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; a healthy tree is flexible and strong and can easily withstand the wind and elements. The season of the liver is Springtime and begins around February 23rd. This is the season of new growth and the time when the tree will begin to bring forth its buds. Our bodies respond to the seasonal changes as well. In preparation for this season of growth and renewal, your body begins to cleanse the cells and process the toxins and waste through the liver.
Your liver oversees the smooth flow of Chi (life force) energy through the body. If your liver is healthy and working properly, then springtime will find you feeling motivated to accomplish goals, with creative ideas bubbling up inside you. You will feel the need and urge to move your life forward in a positive way. Other attributes of a person with strong balanced liver include self-discipline, good organizational skills, good self-esteem, and leadership skills.
If on the other hand your liver is congested, sluggish or overloaded, you will find that as springtime 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.
Physically a congested liver may give you symptoms of poor digestion, nausea, frequent headaches, and muscle aches. In Chinese medicine, they recognize that the liver oversees the clean supply of blood to the tendons and muscles, if the liver is congested then the muscles and tendons will become achy from the buildup of toxins in the blood. This same clean blood supply also affects the health of the eyes. If the liver is congested it is common to find your vision change suddenly, burning eyes, dry eyes and blood shot eyes can be signs that the liver is congested. This is also often accompanied by headaches at the same time. Blurry vision or an increase in floaters along with dry eyes can indicate a weakened liver condition.
Hormonal swings are worse when the liver is congested, as the liver cannot break down excess hormones properly. Depression or a “what’s the use” attitude often sets in, and a person may feel tired and hung over in the morning.
The liver becomes congested due to many factors, primarily:
- Lack of adequate water intake
- Eating processed foods
- Too much sugar
- Poor digestion of foods directly overloads the liver.
- Lack of fresh vegetables, especially green foods which nourish the liver.
- Severe emotional distress, holding in anger or resentment.
- Exposure to viruses, cold and wind
- Excessive intake of alcohol, or tobacco
- Exposure to toxins and chemicals in the workplace or home. Think about cleaning products, new carpet, nail polish, hair spray, hobbies such as painting or refinishing furniture.
Nourishing your liver:
- Eat salads with bitter greens such as dandelion, kale, escarole, radicchio, and spinach.
- Your liver loves greens – to give the liver extra support in the springtime I add liquid chlorophyll to my water, it tastes great and is so refreshing. I also add a variety of powdered green herb formulas like alfalfa, spirulina, and barley grass to my morning smoothie.
- Eat a diet of natural foods – clean, organic, non-GMO foods, plenty of vegetables, and a moderate intake on grains. Avoid processed and fried foods. Homemade soups are wonderful during a cleanse.
- Add beets to your diet – they nourish the liver and help promote bile formation; bile is a natural laxative which helps improve bowel elimination during cleansing.
- Drink a glass of room temperature water with a squeeze of lemon first thing in the morning (sour foods nourish and activate the liver)
- Take time to relax during meals, eating slow, chewing your food well and not eating too much food at a given meal.
- Take a walk, relax and enjoy the scenery. Practice Qi gong exercise, yoga or dance.
Find ways to express yourself creatively by journaling, finding new hobbies, sing or dancing 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.
Chinese Liver Balance is a wonderful formula to support the liver during the spring season. Liver Balance formula focuses on the gently cleansing the liver and blood of toxins while supporting the function of the liver and gallbladder. Chinese Liver Balance TCM is the concentrate version of this formula, take 1-2 daily for 2-4 weeks while changing your diet and lifestyle to promote cleansing of your liver.
Gallbladder formula – this is a great formula to pair with the Chinese liver Balance to support your body’s need to cleanse. Gallbladder Formula contains Oregon grape which supports liver and gallbladder function, it enhances the release of bile from the gallbladder. Bile helps to aid in the digestion of fats, helps the liver to eliminate toxins, and stimulates peristalsis in the colon so the body can eliminate wastes. The formula also includes a wonderful combination of herbs which enhance digestion, eliminate spasms in the digestive tract and break up gas: catnip, ginger, crampbark, fennel, wild yam, and peppermint – what a great combination. I really find this formula improves digestion when taken with meals. I love this formula!
