Calling all root digging herbalists! Did it feel like a long summer to you? I am a lover of heat and swimming hole days, though this year I find myself craving the crisp mornings of fall, wafts of wood stove smoke, cozy sweaters and curry squash soup!
Harvest time keeps us (and the squirrels) busy as we bring in the fruits of Nature’s labor and gather wood in preparation for Winter’s darker days. Energetically, plants are retreating, concentrating medicine into the Earth. It’s time to bring root medicine into our bodies and apothecaries. Roots are ideally harvested in Fall or Spring but for some, their medicine is most potent as the days shorten. Dandelion, burdock, and chicory for example, offer ample amounts of inulin in their fall-dug roots: about 40% more than those harvested in Spring. Inulin is a prebiotic, providing food for the friendly bacteria in our bellies, wherein much or our immune system resides. These liver loving herbs also support the body’s cleansing efforts and can be easily added to tea blends or prepared as tinctures. One of my favorite ways to incorporate burdock is a simple recipe even my kiddos enjoy.
BURDOCK + CARROTS: Thinly slice equal amounts of carrots and burdock root and saute in a generous amount of olive oil with a sprinkle of salt until tender. That’s it! Peeling the roots of burdock takes some of the earthy flavor out, but is not necessary.
If you’re not finding time to wildcraft roots, check out our herbal coffee blend, DIDN'T IT RAIN. A deliciously warming rootsy brew, incorporating all the above mentioned herbs plus adaptogenic eleuthero root to support immunity and seasonal transition. A perfect companion on these cool Autumn mornings!
Nature steadily provides a potent metaphor for us, but especially for me in this season. Trees gracefully releasing their leaves, trusting the process of letting go and drawing in. Letting go is, after all, what we get to do most of our days on this Earth. This morning I sat with a friend, listening to her struggles with her teenage daughter. I was reminded that in many things, but especially in parenting, the entire journey is really about letting go. Right from day one. It’s impossible to deliver a baby without releasing control. From that moment on, we let go. Over and over. We let go of a hand to watch them take two steps and then tumble over. We let them go onto a bus to school, into the drivers seat of our cars, and into the arms of another to start their own families. With each letting go come tears of sadness and joy.
In Five Element Chinese medicine, Fall is the season that is associated with the health of the lungs and large intestines, the emotion of grief, the experience of beauty and, you guessed it. The act of letting go. How are you being invited to trust, letting go of what no longer serves you?
Here are a few other suggestions to support your body as we journey into the yin season:
TRY A FLOWER ESSENCE. Hawthorn flower essence is said to “cradle and comfort the heart-release grief and grow whole.” Star of Bethlehem helps us to “release trauma, shock and the haunt of old wounds-and open to the profound comfort of regeneration”
MAKE TEA. One of the most nurturing gifts we can give ourselves or one another is a listening ear and a hand crafted cup of tea. Here’s one I make to support lung health:
• 3 parts Mullein leaf
• 3 parts Elecampane root
• 2 parts rose hips
• 1 part peppermint leaf
• 1/2 part licorice root
• 1/2 part ginger
DEEP INTENTIONAL BREATHS. A super simple, yet profoundly powerful tool. We live synergistically, us and nature. Breath is what connects us and how we keep each other alive. As you breathe in, imagine bringing in the things that support you and on the out breath, releasing what is no longer life giving. Sing what you are grateful for. Do it outside in this sweet Fall air. And invite the trees to speak their wisdom to you.
According to Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, toxic build-up can eventually manifest as a health disorder. And as we grow older, the body's mechanisms for eliminating impurities tend to be less efficient, making it even more important to cleanse every season.