Autumn health tips

gingerIn the UK we’ve had a torrid time – government shenanigans, our Queen has died, and now after a fantastic summer, we are moving fast into wintry weather and darker nights. So what can we do to keep healthy and avoid the flu, Covid and colds that are rampant?

Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine put a lot of emphasis on the change of seasons and how it affects the body.  Some people may notice their own personal issues resurfacing at this time of year, having felt better during the warmer months.

Eating right for the time of year is very important so that you eat salads in summer and soups and stews in winter to warm up your body.

Coping with autumn

  • Lack of exposure to the sun leads to Vitamin D. deficiency as the winter goes on.
  • Darker days can mean that people feel depressed or get SAD – see Winter blues or SAD?
  • Colds and flu are most prevalent before Christmas.  Read Prevent Colds.
  • Sleep can also become disrupted – see Sleep problems and it’s often hard to get up in the morning!

Winter tips:

Vitamin C will help you to stave off colds – a good dose is 1,000mg and any excess is peed out.  Try Cherry Active or Viridian Ester C.

Warming foods such as stews casseroles and home-made soups help to keep the body warm in cold weather.  Include plenty of herbs and spices to keep the digestive system healthy –- ginger, cumin, basil, mustard, cardamom, black pepper, basil, turmeric, and of course garlic!

Exercise outside when it’s sunny and dry so that you get some exposure to sunlight.   According to Mind, the mental health charity, what they call ‘ecotherapy’ can positively affect your mood.

Take plenty of Vitamin D – there isn’t  enough sun in the UK in winter for your body to make Vitamin D.  So try taking a supplement such as Viridian’s Vitamin D, or Better You’s D-Lux spray.

Sleep well – sleep is as vital as exercise and healthy eating for our wellbeing. To see some tips for sleeping well in winter read: Sleep problems.

Drink spicy teas that are cleansing and warming – those containing cardamom, cinnamon and ginger are particularly good.

Hot water with lemon a slice of lemon first thing in the morning is very cleansing to the liver.

Tip from Sebastian Pole of Pukka Herbs: if the change of season affects your digestion, gives you insomnia, constipation or anxiety, try the Ayurvedic remedy: Ashwaganda ((Withania somnifera). He also suggests a delicious cup of milk simmered with a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom to settle in for a blissful night’s sleep!

Autumn the ayurvedic way

Extract from an article by Sebastian Pole, Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbalist at Pukka Herbs, of the main causes of disease in Ayurveda is crimes against wisdom (prajnaparadha). This means violating your inner sense of intuition as well as ignoring your past experience. Denying this wisdom results in acting inappropriately for who you are. This gives you great responsibility for your health and is a very empowering tool for taking control of your health

Also classified under this heading is the restraint of natural urges (vegavrodha); there should be no withholding the need of thirst, hunger, sneezing, yawning, crying, urinating, defaecating, farting, burping, orgasm, sleep, waking and breathing due to over exertion. This does not mean wanton indulgence of your needs but also appeals to you to follow your physical needs without letting your mental attractions and aversions get in the way.

A teacher once taught me “graze like a cow and let your spirit soar”, meaning live simply according to the needs of your body and let your consciousness flourish. Simple and true! Ayurveda and Yoga both teach us that the practice of observation is the path to understanding.

Diet suggestions for autumn

• Plenty of warm foods that are sweet, mildly spicy, sour and salty – these flavours increase moisture and encourage feelings of being nourished and grounded.
• Breakfast with a small bowl of porridge of either oats, rice or quinoa flavoured with cinnamon or maple syrup.
• If your system is destabilised by autumn changes and can suffer from vata imbalanced symptoms such as insomnia, erratic digestion, constipation and anexity the most famous Ayurvedic remedy is Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) which is great for: calming, strengthening, giving energy and settling the nervous system. Take it at both morning and evening.
• Avoid too many raw salads, cold drinks, ice, beans, fermented foods and yeast in autumn as they cause gas and may destabilise your digestion.
• At the end of a busy day make a delicious cup of milk simmered with a pinch of nutmeg and cardamom to settle in for a blissful night’s sleep!

Nourishing recipe: Kicharee

1/3 cup organic mung dal, 2/3 organic basmati rice (or other grain) simmered in 3-4 cups of water (a ratio of 1:3 or 1:4)
• Add 1/4 tsp each of organic turmeric, fresh ginger, roasted cumin and coriander.
• Add seasonal organic vegetables: carrots, beetroots and squash for an all round healing, healthy and digestive fire enkindling meal.
• The rules are to cook it on a very low heat in a covered saucepan and DO NOT stir it after all the ingredients are added (or you end up with a mush!).

Autumn cleanse

Autumn is a common time to perform a seasonal cleanse to prepare for the winter ahead aimed at clearing the phlegm, bile and wind form the system. In addition to all the above recommendations take organic Triphala at night (for TWO weeks) to ensure that you have a complete cleansing every morning. Triphala is the most famous Ayurvedic remedy and is a combination of three fruits that very gently detoxify the body and rejuvenate the digestive system.

Ayurvedic holiday health tips

Dr Prasanna Kerur, Ayurvedic Consultant, Ayush Wellness Spa, Jersey gives his top tips for stomach cramps, diarrhoea and dehydration, sunburn and sunstroke, insect bites, and prickly heat.

Ayurvedic medicine is the ancient Indian system that incorporates a mental approach, yoga and herbal medicine. Here are some helpful tips that can make all the difference to your summer hols.

Stomach Cramps

Mix a teaspoon of ground cumin and fennel seeds with a bit of fresh ginger in warm water to aid digestion
For diarrhoea put half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg in honey and warm water and take two to three times a day. And drink plenty of lime water with salt and a bit of sugar to rehydrate, or pomegranate juice
To relieve the tenderness in the stomach and bring back appetite, mix cumin, fennel and ajwain seeds in warm water


For sunstroke drink fresh lime juice in half a pint of water, mixed with two teaspoons of honey.

Insect bites

A thick application of coconut oil mixed with a couple of drops of lavender and neem oil can keep mosquitoes away and soothe bites.

Prickly Heat

Shower twice daily in cool water and apply mild essential oils like sandalwood and lavender in carrier oil to the body.