Tea leaves: Flowing with the seasons reflects wisdom

As we learn about the ebb and flow of the seasons and their intent for us, we learn to tune in to our own natural rhythms and adjust our lives in accordance with them.

by Victoria J. Mogilner — 

Farmers who plant, nurture and harvest crops, and then allow the ground to lie fallow for a period of rest, know well the significance of the seasons. Practitioners of the principles of Chinese medicine also honor the seasons, understanding that a healthy life is one that follows the seasonal cycle of nature.

As we learn about the ebb and flow of the seasons and their intent for us, we learn to tune in to our own natural rhythms and adjust our lives in accordance with them.

Each season deals with rejuvenation in a specific context. Spring is the season for new ideas, a time for laying both short- and long-term foundations. Summer is the season to nourish those ideas, to watch them take root and grow.

Indian summer, which the Chinese view as a season unto itself, is a time to prepare for the rest and reflection to come in the following seasons. Autumn is the harvest season, a time for gathering our thoughts and ideas — a time to begin putting our lives in order. Winter is the time to go within, to become quiet in preparation for the new beginning in the next sequence of seasons.

Certain teas are helpful for harmonizing with the different seasons:

Spring — Sassafras tea helps purify the blood, which aids the liver. It is also good for the joints, skin and kidneys. Dandelion tea is another great springtime healer, since it cleanses the blood and liver. To make either tea, add a small piece of the herb to a stainless steel kettle or pot of water. Soak the herb for 10 to 15 minutes; bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Summer — Peppermint and comfrey teas are excellent cooling teas for this hot time of year. They are available at natural food stores. Hawthorn berry tea strengthens the heart. Add two ounces of hawthorn berries to one quart of boiling water; reduce heat; and steep for 10 minutes. Drink a cup of this tea once or twice a day.

Indian summer — Chamomile tea stimulates the stomach and calms the nervous system. Other herbs that are good for the stomach include thyme, ginseng and clove, while parsley, dandelion and chicory bolster the spleen. Cardamom and fennel tea also are helpful during Indian summer because they aid digestion. Steep for 15 minutes; then let sit for 15 minutes before drinking. Or try peppermint tea, an old standby for healthy digestion.

Autumn — Burdock root tea is great in the autumn, as it works as a tonic for the colon. Cascara sagrada tea works as a laxative, cleansing the colon. Coltsfoot and mullen teas act as lung tonics. Other teas for the lungs include slippery elm, horehound and yerba sante. Licorice root makes an excellent autumn tea, for it stimulates both the colon and the lungs.

Winter — Marshmallow root promotes health in the kidneys and bladder, and acts as a diuretic. To make it, steep the root for 15 to 20 minutes. Nettle tea also acts as a diuretic and is good for the kidneys. Fenugreek is another good choice, and it also functions as an adrenal tonic. Juniper berries help strengthen the kidneys. Combine them in a tea with uvi ursi, an herb that stimulates the bladder.

As you understand the importance of the seasons and begin to live according to them, your life will settle into its own natural rhythms. Things go smoothly when you learn not to push against the flow of nature.


Victoria J. Mogilner is a certified acupuncturist and maintains a private practice of acupuncture, acupressure, herbal medicine, massage therapy and counseling. She is the author of Ancient Secrets of Facial Rejuvenation: A Holistic, Nonsurgical Approach to Youth & Well-being. 480-663-8208 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 1, February/March 2007.

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