Entering Earth Time, the Harvest Season
The Harvest Season, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is known as Earth Time. The systems of the body connected to this season are Stomach and Spleen. The stomach in TCM is the organ that digests all the food we consume, transforming the Qi (energy) from plants, animals, grains, into your Life Force Qi. August 1st is Lammas, the pagan holiday marking the beginning of the harvest season.
Can you feel the shift toward the earth? Grounding us back to her womb?
Abby filling the shelves with herbs at Foxtrot Herb Farm
You may feel as the cooler weather approaches, your body is signaling a change in desire for cooked foods like squash, sweet potatoes, apples, root vegetables, garlic, and soups. That density and sweetness of the bounty from all the seeds the farmers and gardeners sowed gives us nourishment as the seasons shift into autumn.
The Spleen is a yin earth organ, and the stomach is yang. The Spleen creates the enzymes for the stomach to utilize in breaking down food before passing it to the small intestine. This organ is very important because it produces everything the stomach needs to transform food to fuel.
When the spleen gets bogged down or “damp” according to TCM, we may feel tired, sluggish after eating, unmotivated to start new projects, and bloated. Foods to avoid are cold dairy with sugar like ice cream and smoothies unless there is enough spice such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom. The spleen and stomach like to be warm and it takes a lot of energy to digest cold damp foods, the way a fire sizzles when a damp log is thrown on. The stomach digests our food with a healthy balance of acids and enzymes.
The spleen governs the blood therefore has a major influence on menstruation, heart health, and blood’s movement through the body.
The Earth inside of us needs space to pause, slow down and relish in the moment. Asking, “Am I getting my needs met?” If you don’t know what your needs are, this is a good time of year to get clear. When your needs are met, everyone and everything else in your life flows with more ease and grace. You are fully deserving of having your needs met.
Apprentices harvest Echinacea during a farm tour of Fox Trot Herb Farm, Ashfield
Seasonal Shifting during Earth Time
The sun is rising later, setting earlier. We are slowly returning to the most yin part of the year. The crops are coming in abundantly, fresh corn on the roadside stands abounds, the sunflowers are beaming to attract goldfinches and hummingbirds, the sweetness of summer will come to a close soon. Orange, red, yellow, everywhere. Tomatoes dangle off the vine asking to be eaten with basil and mozzarella.
The cooler nights remind us that fall is whispering in our ears. This is our chance to harvest the abundance of nutrient dense food while it's available. Canning, freezing, fermenting, drying, tincturing, like little squirrels in the kitchen.
We pray to have all we need as we head into the winter. Shelves that are stocked full to the brim may feel just as, if not more comforting than what’s in the bank account. Survival depends on the food we put away. It’s only recently, and a select elite, that we can experience relying on grocery stores all year to be plentiful. But, what did we learn last spring when the pandemic hit? It absolutely makes sense to go back to our roots and grow more food and medicine.
pickling dilly beans for the winter ahead
Earth Foods & Medicine
Taste of Earth: sweet / bland
Foods that nourish the Earth Element: animal fats, eggs, fruits, grains, meats and fish, milk and cream, nuts and seeds, root crops, sweeteners, winter squash
Herbs that support a balanced Earth: astragalus, cinnamon, codonopsis, fennel, goji berry, licorice, marshmallow, shatavari, ginger
summer's bounty from the gardens
Sweet foods are nutrient dense, high calorie, and provide long term energy. They are the foundation of cell development, tissue repair, bone building, and build body fluids like semen, milk, and blood. Not enough nourishment can lead to fatigue, scanty menses, low energy. Too much sweet/bland without enough warmth from spices and herbs can cause dampness or bloating.
Refined carbs and sugars aggravate and disrupt the body’s glycemic index. Sugar cravings can be swayed with high protein and high fat foods or naturally sweet fruits. Overeating also causes sluggishness.
Sweet foods are also grounding and nurturing, helping us relax and rebuild. Eat them with spices and herbs to aid absorption of nutrients and cut through dampness.
May you have a bountiful harvest season and make space for slowing down and listening to your inner longings.
This is a great time to join the Herbal CSA Program! Click here to learn more.
I will be shipping out Earth Time Boxes at the end of August.