asian medicine / seasonal

spring – the season of the liver

spring liver 5 element TCM

Spring is finally upon us, bringing more sunshine, longer days, and less snow (hopefully!). According to the 5-element theory in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the beginning of spring brings is reflective of the Wood element – which governs the Liver.

A few interesting things about the Wood element: Season – spring. Organ – Liver. Colour – Green. Emotion – Anger. Behavioural pattern – Decision, indecision, and control.

Wood brings about growth and change, requiring a lot of energy during this time. We want things done, and we want them done now – no excuses (there’s no more snow and cold weather to burden us). This may be one of the reasons why anger is felt.

Because the Wood element governs the liver, we may be more inclined to develop Liver pathologies at this time – all of which derive from Liver Qi Stagnation. Qi, the vital force flowing within our bodies, can become blocked eliciting various behaviours (such as anger) and physical ailments such as migraines. Qi can become unblocked through deep breathing and exercise. Avoiding heavy foods/overeating/stimulants and chewing foods thoroughly, also encourages movement.

We may be affected by other physical ailments at this time such as seasonal allergies (disharmony between the Liver and Lung) and red eye. Which brings about the importance of supporting our liver during the spring through diet and lifestyle modifications.

It has been suggested that we should eat seasonally – thus we can support and nourish our Liver by eating green and leafy foods, as well as foods that are fresh, local, and not highly processed.

Lastly, literature states that being out in the greenery (taking walks), calms the liver and can bring peace and clarity to our lives.


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