Apples, plums, grapes, raisins, dates and nuts. Chicken, lamb. Soft cheese. Turnips and Davidson plums that are ripening now. Create salads using grains and roast vegetables. (2,3)
Pungent Sulphur rich foods like onions, horseradish, watercress, and mustard, help bring in warmth and move stagnation, by purifying the blood, and restoring vital energy. Pungent rich foods are potentially anti parasitic, opening up the sense of smell, clearing the sinuses.
Spice’s: anise, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg. Wattle seeds. These are warming herbs helping with digestion and circulation. Supporting the intestinal tract and respiration, alleviating dampness.
Organic root vegetables look for those that are light and sweet – like carrots with their radiant orange color.
Use minimally nightshade family like potatoes and legumes.
Meat too can be a heavy burden. It can drags us back down to the depths, rather than letting us arrive there in our own autumn timing. Use lamb or chicken in smaller quantities.
Oats are the grain that brings in the fire to the metabolism Oats are deeply nourishing soothing and restorative to the nervous system.
Cleanse: Weed, Seed, Feed.
Cleansing can be done for 2 weeks to the whole of Autumn. It is always best to start gently and slowly, with the advice of your health care practitioner, especially if there are underlying health conditions.
Restrict and simplify the diet
Restricting, simplifying the diet of burdens to our detoxification system, like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and gluten, and dairy if there is inflammation in the digestive tract or difficulty in protein digestion, and restrict known allergens.
Take a worming or parasite mix, like Pharmaceutical Plant Company’s Herbal Triplex mix, to help remove worms and stimulation a healthy digestion, or a herbal medicine detox mix, see your local Herbalist , Naturopath or health care professional, for a specialized mix.
Bentonite clay draws toxins into the bowel from the system.
Psyllium acts like a broom to sweep this debris from the intestines.
Flaxseeds, Nu-Lax, natural fruit laxative. Prunes and Figs.
Motion Potion, a Naturopathically formulated Bowel Nutrient Powder. Designed to help stimulate the bowels natural ability to provide proper elimination.
These are some natural brooms to help “sweep” clean the colon in Autumn
Talk to your health professional for the best choice.
Digestive tonics like Swedish bitters can be helpful if you are constipated or see other suggestions below. Triphala is a renowned Ayurvedic digestive tonic and is ideal in Autumn. Take ½ teaspoon in warm water or a few ml’s before meals and/or before bed.
Chlorophyll, Vital Greens, Spirulina, Chlorella, Green Smoothies.
Tissue salt minerals to aid detoxification. (Dr Schussler’s combo 12)
Herbal medicine or homoeopathic mix to support bodies detoxification, (see your friendly Naturopath or Health Care Provider)
Skin brushing and tongue scraping.
Self-oiling with warm, deeply penetrating black sesame oil is ideal in Autumn. The self massage action of self oiling helps to release tryptophan, enhancing the production of feel-good hormones. Lubricating the whole system, through nourishing the skin and balancing vata.
Probiotics help recolonize the bowel with healthy bacteria. (ask advice of your friendly Naturopath or Health Care provider, there is much evidence based research on probiotics and it is good to use the appropriate strains that may suit your individuality, and health conditions).
Feed your colon to health with prebiotics like, kefir, sauerkraut, miso and a large varied multicolored array of vegetables and fruits for a high fiber diet.
Psyllium acts as a prebiotic here too, encouraging growth of beneficial bacteria
How long do I cleanse for?
2 -6 weeks, or the whole of Autumn.
Ask yourself what are my aims and goals of the cleanse. Do I want to boost my immune system by supporting my body’s ability of detoxification, (which your body does generously every day), do I want to increase the health of my colon and digestive tract?
This depends on your condition, over all health, and time. Please check-in with your health care practitioner first, before under going a serious cleanse.
For an individualized plan contact Fiona or your health care practitioner.
Fiona is available for online consults, as well as from home studio.
Autumn in Traditional Medicine
In wise cultures of old, Autumn is associated with the metal element. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, mineral ores and salts of the earth. These create structure, communication, transportation, like metal wires, the wiring of the nervous system, the roots of tree (3). Autumn is also associated with the melancholic temperament. And in Ayurvedic Medicine, it is the functional energy of the Vata Dosha, being of a dryer, cooler, clear, and subtle quality.
