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Chinese herbal teas for the Fall season

In this article, we went over guidelines for a healthy Autumn. As we mentioned, the element of Metal governs this season, with associated pathogenic tendency being dryness, and main organs being Lungs and Large intestines.

In the fall, we want to support the immune system to prevent colds, prevent dryness in the respiratory tract, and avoid dryness in the bowels.

Fall season's main flavor: "spicy, pungent, acrid"

The pungent taste is also called acrid or spicy, and has Yang energy. It stimulates the circulation of qi, blood, and fluids such as sweat.

The pungent taste balances poor circulation, wind chills, and mucus production. Because it directs the flow of energy toward the superficial layers of the body, it opens the pores and induces sweat (diaphoretic). Think of the sweat reaction you get when eating a spicy meal.

Pungent foods include:

  • ginger

  • scallions

  • perilla

  • mint

  • red peppers

Japanese catnip buds

In the Fall we want to use some pungency when treating colds and flu. However, because of its diaphoretic action, it can be even more drying, so only use this flavor when needed!

Cold prevention tea

mix 5 grams each of

  • Japanese catnip buds, aka schizonepeta buds (jing jie 荊芥)

  • perilla leaf (zi su ye 紫蘇葉).

  • 10 ounces of green tea

ginger tea

Tea for early stage colds: 葱白生姜汤

When you feel under the weather, and start to experience chills, a headache or body aches, a runny nose, and your appetite starts to disappear:

Boil six slices of fresh ginger in one cup of water.

For added strength, add in several pieces of the white parts of a scallion.

Preventing overall dryness with a little Sour flavor

lemon tea Chinese medicine

While the pungent flavor is dispersing and causes sweat, the Sour flavor is contracting, and supports the Yin by preventing the leakage of fluids.

In Ayurveda, sours are said to be warming (Wood et al., 2015). It sounds then natural to incorporate some sour elements into the diet and herbal tea choices to prevent dryness in the lungs, nose and large intestines. But beware, a little goes a long way.

Lemon tea

Just squeeze half a lemon into boiling water and enjoy!

Rose hip tea

Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and an excellent source of vitamin C. Research suggests that vitamin C is effective in preventing and treating the common cold (Douglas 2007).

At the first signs of a cold, stop drinking sour flavored teas and switch to a dispersing, more acrid flavor mentioned before. Sour would be keeping the pathogen inside!

Fighting allergies

Most people think of allergies as being typical of spring. However, the following pollens also trigger rhinitis symptoms and such during the fall: Ragweed, Sagebrush, Pigweed, Tumbleweed, Russian thistle, Burning bush, Mugwort and so on...

If you suffer from seasonal allergies during the fall, with symptoms such as red swollen eyes, headaches, etc, you can use the following recipe.

Clear wind and heat from the head:

Two possible herbs for this are chrysanthemum flowers (ju hua 菊花) and mint (bo he 薄荷). Not any mint will do, you have to use Herba Menthae Haplocalycis.

chrysanthemum tea
chrysanthemum buds 菊花

  • 1tsp Chrysanthemum

  • 1tsp Chinese mint (Herba Menthae Haplocalycis)

  • Add 1.5 cup of boiling water, and let seep.

  • If you also have dryness in the nose, lips, eyes or intestines, add honey.

For dry eyes in the Fall

You can read more details about Chinese medicine and dry eyes here. There are many herbs that can help with dryness in the eyes:

菊花 Ju Hua, chrysanthemum flowers.

Slightly cold, bitter, sweet, goes to Lungs and Liver.

Disperses wind and clear heat, calms liver and extinguishes wind, clears the eyes

枸杞子 Gou Qi zi, goji berries

Neutral and sweet, goes to Lungs, Liver and Kidneys

Nourishes liver and Kidney Yin, nourishes Lung Yin, benefits the essence and brightens the eyes.

goji berries

Tea for dry eyes in Autumn

  • 1tsp Chrysanthemum flowers 菊花

  • 1 tsp Goji berries (aka wolfberries) 枸杞子

  • Add 1.5 cup of boiling water, and let seep.

  • If you also have dryness in the nose, lips, eyes or intestines, add honey.

Veith, I. (1966). Huang di nei jing su wen: The yellow emperor’s classic of internal medicine. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Wood, M., Bonaldo, F., Light, P.D. (2015). Traditional western herbalism and pulse evaluation: a conversation. Lulu Publishing Services. Online.


The information on this website has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease.


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