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September 24, 2020

The Kitchen Herbalist: Baked Pears for Fall Lung Health

A Note About the Metal Element

As we enter the fall season, the energy of the Lung & Metal element emerges: the air becomes cool and crisp, our skin and lungs– like the leaves on deciduous trees- may start to feel more dry, and the sun shares less sunshine with each passing day.

We may be in touch with a sense of grief or the poignancy of small, fleeting, beautiful moments as the days shorten. This is a time of year for reflection and for being in touch with that which we find truly important, special, and inspirational. This sensibility aligns well with the Jewish New Year celebrated annually around the same time as the Autumnal Equinox.

This year, I imagine that the aspect of grief will be strong in many of us. We’re experiencing many losses; perhaps we lost our annual summer family adventure, we’re aware that the upcoming holidays may not be the same this year, we’re grieving for our children who are not able to have the full, vibrant lives we’d planned for them this year– and for ourselves getting lost in the sea of work and study and romance from home. We’re certainly grieving on a national scale as we lose more lives and avenues for justice in the struggle against the tide of racial disparity & violence.

On top of it all, here in the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest, we’re in recovery from historic and devastating wildfires– some of which are still burning. Thankfully our air quality has improved in recent weeks allowing us the small, simple luxuries of time in the outdoors again.

Grief, smoke, our voices not being heard– all of this can compromise our Lung qi.

We can think of this recipe as an opportunity to take care of ourselves, to nourish our lungs, and to take a step into Autumn’s striking & heart-felt Qi. The pears & honey tonify our Lung & Stomach yin, while the cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger warm our digestive yang and open our Lungs so that we can get the most Qi out of these foods and distribute the yin appropriately.

Ceramic bowl holding baked pears

The Recipe: Baked Pears

This recipe works best with Asian pears, but any pear will do! Additionally, feel free to play with the herbs and spices and to add or subtract what feels right for your body. If you have a tendency to overheat or sweat easily, use fewer spices.


  • 4 Pears
  • 2 tbsp Honey (Feng Mi)
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon (Gui Zhi)
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom (Sha Ren)
  • 1 tsp minced Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut pears in half, carve out seeds, & place open-faced on a baking tray.
Brush face-up portion of pears with honey.
Sprinkle cinammon & cardamom on top of the honey.
Place ginger into the scooped out center of the pear.
Bake for 35 minutes.


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