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With the change in season, it's time to store energy
By Tan Weiyun

ALTHOUGH it's still plenty hot, autumn has arrived. According to Chinese solar terms, Li Qiu (the beginning of autumn) arrived on August 7, Chu Shu (the end of heat) fell on August 23, and Bai Lu (white dews) begins on September 7.

Autumn is a transition period of nature going from hot to cold. This is also true of the human body, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

As autumn sets in, yang ("hot") energy fades while yin ("cold") energy strengthens.

Under TCM guidelines, autumn is a time for people to remain at peace both physically and mentally, which helps balance the energies in the body. Restraining from over-exertion helps the body store yang energy for the coming winter.

According to TCM, autumn is the season that corresponds to the lungs, which at this time of year are more vulnerable to illness and this can lead to anxiety or depression.

As the weather cools, people may feel fatigued. It is important to have enough sleep at night.

TCM encourages people to go to bed at 10pm and get up at 6am. In addition, a quick nap at noon can keep you feeling fresh.

Adjust your daily menu to bland foods. Have more fresh vegetables, fruits and grains such as pineapple, honey, sesame, sticky rice and loquat.

Foods with a strong flavor including onion, ginger, chili, wine and barbecued meats are to be avoided or consumed in small quantities. The same goes for seafood and preserved foods.

As the air dries out in summer, people are more likely to feel thirsty and their skin may feel drier. Constipation also is more common in the fall. Thus, drinking more water is recommended by TCM practitioners. Ginseng and sha shen (adenophora stricta) also help moisten the body.

After white dews on September 7, people will notice a drop in temperature. As an ancient saying goes, "it turns a bit colder each time it rains after white dews."

There are many folk traditions in China to celebrate white dews. In Fuzhou, Fujian Province, people eat longan fruit.

It is said eating a tiny longan on white dews is the equivalent of eating a whole chicken.

In Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, people traditionally eat rice cooked with sweet potato and black-bone chicken, which is said to alleviate arthritis.

Old Nanjing natives brew a wine with sticky rice and sorghum. It produces a slightly sweet wine. They also make Bai Lu tea, a local specialty.

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