Have you been feeling angry or irritable lately? Are you finding it hard to go to sleep at night? Are your muscles or joints stiff and achy lately? If so, your liver may be trying to get your attention.
In Chinese medicine the liver, paired with the gallbladder, is represented by the symbol of the Wood Element. Wood is symbolized by a tree and a healthy tree is flexible and strong. The season of the liver is Springtime and begins around February 23rd. Spring is the season of new growth. In preparation for this season your body begins to cleanse the cells and process the toxins and waste through the liver.
If your liver is healthy and working properly, then in the springtime you will feel motivated to accomplish goals, with creative ideas bubbling up inside you. You’ll feel the need and urge to move your life forward in a positive way. If on the other hand, your liver is congested, sluggish or overloaded, you will find that as spring time moves in, you may become more agitated, restless, critical of others and unable to make decisions. If your liver has been out of balance for many months it may be in a weakened condition. This will bring symptoms of depression, low self-esteem and feeling victimized. You may also feel a need for approval, feel angry often and lacking in the ability to commit to anything.
Each Spring I cleanse my liver with a 2-week liver cleanse using NSP’s Chinese Tiao He Cleanse. This cleanse comes in packets, it contains herbs which focus on cleaning the liver, kidneys and blood. It is gentle enough to take while working, but effective enough to make a difference in your liver health. Along with the Tiao He Cleanse packets each morning, I start my day with a high fiber cleanse to help move all the toxins out through the colon. The liver loves green veggies, so make sure to add some fresh greens to your smoothie.
Liver loving smoothie
5 oz. of organic Greek yogurt
A handful of fresh organic greens
5 Strawberries or other fruit of your choice
1 Tbs. NSP’s Natures Three Fiber
2 Tbs. Spectrum chia seed, flax, coconut and cocoa blend
½ scoop NSP’s GreenZone powder
1 scoop Focus Attention powder (just to wake up my brain)
1/3 bottle of Mama Chia Hibiscus tea (YUM) adds 3 more grams of fiber (or 1 cup herbal tea, or almond milk)
A couple Tbs. of the protein powder of your choice (optional)
When your smoothie is blended, it should be at least 10 oz. of liquid, if not add a little water or other liquid and re-blend. You need liquids to bulk up the fiber and move it through your digestive tract.
I add a squirt of NSP’s Stress-J liquid to calm nervous tension which is often related to a congested liver.
Add a squirt of NSP's Oregon Grape to help boost liver cleansing and bile production. Bile stimulates the peristalsis in the colon to get it moving.
If you just don’t want to make smoothies, use NSP’s Clean Start cleanse which includes a ramped-up fiber drink, which you can mix in a little juice and water combo. Shake and drink. The Clean Start cleanse includes packets which contain the herbal blend Enviro-detox to cleanse the liver, kidneys, lymph and blood and LBSII which cleanses the colon. To give this cleanse a little more of a liver boost I’d add Chinese Liver Balance TCM, 1 twice daily.
Nourishing your liver:
Eat bitter greens such as dandelion, escarole, radicchio and spinach
Eat a diet of natural foods, low in fat, steamed, sautéed and not fried
Take 1-3 tsps. Of raw apple cider vinegar in 6 ounces water just before a meal (if poor digestion is suspected)
Drink a room temperature glass of water with a squeeze of lemon first thing in the morning ( sour foods nourish the liver)
Take time to relax at your meals, eating slow, chewing your food well and not eating too much food at a given meal.
Take a relaxed walk and enjoy the scenery, practice Qi gong exercise, yoga or dance
Find ways to express yourself creatively by journaling, finding new hobbies, sing or dance for fun.
Limit caffeine, moderate coffee intake is good to wake up the liver as the liver likes bitter foods. Excessive intake however, will weaken the liver.
Excessive work, inactivity, sitting in traffic jams, repressing your feelings all damage and weaken the liver.
Springtime inspires us to clean the closets of our life, so reflect on things you no longer need and let go of things that are holding you back. I encourage you to reach into your heart for the courage to let in something new, and the courage to discover who you really are.
Take a moment right now to just “be with yourself” for a moment of self reflection. Take a deep breath; relax your shoulders and body. Place your hand over your heart and breathe quietly, as you do this ask yourself the following questions…
How have I been neglecting myself? What should I change in order to take better care of myself?
What aspects of my life are just distractions, keeping me from spending time with my true self? What activities in my life make me feel like a hamster running on a wheel? Are there areas in my life that have lost meaning and no longer excite me?
Where would I like to go with my life? What would I like to see change?
What brings me pleasure and purpose? What could really light the passion in my life?
Take a moment to really dwell on these questions, don’t rush, the idea is to just connect with yourself again, you don’t have to have answers to the questions right now. The answers will come to you as you continue taking time for self reflection and becoming heart centered again.
Take time to smile today, take time to play, be optimistic, and be your own best friend. Blessings, Valerie