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Detoxing the liver during springtime

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March 24, 2014

spring liver 5 element TCM

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season is governed by an element. Spring is governed by the wood element, which also controls the TCM liver and gallbladder.

Quick facts about the wood element:

  • Season – spring
  • Organs – Liver and gallbladder
  • Colour – Green
  • Emotion – Anger
  • Behavioural pattern – Decision, indecision, and control

Spring brings about rejuvenation and growth, requiring quite a bit of energy this time of year. Seeds are sprouting and flowers are blooming, bringing about a sense of new life.  To help our bodies function optimally this season, it’s best to keep our liver healthy. A healthy liver brings about the smooth flow of qi, the vital force flowing throughout our bodies. During the winter months, our livers can become congested due to fatty foods as well as toxins (remember all that wine during the holidays?), therefore stagnating the flow of qi.

Liver qi stagnation can elicit various behaviours like anger, conditions like migraines and can even develop skin lesions (like acne!). Because the liver organ is associated with the spring, it’s important to cleanse it during this season to help it function at it’s best. Unblocking qi can occur through detoxing like deep breathing, exercise, and herbs. Moreover, avoiding heavy foods and toxins will help liver qi flow smoothly throughout the body.

We may be affected by other physical ailments at this time such as seasonal allergies (disharmony between the Liver and Lung) and red eye. This brings about the importance of supporting our liver during the spring through diet and lifestyle modifications. During the spring, it’s best to eat seasonal foods as the liver prefers growing and fresh foods. Green and leafy foods are excellent ways of keeping the liver happy and healthy. Lastly, research suggests that being out in nature calms the liver, and can bring peace and clarity to our lives.

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