With the recent temperatures and butter-thick humidity, it’s hard to believe that autumn is just around the corner. As days shorten and cool, sweaters and boots make it out of the back of the closet, and earthier vegetables come into season, so too come changes in digestion, respiration, and mood. Freed’s herbalist and LMT Karen Culpepper has some tips for making it through the transition:
Actively reflect. Make time to reflect on the summer you just had--journal about your memories, and intentionally work summary imagery into mindful meditations. Sit, inhale as you picture a happy summer’s day, hold your breath keep your attention on that image a moment longer, then exhale as you feel yourself radiating the sun’s warmth. Soon, just taking a deep breath will instantly warm you on a chilly fall day.
Focus on lung health. Those mindful deep breaths may do more than keep you warm and your disposition sunny. They can also help to energize and clear out your respiratory system, which tends to get bogged down as it gets cooler and drier. You can also sip tea with licorice root or add extra thyme and oregano to your dinner to give your lungs an herbal boost.
Stay...regular. The large intestine tends to get sluggish as it gets cooler, and diets tend to get heavier in the fall. Incorporate those tough root vegetables and starchy potatoes slowly, and make sure you’re still mixing in plenty of lighter fare. Too much heavy, creamy, cheesy goodness tastes divine, but will only make you more irregular. Say no to constipation!
Get touched. The collective mood starts to dip in the fall, as days get cooler and shorter and more rain is predicted. Those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder will start to feel symptoms. While we can’t bring back the summer sun, science shows that positive touch does wonders for the circulatory and parasympathetic nervous systems, warming you up and aiding digestion, while massage has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (aka the “stress” hormone) while increasing dopamine and serotonin, boosting your mood.
Sip on Karen’s Fire Cider! Whip up a batch of this brew to sip, or use it in salad dressings and marinades. Enjoy a warming beverage and stave off colds at the same time. Use the ingredients in proportions that taste good to you, and follow the instructions below.
Karen's Fire Cider Recipe:
Ingredients: ginger, onion, horseradish, garlic, turmeric, lemon/grapefruit juice, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, glycerin/honey
Chop ingredients into small pieces and pack into a 1-quart canning jar, leaving a few inches at the top. Add anywhere from 1/2 to 2 teaspoons (or more if you like it really spicy!) of cayenne pepper or add a pinch of peppercorns. There is no wrong way to make fire cider! Add citrus juice of choice, then cover with organic, raw apple cider vinegar. Cover the top of the jar with a square of waxed (to stop the acid in the vinegar from corroding the metal lid), then seal.
Shake well and leave on your kitchen counter, out of direct sunlight. Every time you walk by that jar, give it another shake. For two weeks, shake the jar and do your magic. At the end of two weeks, pour it through a kitchen strainer, wash your canning jar out well, and return the liquid to the jar. You may want to add, at this point, a few tablespoons glycerin (which will give it a pleasant sweetness, a nice foil for the hot, tart taste) or honey. If you add honey, you’ll need to refrigerate it, but glycerin requires no refrigeration.
Book now with Karen for more herbal medicine specifically for you and your life!