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Home > Newsletters > May 2003

From An Eastern Perspective

By Linda Lloyd

Picture by Stan Roy

It is hard to imagine that spring is here. From a yin and yang perspective, the world is transitioning from winter, the most yin season of the year to spring, the most yang season of the year. Nature explodes with the coming of spring. Dormant bulbs once buried under inches of snow erupt and push aggressively up towards the nurturing source of the sun. Tree sap, long stored in the roots, reverses its flow and begins running up to ignite the growth cycle once again. The animal kingdom wakes up and starts the mating cycle so that the young can be raised during the gentler, warmer months.

All of nature is affected by the yang cycle of spring. What effect does it have on us? We are all familiar with the term “spring fever” and what they felt like when we were young and could appreciate the bounties of spring. Often times the burden of responsibilities blinds us to the joy that nature gladly offers in the spring as we hurry into our office buildings to take on the tasks of the day.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, spring is the time of the liver and gall bladder. The emotion most closely tied to the liver and the quality of spring is the explosive nature of anger. You may find yourself becoming easily angered over trivial matters. Anger is the most yang of the emotions and therefore is congruent with the spring. By comparison, the emotion of fear is associated with winter and has a constrictive quality. Just as the sap of a tree reverses its directional flow upwards, our emotions also find their way to the surface and may explode forth more easily in the spring than at any other time of year. Other emotional difficulties related to anger that may bubble up are impatience, frustration, resentment, rudeness, edginess, arrogance and aggression.

Rather than beating up yourself and everyone else with whom you come in contact, you may want to consider eating foods that will help relieve the liver. Chinese medicine teaches that the liver is the organ that is most susceptible to congestion and when congested throws the body into disharmony. This disharmony may be the root cause of the pent up emotions that may be bursting forth.

The first bit of advice to relieve the liver is to eat less. Limit your intake of highly processed foods and increase your intake of lightly steamed vegetables and whole grains. The taste of spring is sweet so emphasize those grains, vegetables and legumes that have a sweet flavor. Honey is an excellent detoxifier if used sparingly. Honey mixed with apple cider vinegar has a particularly beneficial effect on the liver. Mix one teaspoon of each in a cup a water to detoxify and activate the liver.

The reason vinegar is beneficial is that it has a bitter and sour taste which has a detoxifying effect on the liver. If heat signs are prevalent such as having a red face, thirst, and constipation, then substitute lemon, lime or grapefruit juice for the vinegar. Other bitter foods that can be used for detoxification purposes include rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, and quinoa.

To help build the liver, concentrate on an intake of chlorophyll rich foods provided by cereal grass sprouts that are so readily available in grocery stores. Other green foods that are beneficial are kale, parsley, and collard greens.

Eating these suggested foods will help decongest your liver and help bring your body into harmony with the season. To help bring the rest of you into harmony with the season, take short breaks during the day and go outside. Walk around the block and observe what’s popping up in the flowerbeds. Listen to the sounds of spring as birds busily fly overhead foraging for nest material. Remember you are a part of nature and spring is the time to be out to celebrate the new life around you.

Linda Lloyd is a Licensed Acupuncturist who owns and operates the Acupuncture Center of Northern Virginia located near Duke Street and Landmark Mall. Visit her website at www.acupuncturenova.com.

This Month's Articles

May 2003
Volume 1, Number 5

Ancient Chinese Remedies for Arthritis

From An Eastern Perspective

Ask The Doctor

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