Liquid Chlorophyll - If you have not tried this green wonder drink, you are really missing out! Chlorophyll is responsible for a plants green color, this green pigment of plants is used by the plant to create energy, oxygen, and nutrients. It is part of the process that captures energy from the sun. Chlorophyll is often referred to as “a sunshine particle”.
Chlorophyll helps to cleanse the blood and acts as a rejuvenate tonic. It helps to balance pH and detoxify the body. It is high in antioxidants which helps build the immune system. Chlorophyll helps maintain healthy microbes in the digestive tract. And it tastes great, its fresh taste is a perfect thirst quencher on hot days, kids love it as well. I like to add a lemon or lime wedge to it. Chlorophyll is a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, beta carotene, B vitamins and trace minerals. Place 1 Tablespoon in 1 quart water, adjust the amount to taste. Keep refrigerated.
Enviro-Detox is a wonderful formula to gently cleanse your body in the Springtime and it helps combat allergies. The herbs in this formula target cleansing all the channels of elimination: lymph, kidneys, lungs, skin, and liver, as well as cleaning the blood. And at the same time, they target the sinus and immune health. When your lymphatic system and elimination channels get congested mucus backs up into the sinus and lungs. This formula gives your body a gentle whole-body cleanse. For a seasonal cleanse to target allergies take 2 capsules 2-3 times daily through a bottle, then take as needed.
If you are curious about the ingredients in Enviro-Detox, here’s a short summary: Burdock, a key ingredient in the formula, is a blood cleanser. Burdock also helps stop sinus drainage related to weather changes. Fenugreek and Marshmallow help the mucus membranes stay healthy, and thin the mucus so it can be expelled. Red Clover helps congestion in the lungs and cleans the blood. Echinacea cleans the lymph and blood of toxins and boosts immunity. Ginger and pepsin help improve digestion, a key factor when dealing with allergies. Milk Thistle and Dandelion support healthy liver and kidney function. Yellow dock, red clover, and sarsaparilla clean the blood. And lastly, Bacillus Coagulans, a probiotic which supports gut health, improves immune response and has been shown to help prevent respiratory infections.
Smoothies are great ways to start your day in a healthy direction. Cleansing herbs and fiber can be added to them when you choose to do a cleanse.
Cleansing is so important but there are many reasons your body becomes out of balance:
Here are some key reasons your cells become dysfunctional:
1. Deficiency – Your body is lacking key nutrients to build and repair the cells.
2. Hydration – Your body does not get enough clean water to keep the cell environment clean and healthy and to be able to properly eliminate waste products.
3. Toxicity – toxins have built up in the cell and are polluting the cell environment.
4. Lack of movement – Your lymphatic system which plays a major role in keeping the cell environment clean needs physical exercise to keep it moving. Lack of exercise, stretching and movement causes toxins to accumulate in the cells and tissues of the body.
5. Negative thought patterns – your cells respond to your instructions and emotions. Excessive dwelling on illness or negative thoughts causes the activation of genes which trigger disease. While positive thoughts and emotions activates health enhancing genes. 6. Lack of Rest – The body flows in cycles of rest, renewal, and repair. A lack of adequate rest causes the cell function to decline.
7. Poor digestion – Our cells obtain the nutrients they need from the food we consume. If you do not break down your food properly, or your digestive tract does not absorb the nutrients properly, your cell health will suffer.
8. Breathing – We tend to take breathing for granted. Each day we take around 27,000 breaths. Breathing brings fresh oxygen into the blood to be delivered to the cells and your exhale is used to expel waste products from the body. It is so important to take the time to learn to breathe properly. Improper breathing techniques can trigger the fight or flight response in the body, alerting the cells to a danger which is not there. This can cause the cells to go in survival mode instead of build and repair mode. Breathing also helps to move the life force energy through the body.
9. Too much stress and not enough fun and joy, inhibits the healthy function of your cells.
Watch this video to learn the first step in creating good health:
Disclaimer: Supplement recommendations are not designed to treat a disease condition. Discussions are for educational purposes only. Supplements should be used to nourish and strengthen the natural function of the various body organs and systems so that they will have a greater capacity to heal themselves. It is not intended to replace your doctor's recommendations. Any questions or concerns that you have regarding existing medical conditions, or the use of medications with supplements, should be discussed with your nutritionally oriented medical doctor.
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