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Hello spring!

Updated: 5 days ago

Spring is the time of year we associate with a change in tempo and new beginnings…new leaves, plants re-emerging and warming temperatures (hopefully!). It's the time when we begin to switch from being very Yin (think staying indoors over winter) and start becoming more Yang (think more movement, more time outdoors and a desire to do more). We instinctively want to become more active.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is associated with the Wood element, wind, the colour green, the Liver (a Yin organ) and Gallbladder (a Yang organ). The Liver’s role in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to send Qi around the body. At night our Blood returns to the Liver to be nourished. In order for this to happen, we should be lying down (ideally asleep). When the flow of Qi from the Liver isn’t smooth, we are prone to feeling irritable, angry and can experience headaches which are predominantly felt at the temples. The Liver is also responsible for nourishing our sinews and muscles, regulating menstruation, nourishing nails and moistening our eyes. Emotionally, the Liver is responsible for taking action once a decision is made. Think of the Liver as the General; it commands and sends out troops to where they are needed.

The Gallbladder helps with digestion by receiving bile from the Liver and releasing it into the digestive tract when it is required (as in Western medicine). When the Liver isn’t performing optimally, bile production is affected so we can experience nausea and belching, a bitter taste in the mouth and even jaundice. Emotionally, the Gallbladder, in TCM, is responsible for decision making. So if you find it hard to make decisions then nourish your Gallbladder!

How to look after your Liver

Stress is the main emotion which affects the Liver. We live busy lives with tight deadlines and rush around trying to fit so much into the day. It is important to try to make time for yourself and seek support if you begin to feel overwhelmed. Acupuncture can help to bring stress levels down which, in turn, helps with clear thinking.

How to look after your Gallbladder

The change in season from winter to spring can be tricky as temperatures can fluctuate wildly and the wind can suddenly pick up. This can affect the back of the neck, especially if it is not covered. The Gallbladder channel runs up the side of the torso, to the back of the neck and zig-zags across the head. A cold wind can enter the channel leading to headaches and neck tension/stiff neck and even progress to cold symptoms. Remember to cover your neck, even if you are only popping outside for a brief moment.

Eating to support and nourish the Liver & Gallbladder

Foods can have a powerful effect on our organs. These can be eaten when the Liver is affected by the factors mentioned above and also in spring in order to nourish and strengthen both the Liver and Gallbladder.


Before undertaking any change in the foods you eat please speak to your GP/dietician/consultant if you are on any medication as some foods can interact with medication or exacerbate medical conditions (including high/low blood pressure).


Leafy greens, carrots, chives, beetroot, cruciferous veg (Brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage,

bokchoy, cauliflower), eggplant/aubergine. Celery, cucumber, mung beans, sauerkraut, spinach, tomatoes, pears, plums, rice.

Juices: carrot juice, tomato juice.

Fruit: blueberries, goji berries, grapefruit, strawberries, apples, lemons, limes.

Meat/dairy: Out of respect for vegetarians and vegans, a separate post will be added with a link here to provide a list of meat and dairy products.

Seeds/nuts: flax, pine nuts, sesame.

Herbs & Spices: cayenne, garlic, onion, vinegar, turmeric (NOT IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY HEAT SIGNS- e.g hot flushes, hot hands and feet, hot torso, excessive sweating, fevers), parsley, watercress.

Oil: olive oil, cod liver oil, krill oil (increases omega 3 fatty acids)

Tea: Dandelion begins to emerge in spring and was traditionally used as a tea in spring. It has powerful detoxifying properties.

Nettle has been used by our ancestors to nourish blood which is particularly important after a long winter when we have (in the past) used our reserves to survive. A note of caution…avoid these teas if you have low blood pressure as they both act to lower blood pressure or are pregnant.

Chrysanthemum & green tea are also options.

Other: lemon or lime water (if you have any skin condition avoid lemons).

Foods to avoid:

Spicy foods, hot foods (in excess), greasy/fatty/oily/fried foods. Alcohol, coffee, caffeine, processed sugar, refined foods. All of these foods put a greater pressure on both the Liver and Gallbladder.

If you like crystals.........

The following are said to help the Liver:

Citrine: Helps too eliminate toxins from the Liver

Aquamarine: Boosts the immune system and reduces stress levels.

Danburite: Heals and detoxifies the Liver.

Bloodstone: Cleans the Blood

Charoite: Clears negative energy

Carnelian: Heals the Liver and moves Liver Qi

If you would like acupuncture to support your health and well being then please get in touch.

I would love to hear about recipes you use to help detoxify or heal these organs. Pop them into the comments box. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram

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