Traditional medicinals for Fall
By Rebecca Huber
Despite the heat we have been experiencing in these last hot dog days of summer fall and the cooler weather is approaching. The days are shorter, summerŐs bloom is ending and all of nature is gearing up for a long deserved rest. Our ancestors prepared for fall and winter rest by building large stores of food, dried fish and meat, beans and roots in their winter quarters known as long houses where the entire tribe would survive until the spring.
Our bodies too are shifting gears preparing for colder days, less light and the ingestion of heavier foods that will be required to stay warm. These integral shifts in metabolism require a fair amount of energy, therefore if you are feeling tired, suffering canker sores, aches and pains or other unexplained maladies it may be directly related to this process.
You can ease the process and spare your energy by following mother naturesŐ lead. Prepare your body by eating with the seasons utilizing more roots vegetables, squashes, pumpkins, apples and other fruits and vegetables that are now coming ripe. Shift from cold drinks to warming teas and plenty of water. Use hot cereals instead of cold and give up the dairy until your energy is better.
Use the following herbs to help smooth the transition.
Ginger— an all time favorite of every herbalist I know. Use ginger for tea, in soups and in chicken and beef dishes. DonŐt throw the ginger tea bags out. Toss them in your bath and soak away achy sore muscles and bones.
Dandelion— another wonderfully simple herb that can be utilized in a variety of ways. If your yard is not chemicalized, pick the entire plant root and all. Use the leaves in your green salad and chop the root to make a tea. Dandelion cleanses the liver and kidneys of toxins, boosts energy and strengthens immunity.
Garlic— can be used in all kinds of dishes, soups, stews, baked meats and salad dressings. This herb helps boost immunity, builds the blood, rids the body of toxins including excess cholesterol and is good for the heart and circulatory system.
Milk Thistle— used as a tincture cleanses the liver and is particularly good for the symptoms of arthritis. It boosts digestion by breaking down fats and increasing the production of bile.
Nettle— not to be handled with your bare hands can be dried and made into a tea that is rich in vitamin C and iron. Nettle is particularly good to relieve a stuffy nose, watery eyes and the other symptoms caused by hayfever.
Ginseng— can be used to increase sagging energy levels and helps the body adapt to stressful situations be they emotional or physical. DonŐt use ginseng to continually push your body at a feverish physical pace.
These simple measures along with some additional rest should be all that a healthy individual needs to make their transition from summer to fall. Wise food choices will help insure that when those cooler fall days do arrive the crispness of the air will entice and invigorate.
Till next time, Rebecca