In the Five Element system, Water generates Wood. Spring unfurls from the cold stillness of winter and bursts into vibrant, expansive growth.
The Yin and Yang Organs associated with the springtime, and with the element of Wood, are the Liver and Gallbladder. In Chinese Medicine, the Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi and Blood throughout our bodies. When our Qi is not flowing smoothly, we become stagnant. We become less flexible. And wood is strongest when it can flex and bend with the winds of change.
The energy of the Liver, like the energy of spring, is expansive, vibrant, and creative. If this Yang energy is not controlled or nurtured adequately, it may rise up and get "stuck" in places where it doesn't need to be. This can cause many of the common Liver disharmonies.
Signs of Liver energy out of balance include high blood pressure, or headaches. Some people to get bouts of dizziness in the springtime if they have certain Liver disharmonies. Allergic reactions or red itching eyes can be a sign that the winds of springtime have caused the Liver energy to heat up and rise to the eyes.
The Liver stores the blood. Because of this, many women's issues are rooted in Liver stagnation. Think PMS symptoms.
In the Five Element system, each organ is responsible for the expression of certain emotions or emotional states. The congenital virtues of the Liver are benevolence and compassion. For many of us, it is hard for many of us to remain compassionate as we move through the frustrations of day-to-day life. And it is in the tension between reality and expectation in which the Liver learns its acquired emotions: frustration, irritation, jealousy, envy, anger and rage.
If we can nurture, support and purge our Liver, we can once again learn to have benevolence and compassion for those things that cause us anger and frustration.
To balance all this expansive springtime energy, it is important to add lots of dark leafy greens to our diet: kale, mustard greens, and chard all help support the Wood element. Add a little bit of lemon juice, both to help your body absorb the available iron and to help clear heat from the Liver. Throw in a small amount of pungent foods, such as garlic or onion, to assist the Metal element of the body in directing and controlling the expansive energy of the Liver and Gallbladder.
Springtime is a great time to do dynamic qigong or yoga. Wake up your joints, stretch out the body! Not only will it help you use up that rising Yang energy, but the Liver is associated with the health and resiliency of the tendons.
Get out there, get moving, and smell some flowers. Spring is here!