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Seasonal Stay Healthy Tips: Liver Spring Clean

One of Chinese Medicine’s great gifts is in understanding our relationship with nature’s cycles and addressing the issues that arise when we are out of balance with those cycles. This can be seen particularly in the shifting of seasons and is probably most evident as we move from Winter to Spring; surging upward from the cold and dark.  While we welcome longer days, warmer weather and the blooming flowers, it can also wreak havoc on our bodies and lives when out of balance, manifesting in everything from allergies and headaches to muscle pain, digestive issues and mood volatility.  In Chinese medicine, all of these issues trace back to the liver, and it’s no coincidence that the liver, the body’s great detoxifier, is the organ associated with Spring in Chinese Medicine.  If struggling with some of the symptoms above or others included in this article, it’s very likely your liver needs some love. Here are four easy things that everyone can do and some added tips for allergy sufferers:

Start Your Day with Warm Lemon Water:

Sour is the taste associated with the liver so this will help kick start your digestion and naturally detox your liver to keep things moving all day. Digestion is a cornerstone of health…if your body can’t move things through efficiently, it will cause all sorts of issues. If you don’t have lemons in the house, you can also use apple cider vinegar.

Lighten Up Your Diet:

Drink more room temperature water and eat more greens. Dandelion greens, arugula and watercress are particularly good for the liver. Spinach and kale are great too. Try to add some to every meal…in eggs or a smoothie for breakfast, salad for lunch and sautéed for dinner. Need some inspiration? Here is my favorite kale salad and a sautéed mushroom salad using dandelion greens.

Avoid Late Night Eating and Drinking:

Aim to eat your last meal by 8 PM and make it the lightest one of the day. In Chinese Medicine, the liver’s peak time is from 1-3 AM, which is when it does all it’s powerful detoxifying work and it can’t do it well if it’s too busy digesting a huge meal or processing alcohol.

Move:

Walk, run, dance, do yoga, take the stairs, stretch. It doesn’t have to be complicated or a major commitment. Pick something you like and aim to get 20-30 minutes of some movement every day. Your liver manages the smooth flow of qi in the body and movement is key for keeping things from getting stagnant and tight. If you are feeling particularly stiff or sluggish, soak in an Epsom Salts bath for 15 minutes.

If you are an allergy sufferer, here are two more things you can do to ease symptoms so you can enjoy the sunshine and the flowers.

Congested: Ditch the Dairy

It’s nature is cold, heavy and damp. It slows digestion down and causes inflammation, contributing to increased mucus and congestion as well as bloating and skin issues.

Red, Itchy Eyes: Discover Ju Hua/Chrysanthemum

Ju Hua/Chrysanthemum is a Chinese medicinal herb that is used specifically to clear heat from the Liver channel and particularly, the eyes. You can buy it as a tea or the blossoms. If using blossoms, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, then drain. Drink as tea and/or use it to make a soothing eye compress at the end of the day.

Love your Liver and bring on Spring!