Lighten Up--It’s Spring!
©Deborah Barr. All rights reserved.
Spring is the first season of the year and represents birth,
beginnings, and rapid growth in nature and in humans. Nature is
more active and expansive; its energy is ascending. In spring we
awaken from the confinement of winter and are restored as nature
is. As you emerge from the quiet, inward energy of winter,
nature too is awakening from its slumber. It’s time to clear out
the old, and for planting seeds, literally and metaphorically.
Do you associate getting rid of the old stuff and spring house
cleaning with this time of year? Cleansing your body of toxins
and residues of food excesses and purifying your mind and
emotions are equally important in spring. Cycles of rejuvenation
and purification are at their height in the spring—for humans
It’s time to rise earlier and awaken with the sun, and to have
more contact with nature. Brisk outdoor walks will invigorate
your body and mind. Spring can open you to a fresh, bright
perspective on your life and cause you to blossom as nature
Have you noticed a
relationship between the seasons and your personal health? Your
mental outlook, emotional state and physical health change with
the cycles of nature. Learning to flow your energy as nature
does through the seasons can insure vibrant physical health and
emotional harmony. How well you transition through the seasons
is a good indicator of how balanced your health is.
health philosophy, thousands of years old, is traditional
holistic medicine. Its Five Element Theory provide a good
understanding of how nature and your body are intimately
connected, and mirror each other. According to the wisdom of
Traditional Chinese Medicine, each season relates to specific
organs in the body and corresponding emotions. Seasonal changes
are transitions and tend to be times when many experience more
intensity in chronic health conditions, greater stress, and
The TCM corresponding organ to the spring season is the liver
and its complementary organ, the gall bladder. Following
nutritional practices that improve the health of these organs
will help you flow healthfully into this season with the
vibrancy of nature.
The Liver stores and distributes nourishment for the
entire body, is involved in the formation and breakdown of
blood, and filters unusable materials (toxins) from the blood.
Liver cells make bile which aids digestion, and stores bile in
the gall bladder to be used in the intestines for the breakdown
of fats, and enhancing the ability of small intestines to absorb
Conditions related to spring
The liver regulates your emotions. Some
indicators of liver stagnation include: excessive anger,
impatience, frustration, resentment, edginess, arrogance,
stubbornness, aggression, and an impulsive or explosive
personality. When these states are repressed and not
transformed, they cause depression. Mood swings are liver
related. Emotions are an expression of qi (pronounced chee).
When the liver is overloaded its energy becomes stagnant. That
energy seeks release and is often expressed through extreme
A healthy liver is reflected in patient, calm, orderly,
creative, self-expressive, confident, direct, clear-minded,
passionate, and decisive behavior.
The liver rules the health of tendons and eyes. Related
disharmonies include tendon and ligament problems, and eye
problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, inflamed, red or dry
eyes, night blindness, excessive tearing. These and other visual
abnormalities all mirror the energetic health of the liver.
Swellings and lumps in the body, and migraine headaches are
other symptoms of a stagnant liver.
The liver stores and purifies blood, and when the liver is
stagnant, blood purification can be inadequate, leading to the
release of toxins through the skin. Impure blood is a cause of
acne, eczema, carbuncles, boils, acidosis and allergies. Toxic
blood feeds all degenerative conditions, including arthritis and
cancer. Hormonal balance is regulated by the Liver, and many
menstrual and menopausal difficulties are rooted in a stagnant
Causes of liver-related
Excesses of many types, including rich, fatty, greasy food,
chemicals, intoxicants, denatured food, and unexpressed and
repressed emotions harm the liver. Spring is a good time to
lighten up these excesses. Your eating habits of one season are
reflected in your health during the next season. You can
flourish in spring as nature does by incorporating foods and
practices that are harmonious with the season.
There are many safe, effective herbal formulas
for harmonizing the liver thereby correcting the imbalances that
cause all of the above-mentioned imbalances. I
intentionally do not have them on my website. Many people
with no training or understanding of herbal formulas can do more
harm than good when self medicating. To find the best
formula for your health conditions it’s best to consult with a
professionally trained herbalist.
a session for best foods and supplements for your
constitution and condition.
