In Chinese Medicine, we believe that every season gives us the opportunity to strengthen and balance the organ systems. In the Spring, we can strengthen and balance the Liver. Some of the issues that we connect to Liver imbalances include seasonal allergies, hormonal imbalance, PMS and painful periods, blurry vision, headaches, migraines, muscle spasms, skin issues, depression, mood swings, irritability, anger, and sadness.
When the Liver is out of balance, it stops functioning optimally and the energy of the whole body becomes blocked. In Chinese Medicine this is called “Liver qi stagnation.” This can manifest in the issues mentioned above as well as stress and overwhelm and muscle tightness especially chronic neck and jaw tension.
Although we can address issues connected to the Liver year-round, the Spring season is the time of year where we can most powerfully support the Liver.
Consider these suggestions for boosting Liver health and to unblock stuck Liver energy:
Decrease the body’s burden of exposure to toxins and chemicals.
The Liver is the detoxification organ. By decreasing toxins and chemicals, you can lessen the amount of detoxification the Liver needs to do. Some simple steps you can take include eating organic foods and avoiding pesticides and preservatives in food, using chemical-free cleaning products, using natural body care products, and avoiding exposures to other chemicals.
Alcoholic beverages (especially in excess) can also create stagnation, so taking a break from alcohol for a couple of weeks may be helpful.
Include leafy greens and lemon in the diet.
Green is the color associated with the Liver, so all green vegetables are supportive to Liver health. Bitter leafy greens are especially helpful in detoxifying- including dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, arugula, baby bok choy, cilantro, and parsley.
The taste associated with the Liver is “sour.” Lemon and lime help increase circulation of the Liver. A perfect recipe would be to add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to your cooked dark leafy greens.
Drink herbal teas to support your liver.
The simplest “tea” to support the Liver is a cup of hot water with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
You can also drink any of the following herbs in a tea to support your Liver: peppermint, green tea (contains caffeine), goji berries, dandelion leaf and root, turmeric, nettles, chrysanthemum and chamomile.
Rest your eyes.
Since the Liver “opens into the eyes” according to Chinese Medicine, resting the eyes during the day can be helpful. A traditional way to “rest the eyes” is to take a mid-day 20-30 minute break where one lays down with eyes closed. (even 5-10 minutes is helpful!)
For those who work on the computer most of the day, another option is to take breaks throughout your day. First, look away from the computer to focus your eyes for a minute or two on something in the distance. Then, gently close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths.
Go to sleep before 11PM.
Going to bed before 11PM is helpful because this allows you to be in the proper stage of sleep during the Liver time (1-3AM). The “Liver time” is said to be the time when the blood is strengthened and our hormones regenerated.
Move your body and breathe.
Finally, moving the body is a great way to prevent the Liver from stagnating. Take outdoor walks or hikes and find a form of exercise that is fun for you.
Take care of your Liver and you will benefit by feeling balanced, happy, and at ease!
In Chinese Medicine, we treat the whole person and create customized treatment recommendations based on your individual needs. If your Liver needs support, schedule an appointment for customized suggestions to help your body heal and be well. In your first visit, we will review your health history, your current health issues, and together we will create a treatment plan that may include acupuncture, herbs, and foods to restore health.