– Bing Qian  

At Easter I took a week off to visit Wayne’s father on the farm in South Australia. I love being in the pretty Adelaide Hills and working with the cattle and other animals. Unfortunately, I always suffer from hay fever (literally!) because part of the experience is feeding bales of hay to the cattle each day!

I’ve learned that I can reduce my symptoms by drinking a lot of natural herbal teas, so I prepare my body before I leave and I make sure I take the appropriate teas with me, which means that my body does not react to the hay fever. Wayne went a week before I did to help his father remove a big fallen tree from the dam and to clear a creek crossing. When I arrived he had a cough and sore throat from all of this damp work, so I gave him the appropriate herbal tea and he was able to avoid the impending sickness.

One of the things I learned in Australia is that the Chinese have a different approach to health. In China we don’t wait until we are definitely sick to seek treatment, and we don’t just adopt a fixed regimen and stick with it no matter what. In keeping with the idea of ‘food as medicine’ we listen to our body and adjust our Chinese herbs, teas, foods etc in response to the signals our body is sending. This usually involves small tweaks and changes rather than dramatic interventions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), seasonal changes (such as moving into autumn) are always a trigger for modifying your diet, exercise regime, and herbal teas to help your body adapt to the different temperature, humidity, germs, etc. The basic premise is that as the environment changes, your body needs different things and “one size” does not fit everyone all the time.

I have a large stock of herbal teas in my home pantry and select the appropriate mixture by listening to my body. I suggest that you talk to your TCM practitioner about your body type as well, and ask what combinations or individual teas you can take (we have a selection of pre-made teas available at reception to make this easy). You will be surprised how powerful the right tea can actually be in boosting your energy, balancing your moods, and fighting off sickness.

In addition to these teas (which rarely have adverse effects), I also prescribe herbal decoctions, which are a stronger, more medicinal intervention. You should definitely consult your practitioner before taking a decoction as, contrary to popular thought, they can be harmful if you use the wrong herbal decoction for your body type and symptoms.

Balms, lozenges, and oils are also useful additions to your daily routine that can help boost your immune system, so that it can cope with the challenges of seasonal change. These are available from the reception desk without the need for an appointment.