Time of renewal, growth, nature sprouting and blooming, the direction is outwards and upwards and the notion is “Spring cleanse”. The ancient Chinese believed that the seasons have a profound cyclical effect on human growth and wellbeing. Our bodies make gradual adjustments to acclimatise to the changing seasons, and this can be supported by choosing and preparing food according to the seasons. To be in harmony with the seasons is second nature to the balanced person.
This is the season to attend to the liver and gallbladder. It is a good time to cleanse the body of fats and the heavy foods of winter, and start eating lighter foods. Too many heavy foods clog up the liver. Pungent cooking herbs like: fennel, basil, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill and bay leaf are especially beneficial to our system around this time.
Food preparation becomes simpler in spring. Food is best cooked for a shorter time but at higher temperature, raw and sprouted foods are cleansing and cooling can be enjoyed more now that the weather is getting warmer.
In Chinese Medicine, every season is an element, which, in-turn has a dominant organs. Spring is the Element of Wood, the environmental influence is wind, the colour is green and the dominating organs are Liver and Gallbladder. The liver is perhaps the most congested of all organs in a modern person; too much fat, chemicals, processed foods , and intoxicants all effect the liver in a negative way. In Chinese Medicine, the healthier the liver, the smoother the flow of Qi and Blood through the whole person, which is soothing for mind and body. When the flow of Qi is interrupted or stagnant (called “Liver Qi stagnation”), it can result in countless physical and emotional problems.
On an emotional level, one of the first signs of a liver disharmony is emotional difficulty related to anger: impatience, resentment, frustration, edginess, impulsive and/or explosive personality. An outlet is required to move and resolve the stagnation: reduce excess (desire for rich tasting food, but also desire for fame, money, power, security etc.), BREATHE, get blood flowing by brisk walking or aerobic exercise. Further strategies are meditation, eat healthy & light food as mentioned above, especially greens (every green food has helpful amounts of chlorophyll and can be used for building blood, cleansing and controlling the growth of undesired microorganisms), and of course Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs can help as well.
Enjoy the sun & the warmer weather and you know where to find me for any questions or a spring tune up.
Some vegetables in season: Asparagus, Cauliflower, Cucumber, New Potatoes Purple, Sprouting Broccoli, Radishes, Savoy Cabbage, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring Green,s Spring Onion, Watercress.
Dr Caroline Alison Nichols (TCM)
Reference: ‘Healing with Wholefoods’, P.Pitchford