Spring Cleaning and Liver function

Happy Spring everyone!

Most people do some form of Spring Cleaning, but I want to take a deeper look at what spring cleaning might mean for our bodies. Spring is the time when leafy greens start growing – when we would traditionally be eating salads and cleansing herbs. In Chinese medicine, springtime is related to the element of wood, which is associated with the liver and gallbladder. Our livers are one of our most important organs, and are often described as a filter for toxins. The liver is SO much more than a filter though! It processes proteins/fats/carbs and hormones. It is an organ of elimination and is where many substances are processed through phase I and phase II detoxification. Phase I and Phase II detox require b vitamins, antioxidants (vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione), amino acids, and sulphur compounds (found in cruciferous vegetables and onions/garlic) to turn toxins into water soluble compounds that can be eliminated from our bodies. Good nutrition is key to healthy liver functioning and spring cleaning the body!

Additionally, the liver is the emotional seat of anger and frustration. If you notice these emotions coming up often, you may need a cleanse. They also come up when we need more time to process our emotions, as the liver is the organ of processing. Focusing some time in the spring on releasing emotions, meditating, or just taking some quiet time to yourself can drastically improve feelings of liver qi stagnation. Feelings of anger, frustration, and stagnation that are often caused by STRESS.  So don’t forget that REST is an important part of letting the body process, detox, and heal.

Speaking of rest . . . in Chinese medicine, Gallbladder time is from 11am-1am and Liver time is from 1am-3 am. I often see people with liver processing issues who wake up around 2-3 am. It is important to notice these changes in our bodies so we can do something to address them.

Having a happy liver is more and more difficult in this world, but do the best you can to help your body process the toxins you come in contact with. Get the sleep you need. Meditate. Rest. Eat leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, arugula, etc.), onions, and garlic. Drink adequate water for your body size. And, perhaps most importantly, pay attention to emotions of frustration and anger – they may point to imbalances that need addressed.