In this month’s blog contribution we are continuing our journey through the traditional Chinese calendar system of Jie Qi with Han Lu. If you remember from our previous blogs on the subject, the annual calendar could be divided into 24 segments of fifteen days each. Each Jie Qi has very specific seasonal energetic qualities. That seasonal energetic is mirrored in both nature and in our bodies. Each Jie Qi is unique and follows the cycle of the sun throughout the year. The traditional Chinese calendar is on a lunar cycle, and this year the Jie Qi starting around October 8th, is Han Lu or loosely translated “Cold Dew”.
Han Lu describes the basic energetic transition happening in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in temperate areas. Locally we start to see dew forming on the blades of plants. This is as a result of cooler nights that impede the evaporation of the moisture coming from the plants. Our bodies are largely made up of water, so we are susceptible to the same dynamics that the plants experience. Too much cold and damp can negatively impact the body’s ability to digest food and to metabolize fluids. Some common symptoms are excess phlegm causing cough and congestion, as well as diarrhea, or softer, more frequent stools. In addition, studies have shown that even a slight decrease in body temperature can impact the proper functioning of the immune and endocrine systems. Following are suggested precautions to take to help support your body in the presence of increased cold and damp.
Diet – During Han Lu incorporate foods that support and strengthen the digestive system and kidney channel. Foods that accomplish this are beef, chestnuts, and walnuts. Beef helps support blood and the kidneys. Chestnuts nourish the digestive system and help ensure that resources reach the parts of the body that need them. Walnuts tone the kidney channel and the blood, support the lungs, and strengthen the bones. Balancing foods to those main ingredients for nourishing the body are sesame, sweet rice, honey, dairy, fish, duck, pear, banana, apple, persimmons, and grapes. Warm congee in the morning will directly nourish the digestive system and help it to prepare for the day ahead.
Drinking tea can play a vital role in maintaining health. During Han Lu the best tea for sipping throughout the day is lotus seed with black tea. Black tea warms (without overheating), wakes the body up, and supports the body’s energy. Lotus seed nourishes the body, calms the nervous system, and provides a balance to the black tea.
1 bag of your favorite black tea,
10 lotus seeds,
5 Chinese dates,
2 1/2 tsp honey,
10 g Longan fruit (Long yan rou).
Steep the above ingredients in hot water and let cool.
Sipping this tea is best so do not drink too much at once or over the course of one day. Remember to let it cool down to a warm temperature as it’s best to avoid drinking very hot drinks during Han Lu.
Too much cold food in general can stagnate and burden the digestive system. These include icy drinks, ice cream, and cold, raw fruits and vegetables. Spicy and hot foods can bring too much heat and eventually dryness. These include barbequed foods and chicken. Too much greasy food will also put a strain on the digestive system right now and should be avoided.
Lifestyle – We encourage gentle exercise to promote circulation while our bodies are subjected to seasonal temperature changes. According to traditional Chinese medicine, these changes can increase susceptibility to colds and flus. So, if exercising outside during Han Lu, milder exercise with good cover, especially around the neck and head, is best. If heavy exercise, producing more sweat, is important to you then moving inside will protect you the best. Always covering up before going back outside is essential.
Adequate sleep is key anytime of the year but especially during Han Lu. Being asleep by 11 pm benefits the immune, nervous and digestive systems. The benefits of sleep are being supported by Western medical research.
It is important during Han Lu to maintain emotional equilibrium as much as possible. Guarding personal boundaries, limiting commitments and the avoidance of emotionally challenging situations or drama are ideal. An equal balance of obligations and those things that bring joy, or feed the soul (i.e. friends, hobbies, activities, etc.) is critical for preserving the vital energy throughout this season.
Conclusions- Han Lu is a time of transition. Doing what we can to support the body’s processes during Han Lu will minimize the stressful impact of increased cold and damp. Being intentional about diets and lifestyle helps us stay healthy, energized, and in good emotional health for the short and long term.
White Center Wellness Clinic can help to support you during this, or any season. Are you already feeling fatigued? Spread thin? Like you’re coming down with something? Is stress already taking its toll? With regular acupuncture treatments and herbal medicine, we can help you feel better and prepared to take on life’s daily stresses. We want you to be your very best! Call or go online to make your appointment.