The wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is at least 6,000 years old and correlates the season spring with the paired organs; Liver and Gallbladder. In the spring the Liver is more active and is going through a “cleansing” process for renewal. According to Chinese Medicine the Liver and the Gall Bladder act in tandem, like brother and sister, if one is weak that will impact the other. If you help one, the other is also supported. Liver is yin while the Gallbladder is yang. These two organs are responsible for the smooth flow of energy/Qi through the body.
The liver governs over 500 functions in the body and it is the body’s main organ of detoxification. Hormonal balance, cholesterol levels and weight are governed by the liver. Everything we eat and drink is filtered by the liver including medications and drugs. The liver works very hard to keep us healthy by getting rid of what we don’t need.
When the liver and gallbladder are imbalanced they are described as stagnant or stuck. Some of the many physical and emotional symptoms of this imbalance include: Hay Fever, headaches, teeth grinding, eye issues, feeling hot all the time, premenstrual mood changes, skin problems, fibroids, prostate inflammation, irritability, anger, impatience, fatigue, constipation, hip pain, thyroid issues, toenail discoloration, waking up between 1a.m. and 3a.m. and feeling restless, an overall feeling of being stuck in one’s life and more.
Eating lots of fresh greens cooked, salads, and green drinks get our liver moving. Think green, think light and fresh, not heavy. Minimize oven cooked foods (baking) and emphasize blanching, steaming, quick sauteing, juicing, pressed, raw, and pickled foods. Explore incorporating the sour taste 3-4 times a week as that is the flavor that helps release stagnation in the liver and gallbladder. Sour can come from: garlic, ginger, grapefruit, coriander, sauerkraut, Granny Smith apple, lemon, brown rice umeboshi vinegar, sour plum and cherry. If you do not like the sour taste, usually it means you need it. A little lemon squeezed on your greens does wonders. Good quality fermentation really supports the liver. Eating bitter foods such as arugula, mustard greens even a small amount of organic wasabi helps to thin the bile for our gallbladders.
To give the liver and gallbladder extra TLC adopt these lifestyle habits: 1) Try to stop eating 2-3 hours before sleep. Late night eating creates stagnation in the liver and prevents our body from cleaning and repairing while we rest. 2) A good rule of thumb is to stop eating when 80% full. Overeating creates more pressure on the liver and gallbladder. Eat to the point when you feel satisfied and can eat a little more but you stop. 3) Try eating more vegetables to grain proportionally.
Our emotions have a strong influence on the liver. To support the liver, practice patience and forgiveness. Have compassion for yourself and others and do your best to let go of resentment. The liver gets stuck when we harbor negative emotions. To get the Liver moving; reduce your stress, get enough exercise and infuse your diet with green foods and bitter foods in the spring.
At Bradbury Clinic we provide chiropractic care and acupuncture, as well as herbal medicines used in Chinese Medicine to support the liver. We welcome you to our clinic Saturdays 10:30 - 6:00, Mondays and Tuesdays 10:00 - 6:00: www.bradburyclinic.com