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Spring from the Perspective of Oriental Medicine

Guest blog post by Lisa Goodstein, DOM

Spring – plants and trees are growing, perennials are poking out again, trees are bearing new beautiful leaves and buds. Depending where you live, this has been happening for a while, or maybe it is just starting. From a Chinese Medical perspective – the Liver is the organ associated with Spring. It is common for a Liver imbalance to be aggravated in this season which makes this a perfect time to support your Liver by eating foods and herbs which benefit this very large and important organ. The liver consistently cleanses our blood, removes toxins and is responsible for the smooth flow and regulation of Qi and blood throughout our bodies. This organ is associated with the color green, movement that is outwards and upwards (like plants at this time of year), and the harmonious interaction of an individual with their external environment.

If you live in New Mexico, this time of year is also known for the wind. Yes, we hear it howling daily, have sand and dirt blowing in our faces, and we navigate around the tumbleweeds in the roadways. Our skin is dry, eyes are irritated and headaches may come and go. Wind also affects us on an emotional level. An East wind affects the Liver the most in Chinese Medical theory and generally causes headaches and neck stiffness. If you are experiencing discomforts due to this weather pattern, it is very likely you have a Liver imbalance. Herbs that could help you include milk thistle, yellow dock, blupleurum, nettles and other herbs which Cathy has discussed in previous weeks. A small amount of foods with a sour taste is beneficial for our Livers. Another ailment you may experience with the wind is a dry annoying cough. For this, the easiest remedy is to poach a pear and eat it while it is still warm.

The topics of these blogs have lately been about detoxification, because from a traditional western perspective and the Judeo-Christian calendar, Spring is the time of year to perform cleansing rituals. This includes cleaning our homes as well as our bodies. In Chinese Medicine these ‘cleanses’ or ‘detoxifications’ are not part of the philosophy because our bodies continually experience detoxification on a gentle daily level. The only time it is appropriate to purge is when we have to rid ourselves of a toxin – this can be in the form of something we ate, an infection, or parasites. It is used only when we need to quickly treat an acute situation.

If you are experiencing headaches, lethargy, irritability, or body pain – you could have a Liver imbalance. A consultation with an Oriental Medical practitioner, Naturopathic doctor, or Ayurvedic practitioner would be useful to clarify your situation and offer you remedies to bring you into balance.

Lisa Goodstein, DOM

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