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An Herbalist's Guide to Fall

Change is hard! As herbalists, we have extra tools and allies to help us gracefully transition into a new season. Adaptogens, soups, medicinal mushrooms, Herbal Coffee, and a short list of other things helping to ground us through the seasonal shift.

An Herbalist's Guide to Fall

I miss Appalachia. Every cell in my body can feel the goldenrod blooming in the golden hour sun, about to turn to fuzzy-tipped seeds. I can picture the ironweed, purple and towering. The red blush creeping into the maple leaves. I see a photo from home of the crunchy orange leaves and feel a pang in my gut.

Fig 1. Moody apples in northern California

I’ve been in northern California for three months now. I fell in love and now I’m here. I fell in love with the lush spring blooms of Western Columbine, and a multitude of lupines, and owl clover and speaking of clover, so many Trifolium species live out here. I fell in love with drastic coastlines and warm bay swims. I fell in love… and now I’m here.

Here, seasons exist but in a looser way. There are rainy seasons. There are mushrooms, but in the winter. There are dry seasons, where the colors of spring disappear and you’re left with a hundred shades of brown. In the absence of seasons, what grounds? What marks the passing of time? We can measure time in fruit, in apples and grapes. Things that remain, for now, steady. The light still changes. The air still gets at least 1% crisper. We can surround ourselves with talismans, tangible nods to the ethereal. There are still spiders and soups on the stove. 

I recently came across a 24-hour farm stand. I think that idea is so nice, like if you’re making borscht at midnite and you’re short a beet, you can pop on down and get your beet, and not only that but it will most likely be the best beet of your life. Sweet potato miso soup is a close second, and a Light Ray smoothie to use up that early fall cool-morning bumper crop of raspberries.

Other things that ground, a little roundup of things getting me through. Many cups of tea, many candles, many herbs, many songs.

Fig. 2 Urban goldenrod in San Francisco

🌽  Corn silk latte to take advantage of seasonal bounty

🥭 Elderberry Mango popsicles for those last few hot days

🎃 Diaspora pumpkin spice - the best version, with the freshest, most equitably grown spices (sweeten with madhur jaggery)

🫁 Light Ray for fire season - it’s perfect for moistening dried-out, overexposed lungs

🍄 Adaptogens - warming broths of mushrooms and veggies, adding Mushroom Magic to things - like these Mushroom Magic cinnamon rolls

☕️ Our own Herbal Coffee for gut health balance and nourishment through transition

🌱  Culinary herbs, dried from summer’s bounty (like oregano and sage

🍵 Herbs, holy basil and burdock 

🇯🇵 Japanese Tea Garden is my favorite place to go in SF to see leaves changing color - the Japanese maples are a treat

🍂 Fall ferment harvest of summer abundance

🥞 Pancakes!

☕️ Too much coffee

Fig. 3 Pokeberry - a very welcome sight!

🐑 Oversized sweaters

🕯 Candles

📚 Herb books

📖 Cookbooks

🫖 Big pots of tea

💆‍♀️ Gua sha

✍️ Writing postcards on Maria Schoettler stationery

🍽 Potluck dinners, cooking together in kitchens

🦇 Watching bats at dusk

🧦 Cozy slippers

✨ Beautiful face oils

🛁 Long baths with herbal soaks

🛏 Daydreaming about being under thin, worn-in quilts with soup can motifs

🎧 Music Karen Dalton, Gene Clark, Kacey Johansing's new album

How are y'all feeling out there? Comment below with some sweet & cozy things stewarding you through the seasonal shift. 👋 

Light Ray

Light Ray

Adaptogens for Glowing Skin*
Mushroom Magic

Mushroom Magic

Functional Adaptogens*
Herbal Coffee

Herbal Coffee

Adaptogenic Coffee Alternative*

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