I know it is hard to for those of us in Washington’s South Sound area to think of fall as a “dry” season since that’s when our rains return after what is usually a hiatus during summer. Nevertheless, plants tell us a different story, most notably deciduous trees. Their leaves begin to change color, dry, and fall from the branches. Lakes and streams are at their lowest flows, challenging the returning salmon. And people begin the “cold and flu season.”
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Fall is unquestionably the season of dryness. The lungs, directly connected to the outside world through our mouths and noses yet needing to be moist to function properly, are disproportionately impacted by this dryness. Hence the beginning of cold and flu season. (Stepping onto soap box now: Some people consider the use of nature-based descriptors for conditions in TCM such as “damp” or “heat” or “wind” as evidence of its lack of sophistication. Personally, I don’t see why this is any less sophisticated than naming an ailment after a white guy from centuries before and it’s usually more descriptive of the individual’s experience. In any case, when you get an upper respiratory infection, chances are very good that you call it a “cold” and so does your doctor. Stepping off of soap box now).
In TCM balance is a key principle and if the world around us is drying there must be a comparable source of moisture near to hand. Boy howdy, we in Washington scored big on one of the best sources of moisture for benefitting lungs: PEARS. That’s right, you heard me, those delicious bundles of sugar, fiber and fluids are considered a premier source of nourishment for your lungs, giving them support to stave off colds and flu. I am not guaranteeing that if you eat a pear a day it’ll keep the doctor away for good, but it certainly is a delicious way to try. Personally, I keep meaning to make a cranberry pear pie each fall but I eat through the pears before I get around to it. However you prepare your pears, enjoy them this fall and your lungs will thank you.