Eating for the Season: TCM & Spring

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Spring

Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal, regeneration, and growth. Awaken from your winter hibernation and brush off the cobwebs. Like most animals, humans tend to slow down during the colder months and in the process pack on a few extra pounds. As the first ambitious flowers of spring start to show themselves, so do many humans. Be honest. When was the last time you went for a walk, or willingly spent time outside?


traditional Chinese medicine and spring
Spring is here!


The ancient Chinese lived and worked with the rhythms of nature, and these concepts still hold true today. As a result, you shouldn’t feel bad about being more sluggish during the colder months. However, now that spring is here you should start to become more active. In order to achieve this, we need proper nourishment, and more specifically we need to nourish Qi (energy).  There are different types of Qi. The one that we will focus on today is the Qi associated with the spleen and the liver. In order to nourish our Qi we need to consume healthful foods associated with the season we are in. The spleen’s primary function (as the digestive system in Chinese Medicine) is to take the nutrients that we receive from the food that we consume and send it to the liver where it is then made into blood. For more on the spleen, you can click here. The liver (and its pair organ the gallbladder) is then responsible for using that blood to nourish the sinews, tendons, muscles, and the rest of the body. The liver is also related to the smooth flow of energy throughout the whole body Spring is the time of the liver and is related to the color green. Emotions related to the liver are anger, anxiety, frustration, irritability, and unresolved emotions. So, you guessed it, the best time to nourish and sooth the liver is the Spring! Think of it as spring cleaning for your body.


Different foods have different properties. Dark green leafy vegetables and sprouting vegetables are beneficial for the liver. Since the liver is also responsible for detoxification of the body it is beneficial to eat organic whenever possible, and to limit the amount of chemicals that you expose yourself to. If you are looking for a great line of certified organic, chemical free, vegan products ranging from dietary to skincare we recommend Miessence.

The liver is prone to stagnation. Primarily, because of the stressful lifestyles that we choose to live. When the liver become stagnant it can manifest as anger, irritability, depression, insomnia, and even pain.

The spring is also a great time to consider doing a liver cleanse. Although, there are several options out there. Here at CCHW we try to do things as naturally as possible. For more information on liver cleanses please click here.

Here are some foods recommended to eat throughout the season of spring.


  1. Green Foods: Eating green foods rich in chlorophyll can help to accelerate liver rejuvenation. This includes things like spirulina, chlorella, parsley, wheat grass, kale, Swiss chard and collard greens. Consider Miessence Deep Green Alkalizing if you are looking for a vegan organic chemical free way to get your daily serving of vegetables in.


  1. Radishes: Pungent nature, it helps to invigorate liver Qi and allow energy to move freely through the liver meridian.


  1. Sour Citrus Fruits: Certain foods like lemons, limes and grapefruit have been shown to help cut fats that may have been stored up in the body during the winter months. They are also helpful for keeping the liver qi moving smoothly. A twist of lemon or lime in your water should do the trick.


  1. Bitter Leafy Greens: As mentioned above, the spring is the great time to start a liver cleanse. Consuming foods like dandelion greens, arugula, radicchio, mustard greens and spinach are highly beneficial. Their bitter properties make them perfect for the job. Not to mention that they are high in iron and nourish the blood.


  1. Chicken: pasture-raised, locally grown chicken is a great option to pair with the aforementioned foods.


To read other articles pertaining to the Liver and Traditional Chinese Medicine click here.


Contact us if you are curious about how to eat according to the seasons. We can guide you along your healing journey through the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutritional counseling.

CCHW is located in Chicago’s South Loop and Arlington Heights Illinois.

Teri began her studies in energy medicine as part of her own personal development journey, and continues to to learn and integrate that knowledge into her practice. Teri is the founding practitioner of Calandra Center for Health and Wellness in Chicago, Illinois. She is licensed by the State of Illinois in acupuncture (L.Ac.), and board certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).