How To Feel Your Best This Winter with TCM

We entered the start of Winter in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) this month, and many of us are starting to feel the cold weather settle in. Fall and Winter are already associated with cold and flu season, and with COVID-19 still spreading across the US, this Winter can feel especially stressful to prepare for.

TCM takes the seasons seriously, and therefore TCM has many valuable suggestions to offer for how you can best prepare your body for Winter. Below, we share with you easy, practical ways to incorporate the ancient wisdom of TCM in your everyday life.

Eat Less Raw Food – Focus on Slow Cooked, Soft Food 

Raw food can be more difficult to digest and cooling for the body, and therefore it is recommended to avoid raw food during the Winter. Instead, focus on enjoying slow cooked, soft, hot meals in your diet. Cooking with Ginger is an excellent way to make your food extra warming, while adding Astragalus to your grains (rice, quinoa, etc.) will give you an immune boost in your meal.

Keep Your Neck Warm

If you don’t own a scarf… this might change your mind. When your neck is uncovered when you are out in the cold, you may tend to hunch up your shoulders to protect your neck. Unfortunately, this shoulder hunching will block your lymph from flowing, which is an uh-oh, because the lymphatic system is your body’s first defense in your immune system – and you don’t want to inhibit that!

Start Taking Immune Boosting Herbs

It’s especially important to take immune boosting herbs this winter, and you want to get your routine in place before a cold day hits your immune system. We recommend meeting with an acupuncturist to find the right blend of immune boosting herbs for you. My family has also loved Wellness Formula for years as an option available at the grocery store. 

Sleep More

In TCM, the Winter is the time of your Kidney system, which is considered the source of your sexuality, wealth, creativity, and willpower. Sleeping in the Winter strengthens your Kidney system, preparing you for the more energetic seasons of Spring and Summer.

As a bonus, it is also recommended to sleep in colder temperatures. Instead of setting your thermostat at 70F, turn it down to 65F for the night. Of course, stay warm with cozy blankets and pajamas if needed. The intention is not for you to feel cold, instead, breathing the cooler air helps strengthen your system through the cold season, and you may find yourself sleeping deeper.

Build Your Meditation Practice

Winter is naturally a more inward-focused season, making it an easier time to either start, or grow your meditation practice. Insight Timer allows you to easily create a timed meditation session with all the bells and chimes you desire. If you don’t want to start with silence, Tara Brach offers a library of guided meditations.


Fungus & Root

Scierotium Poriae Cocos / Fu Ling / 茯苓 Scierotium Pararadicis Poriae Cocos / Fu Shen / 茯神

Poria calms the heart and soothes nerves, helping with anxiety and insomnia. Additionally, Poria drains dampness, an excess of moisture that the body collects in the wrong places and makes us feel heavy and fatigued (hello moodiness).

Chinese Salvia


Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae / Dan Shen / 丹參

Salvia root nourishes the blood and heart, and calms the spirit. Salvia works with Schisandra and Zizyphus in Chica Chill to help relieve insomnia.



Radix Rehmanniae Preparata / Sheng Di Huang / 熟地黄

Rehmannia root is your Yin nourisher, supporting calm and cold in your system. With its additional ability to help cool blood, increase fluids, and clear heart fire; Rehmannia is a star herb for soothing and preventing heat flashes.

Polygala / Thin-Leaf Milkwort


Radix Polygalae Tenuifoliae / Yuan Zhi / 元志

Polygala root nourishes the Heart, and helps soothe nerves and restlessness.

Schisandra / Chinese Magnolia


Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis / Wu Wei Zi / 五味子

Schisandra berry is famous for featuring all five flavors of Traditional Chinese Medicine: bitter, sweet, salty, sour, hot. This means that Schisandra is completely energetically balanced, promoting overall health and vitality. Schisandra helps relieve night sweats, insomnia, and hormonal imbalances. Schisandra is also rich in antioxidants that are thought to protect from free radicals and other toxins in the environment that may cause cellular damage. 

Platycodon / Balloon Flower


Radix Platycodi / Jie Geng / 桔梗

Platycodon root is a neutral balancing herb, meaning it is not especially Yin or Yang. Platycodon is nourishing for the lungs, which in TCM, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.

Scrophularia / Figwort


Radix Scrophulariae / Xuan Shen / 玄參

Scrophularia root nourishes Yin, drains fire, and cools the blood. Scrophularia is particularly soothing for irritability.

Ophiopogon / Dwarf Lilyturf


Tuber Ophiopogonis Japonici / Mai Men Dong / 麦门冬

Ophiopogon tuber works with Asparagus to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.



Radix Stemonae / Bai Bu / 百部

Stemona root is a balancing herb in the Chica Chill formula. Stemona is nourishing for the lungs, which in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is the organ that supports Qi and fluid flow throughout the body.



Radix Glycyrrhizae / Gan Cao / 甘草

Licorice acts as a unifier, balancing the formula and amplifying the properties of the other herbs.

Zizyphus / Sour Jujube


Semen Zizyphi Spinosae / Suan Zao Ren / 酸枣仁

Zizyphus seed nourishes the heart and calms the spirit. Zizyphus helps relieve insomnia, irritability, and anxiety.



Radix Ginseng / Ren Shen / 人参

Ginseng root, one of the most famous herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is known for its ability to strengthen Qi and support life vitality. Ginseng nourishes the Heart and calms the spirit, helping reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Acorus / Grassleaf Sweetflag


Rhizoma Acori Tatarinowii / Shi Chang Pu / 石菖蒲

Acorus helps relieve internal heat and is a favorite herb for reducing frequent insomnia.

Eucommia / Chinese Rubber Tree


Cortex Eucommiae Ulmoidis / Du Zhong / 杜仲

Eucommia bark balances the Chica Chill formula by offering Yang properties. Eucommia is also nourishing for the heart, and has been featured in research in Western medicine for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

Angelica / Dong Quai


Radix Angelicae Sinensis / Dong Quai / 当归

Angelica root is sometimes described as the “female ginseng,” due to its fame for supporting a healthy and regular menstrual cycle. Angelica root strengthens blood and energizes circulation. In Chica Chill, Angelica root balances the herbal formula with its Yang properties.

Biota / Arborvitae


Semen Platycladi / Bai Zi Ren / 柏子仁

Biota seed benefits memory and promotes restful sleep by nourishing the heart and calming the spirit.

Chinese Asparagus


Tuber Asparagi Cochinensis / Tian Men Dong / 天门冬

Asparagus root works with Ophiopogon to nourish Yin and clear heat throughout the system. These plants also provide moisture and relieve restlessness.

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