Spring ~ Time to support your liver and gallbladder
In Traditional Chinese Medicine spring is considered a time of birth and regeneration and is associated with the wood element. Like a tree, in order to survive and grow we must be strong, but flexible enough to adapt to the challenges that come our way. The organs associated with the wood element are the liver and gall bladder which are said to be responsible for planning and decision making within the body as well as the flow of Qi (energy or life force). The taste associated with the wood element is sour. The colour is green.
Symptoms that the wood element might be out of balance include:
- Stiffness of the joints, muscles or tendons
- Menstrual irregularities
- Uterine fibroids
- Poor circulation
- Thickened, brittle nails
- Headaches and migraines
- Visual disturbances
- Digestive problems such as heartburn and IBS
- Pain just below the ribs on the right side
- Sinus problems
- Inability to plan ahead effectively or to make decisions
- Excessive anger or inability to show anger
Spring is the time when the liver and gall bladder are most responsive to any measures you take to support them. Here are some dietary and lifestyle tips that you can implement to help support the liver and gall bladder.
Sour foods – as sour is the taste associated with the wood element now is the time to start your day with a grapefruit or to sprinkle lemon juice or apple cider vinegar onto your food.
- Dandelion root coffee – stimulates the liver and gallbladder. Roasted dandelion root coffee can be found in health stores. Simmer the root for 15 minutes, strain and drink. Alternatively grind the root and brew in a coffee percolator.
- Turmeric – contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and detoxifier. Use in soups, stews and curries.
- Olive oil – helps to stimulate the flow of bile. Use it in salad dressings or for gentle cooking.
- Beetroot juice – a rich source of betaine which helps the liver remove toxins.
- Berries and Cherries – rich in anthocyanins that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Cruciferous vegetables – including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. These are rich in isothiocyanates which help with liver detoxification.
- Organic foods – conventionally grown foods may contain pesticide residues that put an extra burden on the liver. Eat organic where possible, especially if you eat meat, dairy or eggs.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid – increases the antioxidant capacity of the liver and helps with detoxification.
- Milk Thistle – an excellent herb for supporting and regenerating the liver. Take as a tincture or capsules.
- Avoid Plastics – store food in glass or stainless steel containers to avoid contamination with toxic BPA.
- Use natural skin and hair care products – these include make up, moisturisers, shampoo, toothpaste and cleansers. Your health store will have a range of good products to choose from.
- Take regular moderate exercise – keeping the body moving aids the organs of elimination.
- Get creative – spring is a good time to embark on new projects or look at situations with new eyes. Let go of old resentments and practice forgiveness.
See the post on Spring Cleaning for ideas on how to clean your home without the use of toxic products which can put an extra burden on the liver.
And see post on Spring Equinox Detox for tips on how to have a spring detox.