There are two equinoxes every year, September and March. This is when the sun shines directly on the equator. The September equinox occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south. On this day of equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night". In Vermont, this years equinox occurs on Monday, September 22nd at 10:29pm.
Lots of cultures acknowledge this transition from summer to fall with celebration and rituals. In some cultures there is a celebration of the harvest and plenty that is reaped from the earth. In others there are rituals of deep respect for the coming darker months and giving thanks and gratitude for the sunlight.
What do you do to mark the change of the seasons? Do you pull out your winter sweaters and put away lighter summer clothes? Do you spend more time in reflection looking back on past months of activity and warmth and plan for the upcoming cooler months? Do you get one more good hike in to appreciate the visible changes that mark the turning of the seasons? Whatever it is that you do to note the shifting of weather and season, we welcome you to incorporate also an acknowledgment of the shift that happens inside your body as well.
As the weather turns cooler, your metabolism begins to shift to one of more conservation for the upcoming months when our ancestors had fewer options for food. Our immune system attempts to boost itself to prepare for the inevitable exposure to illness that is shared as our spaces are more closely shared with others. Because of these changes that occur, it is a wonderful time to support both metabolism and immunity through methods of detoxification. Allowing your body to shed the burden of allergies, plentiful food in the summer, and those toxins which accumulate naturally with time in our environment. By increasing an exercise routing to allow for more sweating, doing a sweating ceremony, or a structured detox, you can help to support and prepare your body for this seasonal change.
Elderberry: An Ancient Remedy (By Dr. Guaraldi)
The end of September has come again—how is that possible? I suppose at least some of the summer, for me, was lost to the intense study of a newborn… The days are notably shorter now with the sun rising more than an hour after Lucy, and it setting blessedly more close to when she is needing to go to bed. I am hopeful that by the solstice she’ll be sleeping from 430PM -9AM… Even if she doesn’t, I’ll be back to work increasingly this fall! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.
Though the fall season is one of the prettiest here in Vermont, it’s not here yet! We still have time to harvest one of SNFW’s favorite winter immune herbs: elderberry! On my walks with Lucy I see those recognizable clusters of berries ripening in sun-soaked gaps between trees where patches of “weeds” grow thick including thimble berries and mugwort, goldenrod fields not far off. We plan to harvest them and make a glycerite syrup—honey syrups are my favorite but are not safe for kids under one year old.
Elderberry tonics are highly anti-viral and quite safe to be taken in larger doses or for long periods of time. It was found in research studies to be very effective years ago against the H1N1 strain of flu. The flowers, which Lucy and I missed this year while we were getting to know each other, are an effective diaphoretic; made into tea they stimulate the body to sweat, which can be helpful in jump-starting an immune response to an infection. Elderberry bark (or eating large quantities of raw berries), though not recommended often in my practice, will cause diarrhea. I imagine that purgatives like elderberry bark were especially useful years ago when bad food or other non-consumables were eaten.
Here’s a recipe for elderberry syrup. Get to know your woods and fields and enjoy a simple way to connect to nature.
In Honor of the fall equinox and Naturopathic Medicine Week, SNFW would like to offer you a 10% discount on all UltraClear Metabolic Detoxification Programs, good until October 20th. This is a researched and structured detoxification program designed by Metagenics with a 10 day OR 28 day version. We welcome you to review its specifics and let us know if you are ready/interested! http://www.metagenics.com/clear-change
Or watch this informative video: http://vimeo.com/89357546
Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends or family that you think would benefit from its content. We truly hope this information helps you to find a healthier way in the world.
SNFW Physicians and Staff
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Angela Robens ND, RN