To help the body adjust to the change of seasons (aka the September Bug), I recommend making some
Change of Season Soup. This Chinese herbal soup (or tea) is made by boiling four important herbs for one hour. Once the soup is made, drink/eat it once a day for a week (or until it is all gone). The herbs contained in the soup are all amazing for the immune system, building it up in order to withstand the stresses (emotionally, environmentally, and physically) associated with the changing of seasons.
The key soup herbs can be purchased individually at an herb shop, some natural food stores, or at a Chinese grocery store. Sometimes you can buy a package containing all four herbs at any of the previously mentioned places or even some major grocery chains (look in the ethnic/international food aisle).
The required herbs include:
1. Codonopsis. This herb is important in tonifying Qi energy (according to TCM principles). It detoxifies blood. It increases blood and the production of other immunity-important fluids. It is an adoptogen, helping the body to better manage stress
2. Astragalus. This herb is an adaptogen, helping the body to better manage stress. It also stimulates the immune system. It tonifies the body overall.
3. Dioscorea (aka Chinese yam). This herb relaxes the smooth muscles along the digestive tract. It is also great for the liver and is anti-inflammatory.
4. Chinese Lycii Berries (aka Goji berries). These berries strengthen the liver and the kidneys. They also work to improve the immune system.
To make the soup/tea, bring 10-20 cups of water to a boil, add the herbs, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and then boil for 1-2 hours. Then strain out the herbs and drink this as a tea (simply reheat the desired amount of tea on the stove in a pot). Or, to make it a soup, add chicken (add the bones too to get blood building nutrients) or chickpeas (to make it vegetarian and to add fiber), and then add lots of vegetables, especially root veggies. Boil until all all of the veg are tender. Add some more herbs (thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, savory, etc), if desired. Enjoy the resulting soup for dinner or lunch for the next week or until the pot is finished. Simply reheat the soup on the stove (avoid microwaves as they will destroy some of its healthy nutrients).