The wood element is supposed to grow up and out just like a tree reaching for the sky. When our Liver energy is stagnated, it isn’t able to grow upward, then we have emotions such as anger, irritability, stress, and frustration. Spring is also said to be the season of wind. In the body we see wind as twitches, such as a muscle twitch or your eye twitching, itches such as red itchy eyes (a branch of the Liver meridian goes to the eyes) or stiffness in muscles such as a stiff neck. The Liver nourishes the blood in the body. When the Liver energy is compromised the blood can became compromised as well. We tend to see more wind symptoms in the body when the quality of the blood is subpar. But also we can be more susceptible to the wind in our environment this time of year. The Liver has a lot to do with hormone balance and especially with the menstrual period. When the Liver energy is stagnated we see more PMS symptoms such as irritability before or during the menstrual cycle, breast tenderness, and cramps.
So be sure to keep your Liver's healthy during this change of season. A healthy Liver can help to prevent allergies, PMS, stiff muscles or muscle spasms, keep your mood more balanced, and keeps your skin healthy. To avoid a stiff neck or a seasonal cold make sure to keep the back of your neck warm and covered from the wind. Remember the color of spring which represents the Liver energy, is green and the flavor is bitter so good foods to help keep your Liver healthy are bitter leafy greens such as needles, dandelion greens, mustard greens, kale, parsley, etc. (One of the reasons people tend to drink beer or wine when they are under stress is because the bitter quality of it moves the Liver qi). Speaking of alcohol, this is also a great time of year to do a cleanse (not a fast though!). Herbs that are good for your Liver are milk thistle, schisandra, Chai hu (bupluerum), and bai shao (white peony). Chai hu helps get the energy of the Liver to move smoothly and bai shao nourishes the blood. This is a very common combination of herbs that we use in Chinese medicine to treat the Liver. Remember that the energy of the Liver goes up and out so stretching and exercise are great. Think about doing tree pose more often this time of year.