Strengthen your Immunity in Autumn

Strengthen your Immunity in Autumn

Right now, you can sense the days have begun to shorten, the light is less harsh, and the air is crisper. In Chinese Medicine Autumn is a pivotal season from the active outgoing summer brightness to the stillness and introvert nature of autumn. Naturally, we start to prepare for the coming of winter, the cooling down, this can mean spending more time indoors or changing our dietary habits. It is also a time for letting go of things or situations that do not serve you anymore. In Chinese Medicine Autumn relates to the Metal element and the Lungs and Large Intestine organs, and the bodies largest organ the skin. This is a wonderful time to strengthen the immune system.


The Lungs are responsible for our inspiration and help to support a healthy immune response to any pathogenic influence such as colds and flu. The Lungs dislike dryness, so using food to nourish the Lungs is important to combat dryness. If you experience shortness of breath, cough, or sore throat you may have a Lung imbalance. Foods such as sweet potato, avocado, mushroom, pears, walnuts, apples, tahini, flax seed, spinach, help to combat dryness and moisten the body internally. Cooked foods and longer cooking methods are recommended as we need warming food to nourish us in cooler months. An effective way to support our Lungs is with exercise that facilitates deep breathing.


The Large Intestine is responsible for elimination of waste from the body; therefore, imbalance may show up as dry skin and hair, constipation, and sluggish digestion and colon issues. Overall, we can benefit from some quietude, enjoying our own company and doing activities that nurture our metal element, letting go of old habits or ways of thinking.


To maintain a healthy immune system, it is important to maintain a balanced diet, regular exercise, and self-care to reduce stress. It is well documented that stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of fresh air affects the body’s ability to fight viruses. Our immune system reflects our health.


Chinese Medicine incorporates Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Cupping and Gua Sha all of which help to calm the nervous system, decrease inflammation, and relieve stress and strengthen the immune system;


Acupuncture helps to restore we qi (immune response) to fight off a pathogen, improve digestion and elimination, reduce cough, phlegm, and aid sleep. Acupuncture can also strengthen a weakened immune system by increasing red and white blood counts, T-cell production which help fight immune related illnesses.


Cupping – Cupping can support the Lungs to expel a cold and stimulate the release of pathogens such as phlegm and feelings of heat and cold from the body. It does this by stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal itself, increasing blood circulation and aiding the lymphatic system.


Gua Sha – Gua Sha helps the body to eliminate heat and upper body muscle tension caused by excessive coughing. It is especially good for common colds when there’s heat trapped in the body’s surface (Wei qi) layer.


Chinese Herbal medicine  – Chinese herbal fromuals can not only be formulated to target major symptoms when sick such as dry cough, phlegm, productive cough, chest tightness, fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, low appetite, sinus infection, and fever, but also be used to boost the bodies immune system to prevent your getting sick in the first place.


Yu Ping Feng San 


Yu ping feng san, or “Jade Windscreen,” has been used in East Asia for over 800 years, this formula supports and enriches the wei qi, or protective qi, in guarding against harmful influences entering the body. This simple formula incorporates three herbs to support healthy immune function, can be taken throughout trip to prevent colds & flus 🤧 😷 🤒

Prevention (everyone in general seems to be sick): 4 pills 2X/day

Exposed (people I’m interacting with are sick): 10 pills 3X/day

Yu Ping Feng San is stocked at the clinic.


Diet & Herbs – Adding herbs into our diet can also be useful. Examples include garlic, ginger, chilli or even the Chinese Herb Astragalis.


Astragalis – 黄芪 – “Huang Qi”

Astragalus boosts the immune system by increasing white blood cells, fighting bacterial and viral infections like common cold. Astragalis can be used as a tea, combined with other immune boosting herbs such as ginger or even in broths.


Immune Boosting Snack – Shiitaki mushroom & Astragalis Broth

Shitake mushroom and astragalus immunity broth. Shitake mushrooms are rich in adaptogens and antiviral nutrient rich food source, combined with astragalus root to boost resistance to bacterial and viral infections, combined with ginger, garlic and green onion to supercharge this healing broth




  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1⁄4 cup of ginger
  • 10 shitake mushrooms
  • 3 springs green onion
  • 5 pieces of astragalus root

To make this recipe;

  1. Peel and slice 1 head of garlic
  2. Next grate ginger
  3. Slice shitake into 1cm thick pieces
  4.  Finely slice green onion
  5. Add garlic, ginger to large pot with sesame oil and sauté for 1 min
  6. Add shitake mushrooms and green onion and sauté for another few minutes
  7. Fill the pot halfway with water and add astragalus root and sea salt and pepper to sautéed garlic, ginger, green onion
  8. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour to extract the nutrients. Serve hot


About the author

Dr Jo Carpenter (TCM) is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist & Shiatsu Pracitioner to find out more about Dr Jo see her Profile or Book an Appointment