We have officially entered into autumn. Fall is a time of harvest; a time where we are reaping the fruits and learning the lessons that were sown earlier in the year. It is a time of inner reflection and turning inward in preparation for winter.

Within the theory of the Chinese five elements, fall is associated with the metal element…

The metal element within us is represented by the alchemist archetype. As such, it transforms, expands, and contracts. The physical organ systems that belong to metal are the lungs and large intestines. The lungs receive and expand to make qi (vital energy) through the breath, and the intestines release toxins and waste by letting go-physically, energetically and emotionally. The nose, throat, skin and the body’s ability to protect itself from invasion of environmental pathogens, are part of the lung energy system.

As we begin to experience more dryness and cold in our external environment, the internal environment must adjust to these changes and the lungs can be easily knocked out of balance.

It is common during this transition time to see frequent colds, disorders of the nose and throat, pneumonia, bronchitis, skin problems, and allergies. Also intestinal issues may surface, especially dryness in the intestines and constipation.

Emotions that reflect a metal imbalance are persistent sadness and grief, an inability to forgive and let go of past emotional issues.

This is a perfect time of year to nourish our lungs and intestines, boost our immune systems, but also to give the alchemist within all of us the chance to transform old patterns, let go of what no longer serves us, reflect on what we have learned this year, connect with our core being, and heal our emotions and spirits.

Foods that are helpful to balance metal are pungent and white foods like onion, garlic, daikon root, ginger and turnip.

Other ways to balance the metal element within you are to take time to breathe deeply, spend time in nature connecting the inner with the outer, meditate and journal more often and get acupuncture to nourish the lungs and cleanse the intestines.