Spring is here. The temperature is getting warmer, plants have started to grow and animals are becoming more active. Changing with the season and modifying our diet and lifestyle is an intuitive way of living. Each season according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has specific foods, a natural level of activity or rest, directions, a predominant emotion, and an organ system associated with it.
Let us take a look at what Spring energy means and how to bring some balance to your life from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective. In TCM, five elements theory is used to help us understand the relationship between our body system and how to live in balance with nature. Each element (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water) is associated with a season and balances each other to improve and maintain our health. The wood element is associated with spring, the time of renewal and growth. The zang-fu organs related to the wood element include the liver and gallbladder, which makes it the ideal time to focus on nourishing these 2 organs in spring. If the liver or gallbladder is having issues, you may experience symptoms such as muscles and vision problems, joint pain, hypertension, rash, or irritability , or jaundice may occur.
Further, the emotion associated with liver is anger. Many people think anger is a negative emotion but it has the potential to be positive as well, if we can use it to drives us to make necessary changes in our lives for the better. It’s time to take a look inside yourself and start letting go of old ideas that doesn’t serve you and embrace the spring energy and new possibilities.
Spring is also the best time of year to cleanse/detox. When we clean up our diet, it helps to clear away the heavy foods of winter and your body will thank you. We should transition from the rich heavy foods of winter such as meats, cheeses and carb heavy meal to more fresh plant based foods for the Spring like salads and leafy greens. It doesn’t mean we cannot have any meats, but we should aim to decrease the portion size and opt for more legumes.
Since seasons, food, and emotion can all affect your sense of energy and mood, we wanted to make a few suggestions on some safe, effective, and gentle natural remedies to improve the Wood element and the health of your liver.
WHICH TASTES CAN IMPROVE THE WOOD ELEMENT
pungent tasting foods can stimulate the liver and increase body heat. These foods will also increase digestive and enzymatic action, positively impacting the liver. Some helpful foods with these actions include like ginger, peppers, onion, garlic, and certain warming spices such as clove and allspice, can stimulate the liver and increase heat.
Bitter and Sour
Bitter and sour foods helps dispel stasis in the liver and increase the flow of bile to help with cleansing, and increase urination. Good examples are lemon, bitter melon, mint, and green tea.
These foods can be taken separately at different times, but the most effective way to cleanse your liver with food is with a taking some of these together. It will allow you to both stimulate and cleanse your liver and help to correct dietary, seasonal, or emotional upsets.
If you need something with more punch, there are there are Chinese herbal medicine that will help.
LIVER CLEANSING TCM TONICS FOR SPRING
TCM have long advocated people to use “spring tonics”. These are herbal medicine and comes with a bitter taste. But the cleansing effects is much more powerful. One of such tonics used is the ‘Xiao Cai Hu Tang’. The herbs in this tonic includes Radix Bupleuri, Radix Scutellariae, Rhizoma Pinelliae Preparatu, Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens, Ginseng, Fried Radix Glycyrrhizae, and Red Dates. The formula action is to relieve and harmonize the liver as well as clearing heat in the liver, gallbladder, and stomach. If you feel like you would need some additional support during a spring cleanse, there are other wonderful Chinese herbal tonics but we do suggest you check with a professional practitioner to get the right one for you.
Let us know what has been your spring cleanse routine so far. We would love to hear from you!
*please note that this article is not meant in any way to diagnose or treat certain medical conditions. Always consult a medical professional before taking any herbs or treatments.