Australian First People’s
In Australian Indigenous, the people of D’harawal Country during Marrai’gang, (April, May) when the cries of the Marrai’gang (quoll) seeking his mate can be heard, is the time when the Lilly-Pilly fruit begins to ripen on trees. However, when the Lilly-Pillys start to fall, it is time to mend the old warm cloaks from the last cold season, or make new ones, and begin the yearly trek to the coastal areas. (1)
And in Christian culture it’s Lent a time of fasting, sacrifice and reflection, withdrawal.
Vata excess can bother the nervous sytem, slow digestion, absorption, and elimination. Constipation may occur when the Vata qualities of dryness, coldness and hardness increase within us, so stay warm in Autumn! Increase your fiber intake through eating a wide and plentiful variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. Adding good oils, like flaxseed oil into the diet with the plentiful variety of vegetables, cooked into stews, and soups with clean filtered water. And warming drinks, like herbal teas, and cardiac exercise to warm you up! Explore cooking Ayurvedic kitchari or mung dahl with ghee or good quality nourishing oils.
The Autumn Season
It is all about the tilt of the earth, because the North Pole is moving away from the Sun, so the Sun will rise lower in the sky, making the days shorter. Birds will migrate, animals will hibernate, and leaves will fall from the trees as the tree takes nutrients from the leaf back into the stems and roots.
In the Southern Hemisphere, Australian Autumn is from March 1st to May 31st. Autumn can also be regarded from Autumn equinox to Winter Solstice. At Autumn equinox March 21st, the day and night are of equal length.
Autumn is a time of harvesting of Summer crops ready for storage for the winter months.
Nature draws us back, and the zodiac year begins at 0 degrees Aries. It is a good time to initiate something, especially to do with inner growth. Surrendering things that may hinder our growth, or that we would like to shed before Winter. Release the excesses of the Summer build up.
Time of Transition
Autumn begins the dark yin cycle.
Outer to Inner, to shift ones focus from projects to opening into one’s inner wisdom. Inner attention, contemplation, reading and writing, journaling, nurturing self and others. Its a time of working towards mental clarity, gaining internal control. Autumn is about getting warm and cozy within. Swapping salads for soups and stews. Bring warmth into your food and your body with socks, scarfs, shawls, and beanies!
Breathing in Breathing out, Lungs and large intestine.
In traditional Chinese Medicine, Autumn is the time of the metal element, active in the lungs and large intestine. The lungs are associated with the skin. Our skin is our protective layer to the outside world. The lungs and large intestine are some of our elimination organs . Our lungs are associated with breathing in and breathing out. Receiving and releasing. We have often heard that constipation is associated with how well we are letting go especially on an emotional level. How we are “breathing in and breathing out”. Anything that stagnates is potentially toxic. The lungs are associated with grief. A system that becomes backed up with stagnate energy or metabolic by products can bring mucus build up in the colon (constipation) and lungs / respiratory system (congestion), our skin can be affected too. Clear and strengthen the lungs ready for winter, allows our skin to be radiant and breathing well, for the dryer, colder months.
Just like the Lilly Pilly letting go of its fruit, indicating the time to be mending our winter warm garments, to protect us from our vulnerability as we use this time of breathing more deeply and slowly (lungs) to connect within and let go – (large intestine) of what is no longer needed.
Northern and Southern Hemispheres
As the Northern Hemisphere are coming out greeting the Spring, in the Southern Hemisphere we are going within, I love this concept of one hemisphere holding the other, as one breathes inward, the other outward. The spirit of Autumn is active in the whole breathing system, awareness of every breath drawn, everything that flows from the lungs into the heart through the whole circulation of the blood. Surprisingly all healing forces reside originally in the human breathing system, so be mindful of how your breathing!
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED HERE IS NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE, TO TREAT OR DIAGNOSE DISEASES, BUT FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PRACTICONER.
(2)Pitchford P Healing for whole foods
(3)E, Staying Healthy with the Seasons 1981 Celestial Arts California