It's Pumpkin Time!!!

That’s right. The nights are cooling down, the leaves are getting crisp and you can’t walk past any Starbucks without seeing the revered “PSL” back in action. It must be fall, and with fall comes pumpkin everything!

So let’s take a closer look at the pumpkin through the eyes of an acupuncturist:

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is seen as one of the strongest therapies available. From a western perspective, nutritional therapy often revolves around calories, fiber, fat and protein content. Chinese medicine looks at the energetic capacity of foods. Sometimes it is obvious- cold & damp ice cream and hot & pungent ginger. These two are easy to understand from an intuitive sense.  Sometimes it is not as easy, such as the cooling nature of spinach and the warming nature of mustard greens. Understanding the energetic properties of food can dramatically improve one’s health. Those with hot constitutions should incorporate more cooling foods, just as those with dry conditions should incorporate moistening foods.

So back to pumpkin! Can you guess the energetics of this fun fall fruit? It’s okay… this one is tricky. Pumpkin is cooling in nature and is know to relieve damp conditions. Examples of heat and dampness in the body may include edema, urinary dysfunction, gallbladder disease, cloudy thinking, hay-fever, eczema and some blood sugar imbalances. Pumpkin is also very effective in relieving upper respiratory tract infections, helping to expel stubborn phlegm that is difficult to expectorate. But don’t throw away those pumpkin seeds after carving your jack-o-lantern! Not only are they delicious to roast but they have been shown to eliminate intestinal worms.

So go ahead… get your fair share of pumpkin this fall. Your body will thank you for it! Just don’t expect any of the above results from a pumpkin spice latte!


Kate Kronisch is a board-certified acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. She owns and operates Eastern Traditions Acupuncture in the Golden Triangle neighborhood of Denver, CO


Eastern Traditions Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine 1643 Boulder Street, Suite 104. Denver, CO 80211. (720) 551-8408