Chinese Twenty-Four Season White Dew– Qiu Fen 秋分
In Part One of this article series, we discussed the names and timing of Chinese twenty-four seasons Jie Qi节气. If you missed the first part of this article series, please go here (JHealingSystem) to read it. In this article, I am going to talk about how to live well with the season White Dew – Qiu Fen 秋分. Qiu Fen 秋分 is from around September 23rd to October 8th depending on the year.
White Dew– Qiu Fen 秋分
Let’s first recap the meaning of this season’s name. Qiu 秋 means Autumn. This is the fourth season in Fall. During this time, the sun is at 180 degrees relative to the earth. At this time of the year, the sun is directly shining on the equator. Day and night have equal amounts of time.
After this season, we in the northern hemisphere will experience nights becoming longer. Of course, in our modern culture, this season also includes the autumn equinox. Fen 分 means half, or separate. There are two meanings here. First, half means day and night are equal. Second, this is the middle of the Autumn seasons which consists of 90 days in Chinese calendar.
Changes During Qiu Fen 秋分
In this season, the rain starts to diminish. Weather becomes dryer. Therefore, one can easily experience constipation, dry mouth, sore throat and dry cough. To prevent disease caused by dryness, one can use foods to help.
In this season, there is a bigger temperature difference between the middle of the day and the morning and night. Because of this temperature change, if you are not careful, you can catch a cold easily. Therefore, I often tell my patients to carry extra clothing for the cooler mornings and evenings.
If you are prone to stomach pain, keep your stomach area warm. Avoid cold foods and cold drinks. In our modern western culture, people often think salad is a good food. From a Chinese medicine perspective, eating too much cold salad can decrease the body’s Yang Qi, damaging the digestive function. So if you have stomach issues, reduce the amount of salad you eat.
Smoothies have become very popular lately. More than 60% of my patients are drinking them often. They think they are taking care of their bodies by taking in this nutritional dense drink. Smoothies are nutritionally dense from a lab test perspective. But let’s think about it through the perspective of the body’s ability to digest and utilize the nutrients.
Smoothies are often filled with raw vegetables and fruit. Often, there are frozen fruits, vegetables and ice cubes added to the drink. That is too much cold and raw food for anyone unless you are the kind of person who has a red complexion, feels hot all the time and prefers cold winter more than any other season. Most of us are not like that.
From a Chinese medicine perspective, our digestive system prefers warm food and drink. Raw and cold foods damage the digestive system and can lead to more health problems later on. So I would definitely stop drinking smoothies, especially when the season is changing to autumn and is heading towards winter.
How To Eat Properly for Qiu Fen 秋分
In this season, we should eat foods that are fresh, soft, warm, sour, and naturally moisture producing. There are two big categories of foods to eat: warming and cooling. If you generally have a red tongue, feel hot and have constipation, you should eat foods that are cooling. This includes pears, apples, lemons, grapes, grapefruit, and chrysanthemum (Ju Hua 菊花), mint.
If you generally feel cold, eat neutral and warming food. This includes wood ear (a type of mushroom), winter squash, and Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi 枸杞子). In addition, add honey and sesame oil to your drinks and foods. Finally, drink more soup and ginger tea.
Good Activities For Qiu Fen 秋分
Because this is a season of contracting (Shou 收), people (especially older people) can develop sadness and depression. Here are some activities to do to avoid these negative emotions. Go hiking in the mountains, specifically so that you can stand on high ground and look into the far distance (Deng Gao Wang Yuan 登高望远). Avoid exerting yourself too much. Maintain a balance of rest and activity. Finally focus on fun.
Conditions That May Get Worse 秋分
If you suffer from Lung weakness (Fei Xue 肺虚 ) this season brings an increased risk of the following health conditions: asthma, cough, eczema, psoriasis, skin sensitivities, anxiety and depression. Please get proper treatment to support your body going through this season peacefully.