By Salvador Cefalu, M.S., L.Ac.
Autumn is the most important time of year to support your Lungs. Autumn is the season of the Metal element, which relates to both the Lungs and the Large Intestine organs.
Combating Dryness During the Fall Season
Each season has an associated pathological factor that must be managed during that period. During Summer, it’s essential to manage Heat while Winter is Cold, Spring is about Wind and Fall is about Dryness.
Our skin is an extension of our Lungs and what we call in Chinese Medicine Lung Essence. Essence is about substance and fluids so if your Lung Essence is dry, your skin will be dry too.
The skin is considered the largest detoxification organ of the body as it releases toxins through sweating. The colon or Large Intestine is also a large detoxification organ through its elimination of waste.
All of these organs - the Lungs, Large Intestine and skin - are associated with the Metal element and the Fall season.
Both the Lungs and Large Intestine require proper hydration to work efficiently and it’s quite easy to tell if these organs are too dry.
If the colon is too dry, there will be constipation with dry, hard stools and if the Lungs are too dry the skin will be dry and appear dehydrated with a rough, wrinkled texture. A dry cough and dryness of the nose, lips and mouth are other key signs of Lung dryness.
Simply drinking adequate amounts of water is an easy solution to hydrate both of these organs. Today, however, with high consumption of filtered water, we’re not ingesting adequate amounts of minerals to maintain proper fluid balance in the body.
If you’re noticing that your body feels and looks dry, try adding some naturally processed salt to your drinking water to help your body hold onto fluid.
If you’re concerned about taking too much salt because of high blood pressure, be sure to use naturally processed salt such as Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt.
Pink salt is higher in potassium and lower in sodium than Celtic salt and you may be pleasantly surprised to watch your blood pressure drop with the addition of more natural salt in your diet.
If you’re dealing with high blood pressure along with weak kidney function and leg edema, be careful with any additional salt increase and monitor your blood pressure as you introduce natural salt into your diet slowly and certainly discontinue if you do not respond favorably with the addition of natural salt in your diet.
Potassium helps reduce blood pressure, palpitations and heart arrhythmias so if you have such symptoms, try using the Himalayan pink salt.
Adding natural salt to your drinking water can be especially beneficial if you notice fatigue, muscle weakness or brain fog throughout the day.
I was recently having elevated blood pressure in the morning and simply by drinking warm water with Himalayan pink salt my blood pressure quickly dropped to normal levels.
Managing proper hydration is the first step to keeping your immune system functioning optimally by supporting the production of your Defensive Qi called Wei Qi.
Essential Oils Provide Potent Support for Immune and Metabolic Functions
Essential oils strengthen the Lung Qi to effectively combat fatigue, low immunity and asthma.
Evergreen essential oils, including Pine, Black Spruce, Cypress, Fir and Balsam, are important immune boosting oils.
These oils can be used in an oil diffuser to strengthen a weak immune system and prevent colds and flus during the Fall season.
Essential Oils for Acute Illness - Colds and Flus
If you tend to get sick during this season, consider a different set of essential oils during the acute stage of illness.
Any of the Eucalyptus oils can be used to clear congestion in the lungs.
Eucalyptus Radiata is a good all purpose ear, nose and throat oil and very good for viruses. Combine it with Eucalyptus Citriodora or Eucalyptus Globulus to combat infections.
Eucalyptus Polybractea and Eucalyptus Dives can be used when there’s deep congestion in the sinuses and lungs that’s difficult to get out. Eucalyptus Polybractea can also be used along with the other anti-infectious essential oils listed below as a steam for a deep inhalation treatment.
Note: do not breathe in Eucalyptus Dives essential oil directly as it can be very harsh and caustic to the sinus membranes.
Ravensare is a strong antiviral and anti-infectious essential oil that you can add to your diffuser or steam inhalation treatment to recover from a cold or flu include. Aromatherapists recommend taking 1 drop every 2 hours of food grade Ravensare essential oil for acute flu.
Thyme, Bay Laurel, Lemon, and Lavender are all powerful antiseptic oils to fight bacteria and viruses during the acute stage as well.
Be cautious in administering essential oils to children and especially toddlers as not all of these oils are appropriate for them and dosage needs to be reduced significantly as well.
Lemon, Lavender, Thyme Linalool and Bay Laurel are extremely potent essential oils for swollen lymph glands and throat infections such as tonsillitis.
One gentle way to introduce essential oils into your health regimen is through the use of hydrosols.
Hydrosols are a concentrated water based by-product created from the steam-distillation of plant materials in the production of Essential oils.
The concentration of essential oil in hydrosols is much lower than in the concentrated oil itself so they are much gentler and easier to use with direct topical application such as a spray mist.
Regular use will still provide potent benefits especially when you are using for preventative purposes such as treating fatigue or low immunity and topically for various skin conditions.
Hydrosols are a wonderful way to hydrate the skin and provide an astringent quality to tighten pores and provide a more youthful glow.
Some of the most useful essential oil hydrosols for dry, mature skin types are Rose Geranium, Rose, Frankincense, Lavender, Fennel seed and Sandalwood. If there is facial flushing from PMS or menopausal heat, Clary Sage, Sage and Cypress hydrosols can be quite beneficial additions as well.
Summary for Fall Immune Support
Combatting Lung dryness and supporting your body’s immune function is imperative during the Fall season with the plethora of colds and flus that tend to arise during this time of year.
By incorporating essential oils, hydrosols and proper hydration, you’ll effectively support your health as we approach the colder Winter season.
Please note: These health tips are for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical professional for health advice specific for your individual needs.
Salvador Cefalu, M.S., L.Ac. is the Founder & Co-Director of A Center for Natural Healing in Santa Clara, California, a health and wellness clinic run by he and his wife, Setareh Moafi, Ph.D., L.Ac. that specializes in Classical Chinese Medicine. Salvador is a leading U.S. practitioner of Japanese Meridian Therapy, a rare form of non-insertion Acupuncture using Gold & Silver needles. More information at www.acenterfornaturalhealing.com.