Or contact by phone, 412.361.8600, or
Foods for Spring Health
While cooking food helps to maintain digestive balance, it’s
time to use lighter and simpler food preparation; shorter
cooking times at higher heat to thoroughly cook the food; light
steaming, quick sautéing, and simmering. Baking, broiling and
pressure cooking create more heat in the food and are more
suitable for the winter months and all year round for those with
The color of spring is green. Adding lots of green plants to
your diet will put you in harmony with the season and with
balanced health. Choosing foods with the expansive qualities of
spring--fresh greens, sprouts, and young plants--will help to
eliminate any excesses from the heavier eating and cooking of
fresh dandelions, watercress, and other hard, dark, leafy
greens, lightly steamed. Use leeks, scallions, sprouts, chives, parsley,
and asparagus. You may want to include high chlorophyll products
such as chlorella, algae, wheatgrass or spirulina.
Click here for some of my favorite chlorophyll products.
Green foods with an upward rising energy are beneficial because
they clear stagnancy and cool heat in the liver. They offset
stress from alcohol and drugs, reduce cholesterol, cleanse the
arteries, detoxify the liver, and have antioxidant properties.
sprouts and other raw foods for their cleansing and cooling
properties. Daikon radishes are also helpful for
clearing liver stagnation as is peppermint tea.
useful to include some pungent cooking herbs for their ability
to move stagnant Qi (chee) and improve a sluggish liver. Include
bay leaf, dill, caraway, marjoram, basil, and fennel.
grains hulled barley and Hato Mugi (also called Job’s Tears)
cool and cleanse the liver and should be emphasized during
The sour flavor is most active in the liver where
it counteracts the effects of rich, greasy food, and the heavier
foods of winter. It functions as a solvent by breaking down fats
and protein. Sour helps in digestion to dissolve minerals for
improved assimilation and can help strengthen weakened lungs. In
spring it’s appropriate to emphasize some sour foods such as
lemon, sauerkraut, vinegar, pickles, plums,
berries, tart apples, rhubarb, sourdough bread, and sprouted grains..
Increasing these foods can help correct physical and emotional
imbalances of this element. Of course it’s equally important to
minimize fatty, heavy, congesting foods and to eliminate
intoxicants and chemicals. Doing so will give you the vitality
to enjoy all the activities of the warmer seasons.
food, having the bigger meal earlier in the day, and avoiding
late night meals will reduce excesses, improve digestion, and
cause you to feel lighter and more energetic as you move from
winter to spring.
Spring Cleaning for the Body
environmental factors, spring and fall are the most auspicious
times to embark on a cleanse, and there are many approaches.
Their appropriateness is based on individual patterns, and
extreme detoxification is not recommended.
Cleansing and detoxification are neither appropriate nor
recommended for pregnant and lactating women; those with serious
physical and mental degenerations; or those who are deficient,
frail, weak, or underweight.
for Gentle Spring Cleanse
(a general cleanse); for a customized approach to cleansing and
for your constitution and condition
Toxic Thoughts and Emotions
encourages and supports letting go and clearing out the old.
This may mean habits; personal truths that have been guiding
your life; ways of being in the world; work and relationships
that are not supporting your highest good; and poor nutritional
choices. Purging yourself of outdated beliefs, attitudes, and
toxic emotions that are not supporting your health and happiness
clears stagnant energy that may be keeping you heavy and stuck.
helpful while embarking on a physical cleanse to work on
mental/emotional clearing. Emotional repression harms the liver; causes mood
swings and depression; and compromises physical health and
you like to give birth to in your life? It may be a creative
project, a new relationship, a more challenging and fulfilling
profession, a nourishing lifestyle, or a healthier, fit body.
Creating a vision statement is akin to planting seeds in the
garden. Plant the mental seeds now by writing your goals,
feeding and nurturing your dreams, and taking action toward
them. Watch them blossom and come to fruition as nature does in
the warmer months.
Journal your thoughts and feelings. Include those that
you want to clear out of your life. Emotions are often a
metaphor for what you’re holding onto in your physical body.
The process of writing can bring to your awareness thoughts and
emotions that are keeping you where you are. Reflect on their
positive purpose in your life. Negative emotional states
can cause you to make poor food choices eventually causing
Renew your relationship with yourself by making a
decision to love and respect yourself by eliminating negative
self-judgment, perfectionism, and living in the past. In doing
so, the miracles that are occurring in nature will be reflected
in your life. A more radiant, vital you will soon emerge.
mind, emotions and the environment are not separate and are
mimicking each other. Seasonal changes are an opportune time to
strengthen your whole health. Take your cues from the natural
environment. When you adapt yourself to spring transitions with
appropriate foods and practices, you will maintain good health,
and flourish as nature does.
©Deborah Barr. All rights reserved.
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