In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and practice, the human body experiences seasonal changes in harmony with the climate. The best time to affect an organ is in its season. The element of wood is associated with the season of Spring. Wood represents the liver and gall bladder organs. Spring is a good time to be thinking of renewing the energies of the liver.
Many traditional diets use food and herbs in early springtime to cleanse the liver. Spring is the natural time for fasting or cleansing. Salty foods and high fat meat and dairy foods should be avoided. Sweet and pungent foods are recommended, as well as sour foods. Unrefined apple cider or brown rice vinegar is a remedy for liver qi stagnation. Bitter herbs such as mustard greens, turmeric, onions, watercress, cumin, ginger, angelica root, and prickly ash bark are helpful, as are herbs such as mint, basil, fennel, rosemary, dill, caraway, and marjoram. Sprouted grains and legumes, young beets and young carrots are beneficial. For liver rejuvenation, spirulina, blue-green algae, and chlorella are especially helpful, while raw foods, fresh greens, sprouts, and young foods (raw green onions) are best for a spring liver cleanse.
Windy weather and the sprouting of green are what we expect in springtime. Wind is the climate association of the wood element, and green is the color. However wind can also be a type of imbalance in TCM. Moving pain, tremors, and spasms, are all considered to be a wind imbalance. TCM theory states when we sleep, blood flows back to the liver, and when we are active, blood flows to the extremities, nourishing and moistening the muscles and sinews. The liver is the organ that stores blood and controls the free flow of qi (pronounced chee), your life force. The nature of liver is to harmonize. If the liver is healthy, and able to harmonize, then the free flow of qi can be maintained and all is well. If not, then you might become easily irritated, frustrated, impatient, resentful, or stubborn. This in turn continues to disrupt the free flow of qi.
The gallbladder is also a wood element organ, and is paired with the liver. The emotion of the gallbladder is willpower. A yearly gallbladder cleanse is a good idea, especially if you eat heavy, dense or oily foods. The gallbladder produces bile which is necessary for lipid digestion. It becomes less efficient when it is clogged with sediment. Some indications of this would be indigestion, flatulence, occasional pain below the right front side of the rib cage, and bitter taste in the mouth. If you experience the symptoms of liver or gall bladder imbalance, please consult your health care practitioner.