Seasonal Advice

Are you prepared for autumn? Really?!

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An article by Carolyn Chan

Here in the west, the autumn, (also known as “the bile season”), is starting, and the body-mind should be prepared for the subtle and profound effects of the new season.

The bright picture postcard days of summer sunshine will soon be shortening into long shadowy afternoons, signaling the start of autumn. In Tibetan medicine, the seasons are considered to have subtle and profound effects on the body-mind energetically, physically and mentally, and the continuous cycling from one season to the next creates changes in the overall wellbeing of the body-mind, in ways we may not even be aware.

Although the days become shorter and cooler, in autumn the sun is still dominant and its slanting rays focus sharply on the earth and our bodies, like laser beams. The heat of the sun influences the bile energy in particular in the autumn, and qualities of food, environment and the body all naturally become oily and sharp, leading to a situation where the bile humor can easily increase unless care is taken of the diet and activities.  This is especially important where care was not taken in the hot summer months and bile has already accumulated in the body, as there is an increased likelihood of the manifestation of bile pathologies such as headaches and gastric disorders at this time.  Autumn is therefore known as “the bile season”, and there is a tendency for bile disorders to be easily provoked.

The recommended diet during the autumn months would include increasing the intake of sweet fruits and foods, adding complex carbohydrates such as rice, bread and pasta, and including bitter salad greens such as chicory, arugula, rocket, Belgian endive, as well as more astringent foods such as bananas, lentils, and artichokes. The best beverage at this time would be plain water, at least two liters per day. Because bile is heat and easily provoked to burn the body’s micro-substances, the ideal counterbalance is to wash and clean the body products so as to prevent the development of inflammation and slow down the body ageing processes. Also good beverages to include at this time would be light quality, cooling drinks, such as jasmine tea, other light teas such as green tea, mild cooling quality fruit juices, cool mineral and spring waters.

During the autumn it is best to avoid or at least cut down on bile increasing foods such as oily, spicy, fatty foods, milk and milk products and strong alcohol.
Recommended activities during the autumn should be geared towards staying balanced, cool and comfortable, so for example, the outdoor activities of taking walks in a shady park or along a cool river bank would be excellent.

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In another article [1], Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya referred to autumn as a “conflict season” which he described as : “… when the body is still warm or hot internally while externally it is cooling down…”, then mucous membranes begin to dry and viruses attack, and allergies, colds and flu occur in western countries.           

Dr. Pasang, can you give any practical tips on preparing for the autumn “conflict season”, maybe in terms of a simple cleanse to prepare the body?  

Dr. Pasang: The autumn season[2] lasts from around the middle of August until the middle of October. During this season there are particular recommendations for people with naturally bile constitutions, young people with excess body heat, those who tend to be attacked by or have trouble with the sun and its heat and balancing the sweating, or have digestion and/or dermatological problems (in some cases they manifest). These types of people should drink plain, mild water every morning, after lunch and in the evening, as well as reduce their intake of salt, alcohol and oily/spicy food.

People may cool down the body, organs, and body skin heat in the summer and autumn using one of the following water-drinks, based on the ingredient that is most readily available in their area:

  • Gentiana lutea root about 100 g in the mineral water bottle 2 l ; or
  • Picrorhiza Royale root about 50 g in the mineral water bottle 2 l ; or
  • Tinospora cordifolia wood/trunk about 100 g in the mineral water bottle 2 l

Soak the selected ingredient in the water and drink two glasses (people with slow digestion should drink one glass), of the water in the morning, after lunch and in the evening. The water-drink must be taken at least one hour before or after the meal. The bottle can be refilled with fresh water three times before the herb should be changed. This water-drink acts to counterbalance the body heat, reduce the inflammation, regulate the digestion and cool down the heat of the skin. It naturally balances the humors, body-mind and emotions.

Enjoy this water-drink for at least two months. It will be especially good over the Rishi water healing days!

Thanks very much as always for your advice Dr. Pasang!

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