Updated March 1, 2021
Springtime is the perfect time for a liver cleanse
Check out this one-week liver cleanse for Spring! Then read on to learn more about how Traditional Chinese medicine works holistically with the seasons and seasonal changes to help you achieve and maintain optimal health. We include a few springtime health tips at the end. Make the most of this wonderful season!
Recipe for Liver Flush
Pick ONE of the options below. Drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, every morning for a week.
Option 1: The juice of half a fresh lemon in lukewarm water.
Option 2: The juice of half a fresh lemon in lukewarm water, PLUS the juice from half an orange and one tablespoon of cold-pressed olive oil.
Option 3: The juice of half a fresh lemon in lukewarm water, PLUS the juice from half an orange and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, PLUS two cloves of minced garlic ground together with the liquid in a blender.
Recipe for Springtime Greens
During this liver flush and all through the spring, try to incorporate dark leafy greens. Not only are they high in iron and fiber, they help to flush out the toxins from the body. Try this recipe three times during the week of your liver flush. DON’T BE AFRAID OF YOUR GREEN VEGGIES! They are easy and quick to make.
- Pick a leafy green: kale, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, dandelions (or a combo).
- Clean greens and break off the stem (you can just pull the leafy parts off of the thick stem).
- Bring approximately one gallon of water to boil.
- Once water is at a rolling boil, throw greens in water.
- Cook 2-3 min at fast boil, until leaves turn dark green.
- Immediately scoop the greens out of the water, place on a chopping board, and chop into pieces. Keep the water boiling on the stove while you do this.
- In the same boiling water, drop in some udon noodles or pasta.
- Do not overcook! Follow the package directions for cooking time.
- In a separate pan sauté some garlic and crushed red peppers in olive oil. Make sure you have enough oil to cover the pasta and greens. Add to the greens and noodles.
- Add salt, pepper, and lemon to taste. Mix and serve.
Springtime and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Spring is the ideal season for cleansing and rejuvenation for overall health and well-being.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) makes particular associations to form a conceptual framework that guides TCM practitioners in assessing and treating patients. For Spring, the associations are:
- Element: Wood
- Color: Green
- Nature: Yang
- Organs: Liver, Gallbladder
- Emotion: Anger (can also manifest as frustration, irritability, stress)
- Governs/controls: Sinews and Tendons
Because of these associations, the liver and its complementary organ, the gallbladder are primary targets for springtime TCM health regimens.
The Liver Function in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
According to the philosophy of TCM, the Liver organ system refers to a set of energetic pathways associated with the liver, not simply the physiological organ. To distinguish between the TCM Liver energetic system and the liver as an organ, we capitalize the word “Liver.”
In the TCM model, the Liver is responsible for the smooth flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body. When the Liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly. When there is dysfunction of the Liver it can manifest as anger/frustration/ irritability, headaches, dry eyes, and frequent sprains/strains. It can also manifest as menstrual disorders including painful periods and PMS.
Helpful Springtime Health Tips
The Liver controls the tendons. According to TCM, the liver stores blood during periods of rest and then releases it to the tendons in times of activity, maintaining tendon health and flexibility. Incorporate a morning stretch into your routine. Try yoga or Tai Qi.
Green is the color of the Liver and of springtime. Eating young plants – fresh, leafy greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses – can improve the Liver’s overall functions and aid in the movement of Qi.
Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the Liver’s Qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil for your salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle.
Get Out and Move
Exercise moves Liver Qi flow. If you have been feeling irritable, find an outdoor activity to smooth out that Liver Qi stagnation. Go for a walk or take up bike riding. Not only do you benefit from the exercise, but places like forests and beaches contain negative ions that are very calming.
Do a Liver Cleanse
Clean out all the stuff your body has accumulated during your winter hibernation mode. Liver cleanses are for detoxing the liver and kidneys, especially allowing the liver to regenerate and rejuvenate. This post began with the liver cleanse that I personally use every year. It was recommended to me by a dear friend and teacher, Justin Pomeroy. Justin owns Life Gate Center in Chicago, IL and was one of the first people to start practicing acupuncture in Illinois.