As we move in to Autumn our bodies work harder to protect us from attack from evil pathogens (colds and flu). “Wei Qi” is a Chinese medicine term meaning “protective energy”, and can be considered equivalent to the immune system. Wei Qi circulates on the surface of our bodies, protecting us from invasion from evils.
As the temperature cools the warm energy (Yang Qi) of our bodies turns inwards to protect our organs; less Qi at the surface can leave our bodies susceptible, making it more likely that we will suffer from colds and flu. The drier winds and cooler weather can further deplete our Yang Qi, so grab a scarf and coat when Autumn winds rise.
As always, what we eat is important in maintaining optimum health. Warm soups and hearty stews provide nourishment to our Qi and blood – chicken congee is a favourite, or make a bone broth as a base for your next meal. Avoid or limit cold drinks and foods including salads or food straight from the fridge.
Chronic stress is known to decrease the production of immune cells and weaken the body’s response to infection. Making time for rest and relaxation is essential, allowing your body time to heal and repair for optimal vitality.
Chinese medicine has a long tradition of treating colds and flu – many of the herbal formulas used for colds and flu today were first described in the Third century. Ideally, treatment is applied at the very first stages of illness, supporting the body to “push out” the pathogen and return to health. Illnesses that don’t fully resolve also need attention to ensure they don’t linger and cause further problems later on. It is normal to catch one or two colds a year, but if you are frequently unwell your immune system may need support.