Keeping Healthy with the Seasons: Spring Edition
By Dr. Anna Gold
In East Asian medicine, learning to live in harmony with every season is one way to create longevity and personal health. This concept of "Yang Sheng," or self cultivation for healthy living, originates in the mysticism of Daoism and the concepts behind traditional Chinese medicine.
This week marked the Spring Equinox in the northern hemisphere, the time of year when we experience the renewal of Mother Earth. In the spring, the color green dominates, as fresh young plants begin to peek out of the ground. The elongation of daylight in conjunction with the increasing warmth of the sun sends signals to all beings: “Come out and play. Birth, rebirth, emerge from dormancy!” It is a remedy to the cold stillness of winter.
The Spring season is associated with the wood element and the paired organ system of the Liver and Gallbladder. The Liver is responsible for circulating the Qi or vitality in the body. Thus, it is essential for regulating the nervous system. The Liver stores Blood, which it provides to the uterus for regular menstruation. Liver Blood nourishes the connective tissue in the body so it’s essential to nourish it so that the body feels strong, pain free and flexible. The Gallbladder as the yang organ partner to the Liver, takes on the overflow from the Liver.
When the Liver is stagnant or Liver Blood deficient, one feels the following symptoms:
- Side or top of head headaches
- Inappropriate anger
- Dry, red eyes
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Menstrual pain
When the Gallbladder is imbalanced, there is a tendency towards fear and difficulty with decision making.
Here are some tips to cultivate a harmonious relationship with your Liver and Gallbladder, especially during the Spring season:
- Make sure to sleep between the hours of 11 PM and 3 AM, so that the Qi can revitalize Liver/ Gallbladder during their time on the circadian clock.
- Learn to be easy going and let things go. Take walks to be around trees or other greenery to relax your mind and convene with Nature.
- Take ten minutes a day (minimum) to focus on deep breathing.
- Gently exercise to move Qi and relieve stress.
- Eat sour foods like citrus or ume. The Liver loves the sour taste. Sour keeps the liver Qi flowing.
- Eat dark leafy and bitter greens like chard, collards, kale, arugula and dandelion to cleanse and rejuvenate the Liver.
- Minimize alcohol. The Liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol and drinking in moderation preserves the Liver’s energy.
- Take three dropperfuls of BALANCE herbal tincture to smooth and soothe the flow of Liver Qi.