TCM's 5th season: Late Summer Dampness Transforms Earth

According to Chinese 5-Element Theory, the fifth season, Late Summer, or what we refer to as Indian Summer, focuses on the Earth element, good nutrition, healthy digestion, and contemplation or meditation. The purple box below offers practical tips from the latest Wen Wu School newsletter. If you are not already on their mailing list, be sure to sign-up online at


Meanwhile, if you are not already familiar with an old standby, published in  1981 called, "Staying Healthy with the Seasons," by Elson M. Haas, MD, be sure to pick up a copy, or look for it in your local library. It is a very readable compendium of general information that makes Chinese 5-element Theory understandable in practical terms.

In it Dr. Haas draws a corollary that, just as late summer dampness transforms earth into fertile soil, this is also an important time of adjustment for humans to stabilize a sense of harmony and balance in Body (emphasizing exercise, moderation, and good nutrition), Mind (shifting attention from the external to internal landscapes), and Spirit (calming and centering ourselves). He offers the following attributes as possible indicators of Balance or Imbalance during this time of year.




     Resisting change



     Breathing Deeply

     Shallow Breathing

     Balanced intake

     Nervous eating

     Preparation, faith



Feng Shui and The 5-element Kitchen, by Iise Maria Fahrnow, MD, Jurgen Heinrich Farnow, and Gunther Sator, published in 2000 by Silverback Books, Inc., suggests that you cook yourself something from the earth ellement if you often feel tired and drained of energy; have an unsettled feeling in the stomach and show signs of turbulence or pressure; have problems with your connective tissue; often brood or worry; or if you simply want to take special care of yourself during the late summer season.

This is a wonderful, well laid out cookbook with lovely illustrations, easy-to-follow recipes, and it is chuck full of great information that will make eating with the seasons seem like second nature to you.

If you want to support an excellent, community-oriented, woman-owned, independent bookstore in downtown Oakland, to find either of these books, go online to, or call (510) 452-9232. The bookstore is BART accessible and, even if you cannot find what you are looking for in their online catalog, owner Luan Stauss will be happy to find any book you are looking for, and ship it to you directly.

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