HAPPY SPRING! 🌷
It is time to start moving and growing outward into the world after winter’s hibernation – Spring is about EXPANSION rather than contraction. The change from winter to spring is an important time to focus on immune health and “cleaning out the dust” in our bodies, which were a bit more stagnant over the colder months. Spring has some specific characteristics – the extra humidity and dampness affects the circulation of qi and blood in our bodies, causing heaviness in our head and limbs and making us feel lethargic. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda provides us with a beautiful framework for understanding the energetics of each season which allows us to adapt, attune and harmonize our bodies to nature. Following some ancient wisdom below, we will talk about appropriate foods, herbs and practices that help bring us into alignment with the colourful and bright side of spring. ☀️
We can harness the natural influences of this season to catalyze deep healing within ourselves. We welcome New Beginnings, as we help our bodies to Regenerate AND Rejuvenate!
HONOURING The Liver & Gallbladder in Spring
According to the concept of ‘Seasonal Attunement’ and Element Theory found in both Eastern and Western Herbology, the spring is associated with the Wood Element (buds opening, sap running, plants bursting, new growth, new life) and the organ systems are the Liver & Gallbladder. Understanding this organ/element pair and its associations is a great place to start since harmonizing with the spring means balancing this element within us, i.e. being sure its not in a state deficiency or excess. The liver & gallbladder promote renewal on a cellular level by clearing out accumulated waste and toxins. For many centuries, the LIVER has been called the Organ of 100 diseases – shedding light on its importance and the varying degree of imbalance that can be created in other areas of the body due to Liver disharmony. The liver and gallbladder play a huge role in Detoxification – the burden of toxicity is attributed to almost all health problems and disease, so supporting the liver, especially in spring time, will make sure you’re always going in the right direction on your health journey.
This complex and multi-faceted organ has Over 600 hundred separate and distinct functions, a few being: stores and filters the blood, storage of fat soluble vitamins – A, D, E, K and Iron, secreting bile, breaking down excess protein into urea, destroying bacteria and worn out red blood cells, converts nutrients appropriately, storage of metabolism and fats, and as mentioned earlier, detoxification of harmful substances, poisons, drugs, chemicals, etc.
The Liver is also associated with:
– the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body and in reverse, moving and exercising improves liver Qi
– controlling the tendons – stretching routine will help keep you flexible
– proper eye function
When our livers cannot keep up, we can experience chronic indigestion, frequent headaches and migraines, the need for more than 8 hours of sleep each day, blurry vision, chronic tendon issues and negative mood swings such as anger, jealousy, impatience and depression.
👇 Here are some pro-tips to help you navigate through Liver/Gallbladder ad Springtimes challenges:
- The colour associated with Spring is GREEN – eating leafy greens like romaine, sprouts, arugula, dandelion leaves daily are very beneficial this time of year. 🥬
- The taste associated with spring is Sour & Bitter & Astringent which help to cleanse and cool the liver and allowing adequate release of bile. Try to incorporate some of these foods daily: raw sauerkraut, fermented pickles, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and olive oil and medicinal mushrooms. For example, Reishi Mushroom is bitter-tasting and can interact with the bitter receptors in your body which support digestive function, circulatory function, and detoxification processes.
- Spring is the season to eat lightly. As the snow melts and the weather warms, our bodies are ready to purge what is not needed. Eating between 9am-5pm gives our bodies the time to cleanse and repair in the after-hours. Try to focus on lightly cooked and some raw foods while minimizing heavy, oily, and salty foods.
- It is possible that mood swings can occur from stagnant Liver Qi. The Liver Energy may feel stuck when we’re not aligned with what we’re doing, or we don’t feel growth and expansion in our lives. The stuck feeling leads to lack of ‘Liver Qi flow’ and can manifest through mood swings such as anger, resentment, jealousy, insecurity, impatience, frustration, indecisiveness, loss of good judgement, lack of motivation and depression and through physical symptoms like tight neck and shoulders, stiffness, dryness in the joints (osteoarthritis) PMS, menstrual problems and even digestive problems. When the Qi flows, we are motivated, productive, have a clear vision, decisive and hopeful. This is why it is so important to support the liver through herbs, seasonal eating and moving your body. Let the Qi Flow!
- Morning Routine: Upgrade your lemon water with the Liver Wake-Up Trio of Schizandra, Seabuckthorn & Ginger.
Schizandra has a long history of treating poor liver function because of its ability to boost various liver detoxifying enzymes. Its astringent/sour flavour will kick start bile flow for the day, a key factor in proper digestion. The Chemicals in Schizandra boost immunity, increase energy, improve circulation & digestion and help remove waste from the body.
Seabuckthorn is a bright & sunny, sweet & sour berry that fights fatigue and boosts energy, making it a lovely morning tonic. With its high profile in antioxidants (such as Vitamin C & E), flavanoids (such as beta-carotene) and essential fatty acids (Palmitic, Oleitic, Linoleic), Seabuckthorn has been known to help liver disorders by regulating liver enzymes and blocking the effects of toxic substances.
Ginger is the King of all warming herbs, and while it reduces inflammation and improves circulation, it will also dispel cold and dampness out of the body – a common condition to deal with in the spring.
This morning Liver Wake-up Cup will pucker your lips but is definitely a liver-loving combo – you will begin to crave the refreshed and energized way it makes you feel!