Winter is upon us! Even in Hawaii we can still be receptive to the principles and philosophies of Traditional Oriental Medicine that reflect a connection to nature and a holistic attitude toward health. Each season presents the opportunity for growth and evolution into lasting vitality and wellness.
The winter season is about introspection, allowing us to slow down to a more reflective pace, to take a look at what we want to let go of, ways we can keep ourselves healthy, balanced, and build our energy reserves. It is the time to nourish the gestation of seeds planted in the fall, and also to prepare for the burst of new life in the spring.
According to Chinese Medicine, winter is a time to support the kidneys, urinary bladder, adrenal glands, ears, and hair through appropriate foods, tonics, and modalities.
We may also know too well, that during winter season we are more susceptible to Colds and Flus.
Pay attention to early signs and symptoms of a cold or flu as you can help boost the immune system and fight the illness more quickly and effectively.
Consider eating winter foods: This includes beans of all kinds, lentils, split peas, root vegetables, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, winter squash, lotus root, taro root, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, bell peppers of various colors, sweet corn, nuts and seeds, and various varieties of white, yellow, and orange (even red and purple) potatoes, including sweet potatoes and yams.
Traditional Chinese medicine, (TCM) teaches us that foods that are dark or “black” in color are important in winter because they nourish the “Yin.” Foods such as black beans, black sesame seeds, black lentils, dark seaweeds, and darkly colored vegetables are excellent. Warm hearty soups and healthy lean meat and root vegetable stews, whole grains, and roasted nuts are also delicious.
Fruits to eat in the winter include pears, oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits, apples, bananas, blueberries, guava, dark and red grapes, apples, clemetines, cranberries, red grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, kumquats, passion fruit, persimmons, pomegranates and rhubarb.
Teas to drink are high in antioxidants such as black and green teas or ginger to warm up and improve digestion after a meal.
Do like the animals do: Slow down, gain a pound or two, and hibernate. Nature is telling us to get a little more rest, and to nourish ourselves.
Bundle up if it is cold: This may seem like a no-brainer, keep warm and conserve your energy by dressing in layers.
Stay moderately active: Stretching, yoga, Tai Qi, Meditation, walking, or whatever feels good is beneficial as long as you don’t overdo it.
Keep your gut healthy: Consume foods that have natural probiotics (like yogurt, kefir, miso soup, cultured vegetables, sauerkraut), or take a high quality supplement.
Follow the sun’s lead: As the days get shorter, shift your sleep routine toward going to bed earlier and to allow your body more hours to rest and rejuvenate.
Reduce your stress, recharge your soul: Find a way to relax on a daily basis. Give yourself the extra time and space to be quiet, to be in nature or whatever is meaningful to you.
Make a Feel Good Menu especially for you: Take some time to brainstorm all the things you can do in winter that you enjoy, that feels indulgent, and makes you happy. Keep this list posted and draw from it to make your days more special and when you need a little extra pampering.
CLASSICAL SYMPTOMS OF COLD AND FLU
TCM classifies colds and flus into two primary categories, depending on whether the primary signs are more of heat or of cold. Once you have determined which version you have—cold or heat, you will be better able to treat yourself, or go see your practitioner.
Common cold signs include: a scratchy throat, sneezing, an achiness in your body or head, feeling unusually tired, a sensitivity to the wind or drafts, or even just not wanting to go outside without grabbing an extra layer of clothing. You may have fever/feeling hot, thirst, sweating, headache, painful sore throat, clear/yellow/green nasal discharge and an aversion to heat or feeling chilled, sneezing, and a stiff neck.
Flu symptoms: are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, chills and sweat, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, stuffy and runny nose, cough, very weak and fatigued for up to two or three weeks.
WINTER HOME HERBAL PHARMACY:
Supplements: Vitamin D. This sunshine vitamin can help with everything from depression to immunity.
Immune systems booster: Echinacea, medicinal mushrooms, Vitamin C, Zinc, Garlic, Adaptogens such as astragalus, and ginseng improve the body resistance.
Cold and Flu herbal: Yin chao very good when taken at first sign of cold. Gan mao ling Tablet is excellent for cold and flu with symptoms of chills, fever, swollen lymph gland, sore throat.
Homeopathy: Oscillicoccinum is one of the common remedies for prevention and treatment of flu in the United States and Europe. It is a strong antiviral property, and is effective at the first onset of cold and flu.