The end of the summer and early fall are marked by what traditional Chinese medicine terms ‘descending energy.’ It is a time to take good care of ourselves by eating a balanced diet of seasonal produce flavoured with warming antiviral herbs and spices like cinnamon, ginger, and thyme.
Ginger to boost immune defences:
Fall is good time to add a little spice to our cooking. To tone up your metabolism, be creative with such spices as ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and nutmeg, which rid the body of excessive humidity. Fall is also a time to fill up your shopping basket with sweet orange-colored vegetables (squash, sweet potato, pumpkin) that nourish the spleen, an organ that should be particularly pampered to conserve its internal energy when seasons change.
Fight viruses with culinary herbs:
Thyme, oregano and wild thyme have natural antiviral properties that stimulate the body’s defences against colds, flu, bronchitis and sinusitis. When used to treat stomach flu or diarrhoea, they also facilitate good digestion and act as astringents.
Citrus fruit and kiwis for vitamin C:
Clementines, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, kiwis… Fruit that is rich in vitamin C also helps to prevent viral infections. As a general rule, fresh whole fruits are better than juices which have fewer nutrients and may contain added sugar. When seasons change, it is also recommended to supplement dietary vitamin C with an additional 500 mg/day.
Propolis and royal jelly to combat infection and depression:
Since time immemorial, products made by bees have been prized for their powerful anti-infectious properties, which are effective in the ear, nose and throat (for colds, flu and coughs) and in the gastrointestinal tract. As well as boosting the body’s defenses, propolis (a mixture of wax, resin and bees’ salivary enzymes), honey and royal jelly act as a tonic for the brain that helps prevent seasonal depression. A course of drops, ampoules or capsules lasting a month can be begun as early the end of September.
Ravintsara essential oil to prevent contagion:
When preparing for a morning commute on public transport, a few drops of ravintsara essential oil, which is made from camphor trees in Madagascar, on the wrists and in a handkerchief can help ward off airborne germs and bacteria spread by shaking hands. A single drop of the oil taken with a spoonful of thyme or lavender honey can also complement this effect.