According to Traditional Chinese Medical theory, Spring is the season of the liver and the gallbladder. These organs regulate a smooth flow of energy throughout the whole body. However, they’re prone to stagnation if we don’t take proper care of ourselves. This stagnation can manifest symptoms such as anger, irritability, depression, digestive issues, menstrual irregularities and pain (just to name a few). Stagnation can occur when people are under a lot of stress, have unexpressed or excessive emotions, don’t get enough physical activity or lead an unbalanced lifestyle.
Spring is a time of renewal, regeneration, growth and energy. Plants and animals awaken from their slumber, and vital nutrients stored in the roots of plants during the cold winter months come to the surface as life becomes more vibrant and fluid.
Human beings are no different. Humans stay indoors more during the winter months, and tend to pack on a little extra weight in the process. As the weather warms, humans become more gregarious and spend more time outside enjoying nature. This is part of the natural process. Therefore, what was observed by the ancient Chinese still holds true today. Humans should be more active during the warmer Spring months and consume a lot of green foods (the color associated with springtime and the liver/gallbladder in TCM).
During the Spring, focus on eating foods that have upward-moving energies, such as leafy greens and sprouting vegetables. Bitter foods also play a vital role, as they are known to clear heat and dry dampness in Chinese Medicine. Consider adding foods such as dandelion greens, kale, collards, celery or arugula to provide yourself some much needed springtime energy.
Foods that have a slightly bitter taste, such as asparagus, quinoa, romaine lettuce and dandelion tea, are also known to effectively ward off heat in the liver. Foods and supplements rich in chlorophyll help ward off stagnation and enhance the free flow of Qi; these include wheatgrass, spirulina, chlorella, parsley, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens. Notice how all of these are abundant during the months of Spring! Finally, I suggest drinking a glass of warm water with a slice of fresh lemon first thing in the morning. This routine will help detoxify the liver and gallbladder, as well as provide an excellent food-based source of vitamin C to support a healthy immune system.