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How to Stay Healthy in the Spring With Chinese Medicine Wisdom


Spring is the season of renewal, a time of new birth and new growth. According to TCM, Spring relates to the Liver and Gallbladder organs (wood element). The Liver and Gallbladder regulate the flow of energy throughout the body, and as such, they are especially prone to congestion. Physical and/or emotional congestion in the body may be caused by stress, emotions, a lack of physical activity or because of poor food choices. When the Liver and Gallbladder are not “flowing” properly we can experience problems such as anger, irritability, depression, insomnia, and an inability to make plans and move forward. A disruption of the Liver may also lead to muscle tension, muscle strains, and headaches. The good news is that below are some simple ways avoid such problems, read on…

Add These Foods:

  • Leafy green vegetables renew and detoxify: chard, spinach, kale, mustard greens, bok choi, seaweeds.
  • Pungent foods improve circulation: scallion, onion, garlic, ginger, radish, daikon, leek and chives.
  • Sweet, starchy foods nourish and maintain energy: sweet potatoes, Chinese yam, carrots, beets, rice, oats, honey, dates, sweet fruits, nuts.
  • Herbs & spices improve digestion: perilla leaf, peppermint, dandelion, honeysuckle flower, basil, parsley, goji berry, fleece-flower root (polygonum), licorice, astragalus, rhubarb, ginger, pepper, sesame oil

Reduce/Remove These Foods:

  • Sour foods – The sour flavor acts as an astringent, which can slow the Liver’s function. Therefore, sour foods should be limited: pomegranate, black plum, vinegar, grapefruit, unripe tomatoes, unripe orange, etc.
  • Cold foods – Energetically cold and physically cold foods reduce circulation and may cause stagnation in the body. Energetically cold foods include: watermelon, dairy, bamboo sprouts, pear. Physically cold foods like cold drinks or desserts should also be minimized as they have similar effects.
  • Heavy foods should also be eaten in moderation because they tend to congest the body. Heavy foods include: fatty meats, greasy/oily dishes, foods high in salt.


After you’ve got the right ingredients, the best ways to prepare foods in the Spring season is to use light steaming or sauteing. These two cooking methods retain the most nutrients and help improve digestion.

Other Ways to Stay Healthy in Spring:

  • Get consistent, moderate exercise. Don’t overdo it, but be consistent. Remember there is a difference between health and fitness.
  • Spend time in nature. Green is the color of the Liver, and as such, nature and walking in a natural environment is one of the best activities to improve mood and decongest the Liver energy.
  • Take some time doing activities involving growth, planning and generosity. Creating forward motion in your life and with your goals will have a beneficial effect on your emotions and energy.
  • Do a cleanse. Spring is the best time for cleansing the Liver and the whole body. There are lots of ways to do a gentile cleanse to clear out the winter “junk”. A one day green juice cleanse is a good way to start.

Enjoy the Spring season, I hope it brings you all of the Growth, Love and Health that you deserve!

Source by Eric J. Schmidt

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