Time to Support Your Lungs and Large Intestine by Briana Sabaj L.Ac

Winter is Here! Time to Support Your Lungs and Large Intestine!

By Briana J. Sabaj L.Ac, MSTOM.

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The Cycle of the Seasons.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn. Just like seasons are cyclical, so are ailments! An example of a cyclical ailment would be seasonal respiratory issues. For many, when Autumn arrives, allergies and asthma are kicked into high gear. Not to mention, this is also the start of cold/flu season! This is no coincidence. This is just a small manifestation of a larger imbalanced picture, and Chinese Medicine can help!

Breathe In the Clear. Breathe Out the Turbid.

Ancient Chinese Medicine focuses on diagnosing via the natural rhythms of life and relates these cycles to their respective organs' roles and responsibilities. Cycles are important!

During every 24-hour period, season, phase in life, etc. there is a period, where the energy or “qi” of an organ system peaks.  If there's imbalance or weakness within an organ system, symptoms will exacerbate during peak times.

Autumn corresponds to the Lungs and Large Intestine; they work as a pair.

Take time to expand your lungs and take pure deep breath in through your nose, of the crisp, cool Autumn air. Breathe in the clear.

As we breathe in the pure, we must remember to let go of waste. As trees let go of the unneeded leaves, the Large Intestine let's go of unneeded waste. Let go of the turbid.

Imbalances of Lungs/Large Intestine can manifest as weak immune system, allergies, asthma, cough, shortness of breath, constipation, etc.

Six Causes of Illness:

In addition to using cycles, Chinese Medicine assesses a patient's condition using the six 'causes of illness', which are cold, wind, heat, summer heat, damp, and dryness.

The ancients say that a cold/flu is an external attack of wind-cold or wind-heat pathogen. The wind carries the pathogen, and this pathogen penetrates the first line of defense; the nose, Lungs, and pores on the skin. The pathogen then begins the fight with defensive qi. This is when symptoms begin appearing. If Lung Qi is strong and healthy, our defensive qi is strong, the pores on the skin are closed and impenetrable, the person stays healthy. If Lung Qi is weak, sickness ensues, depending on immune system.

Two Examples of Cold/Flu: Wind-Heat & Wind-Cold

  • Fever and chills (Fever more predominant

  • Sore Throat

  • Burning, Red Eyes

  • Thirst

  • Headache

  • Fever and chills (Chills more predominant

  • Scratchy Throat

  • Headache

  • Upper Back, Neck, Body-aches

Treat Your Cold/Flu Accordingly...

Always support your immune system! Remember, if your first line of defense, the Lungs, are strong, then so are you! Eat organic and lots of green veggies, drink lots of room temperature water with lemon, and get plenty of rest!  If you get sick, it's important to treat your cold/flu accordingly. Otherwise, the pattern could morph into other acute or chronic symptoms.

In Chinese Medicine, when there is heat in the body, we use cooling foods or herbs as remedy. If there is cold, we use warming foods or herbs. Here are some natural tips to help! Notice, Miso Soup is on both lists. This is a great soup for any oncoming cold/flu!  In addition to these tips, acupuncture greatly helps in relieving the cold/flu!


  • Miso Soup with green onions

  • Mint, Honeysuckle, Chrysanthemum Tea

  • Baked Pears


  • Miso Soup with green onions

  • Cinnamon, Ginger, Garlic

  • Baked Pears with Cinnamon


Deeper Understanding of the Season

Hopefully, you have a better understanding of how the cycle of the seasons and six causes of illness play an important role in our health and the integrity of our organs! It is not merely about the physical changing of the seasons or different climates! It goes much deeper. The Autumn relates to the Lung and Large Intestine and is all about breathing in the new, pure air, releasing the old toxic waste, and preparing our bodies to go internal for winter. Additionally, it is important to support a healthy immune system, to prevent getting an external attack of wind-cold or wind-heat! For both prevention and if sickness occurs, I encourage you to connect with a Licensed Acupuncturist in your area. They can help educate you on how to nourish and support your body, mind, and spirit through the changing seasons and climates.


As an acupuncturist, Briana Sabaj, feels that to reach optimal health, one must treat the whole person, from root to branch. Her passion is  to help others reach this, using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Healing Touch Therapy, and Acutonics.