In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Fall is associated with the element Metal. Fall is the time for the harvest and gathering-in what we have planted and worked for over the summer. Like metal, it has a contracting nature, that is, the focus of energy is to move inward. Leaves fall off the trees and the active components of the tree slow down and move inward to conserve energy for the winter. Foods selected for consumption in the Fall generally include foods of a warming, astringent nature. Foods in Fall are cooked for a longer period of time with a more focused preparation. Cook foods with less water, lower heat and for longer periods of time.

The essence of food is received through the sense of smell, which is related to the Metal element and Lungs. The fragrance of baked and sautéed foods stimulates the appetite. These foods act to thicken the blood enabling us to keep warm over the long, cold winter months. Astringent foods are sour in nature and include foods such as, sourdough bread, sauerkraut (like grandma’s), olives, pickles, leeks, aduki beans, salt plums, rose hip tea, vinegar, cheese, yogurt, lemons, limes, grapefruit and sour varieties of apples, plums and grapes. Remember the general rule of moderation-small amounts have a strong effect.

Winter Vegetables and Their Properties Beets

Neutral thermal nature, sweet flavor, strengthens the heart, sedates the spirit, improves circulation, purifies the blood, benefits the liver, moistens the intestines and improves vascular congestion. Use with carrots for hormone regulation during menopause.


Cooling thermal nature, pungent, slightly bitter, diuretic. Contains Vitamin A, which benefits the skin and has more vitamin C than citrus. Broccoli is also a good natural source of sulfur, iron and B vitamins. Use in moderation in cases of thyroid deficiency or low iodine.


Slightly warming thermal nature, sweet and pungent flavor, mucilaginous- moistens the intestines, benefits the stomach, improves digestion, and beautifies the skin. Also treats constipation, common cold, whooping cough, frostbite, mental depression and irritability and worms in the digestive system. Cabbage contains vitamin U (really) that is beneficial in treating ulcers. Cabbage may be used simultaneously as a poultice and taken internally to treat skin eruptions, leg ulcers, varicose veins, arthritis and wounds. Cabbage also contains iodine and is a rich source of vitamin C –even more so than oranges. The outer leaves are high in vitamin E and contain a third more calcium than the inner leaves.


Neutral thermal nature, sweet flavor, benefits the lungs, strengthens the spleen-pancreas, improves liver functions, stimulates the elimination of wastes, diuretic, dissolves stones and tumors, treats indigestion including stomach acid and heartburn, eliminates putrefactive bacteria from the intestines, used for diarrhea and dysentery and contains and essential oil that destroys pinworms and roundworms. Carrots are one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant that protects against cancer. Beta carotene/vitamin A benefits the skin and is anti-inflammatory for the mucous membranes. Carrots are therefore useful for skin and lung lesions, digestive tract and urinary tract infections. They are also good to give to children suffering with measles or chicken pox. Recommended consumption is at least 6 ounces of carrots per day or 1-2 cups of juice. Remember, moderation-avoid over-consumption as carrot juice is very sweet and may weaken the kidneys