Well, it’s happening. The leaves are falling and if you listen closely, sweaters sing gleefully from the back of our closets. Our mugs are giddy too, because there’s no better way to warm up to fall than with a cup of tea.
“Hot teas are an easy way to incorporate a ritual into your fall days and evenings by slowing down and practicing a bit of self-care,” says Zoe Kissam, herbalist at Traditional Medicinals. It’s important to prioritize the very natural need to sleep and consume nourishment like broth, root vegetables, and hot tea.
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WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR BODY IN THE FALL
“Between seasons, nights are often cool and damp while the days are warm and dry,” explains Erin Casperson, Dean of the School of Ayurveda at Kripalu. We recognize this shift as we bundle up for the crisp morning then de-layer as the day goes on.
This dryness and temperature change sends a signal to the body that we are changing season, but not quite in a season yet, says Casperson. The concept of the juncture between seasons is known in Ayurveda as rtusandhi: a time of change, as well as a time to pause and reflect.
As for your body? This temperature shifting "can cause restlessness, irregular digestion, and dried out mucus membranes,” explains Casperson. It’s this dryness in particular that leaves our once protected nasal, lung, and digestive passages susceptible to dust, pollen, and microbes, ultimately leading to sickness.
The funny thing is, our bodies know exactly what they need. So you may think craving a warm cup of tea in the fall is routine or tradition. But the truth is our bodies are actively craving the physical heat.
“The most important factor when looking at any spice or herb is weather it is heating or cooling,” explains Casperson. In Ayurveda, the terms "warmth" or "heat" speaks to the property of the herb itself and what it does in the body. Some of the following herbs, like Tulsi, do a good job at stimulating that fire and boosting immunity. Other herbs may have an inherent "cooling" property, like mint, but provide other benefits like boosting digestion.
Below, some favorite fall teas from practitioners, tea masters, and organic herbalists to help your body adjust to the changing season.