Spring & The Chinese Five Elements

Representation of the Chinese five elements (w...

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In the Chinese 5 Elements Spring sits in the Wood element and is the time of new beginnings. It’s a great time to rise early with the sun and take brisk walks which reflect the ascending and active nature of Spring. The sight of green shoots coming up from the earth and plants flowering nourishing our soul through our eyes and sense of smell. The metaphorical membrane over the eyes & mind disappears and vision becomes clearer – we see things in new ways.

It is the time of year when our appetite decreases and the body naturally cleanses itself, not only of food residues, but of excessive desire and the accompanying emotions of dissatisfaction, impatience and anger. This is a time for contacting your inner self and true nature and giving attention to self awareness and self expression.

This is the season to attend to our Liver & Gallbladder so the diet should be the lightest of the year and contain foods which emphasize the Yang – young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, immature wheat or other cereal grasses.  Salty foods should be limited and too many heavy foods clog the Liver resulting in Spring fits & fevers. Sweet & pungent foods are also good such as honey & mint tea or cooking herbs such as basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary & dill.  Most complex carbs such as grains, legumes & seeds have a primarily sweet flavour which increases with sprouting.

The Liver is perhaps the most congested of all of our organs – too much fat, chemicals, intoxicants & denatured food all disrupt the intricate bio-chemical processes of the Liver. Chinese Medicine Practitioners tell us that a healthy Liver establishes a smooth and soothing flow of energy through the whole person both in body & mind. When the Liver is harmonious there is never stress & tension. People with vital Livers are calm, have unerring judgment & can make effective leaders & decision makers. When obstructed, stagnant or over heated the energy flow in the Liver & throughout the body is hampered, which can result in a myriad of physical & emotional problems. One of the first signs of Liver disharmony is emotional difficulty relating to anger, impatience, stubbornness, frustration, resentment, arrogance or an impulsive or explosive personality. If these emotions are repressed they can lead to depression. Mood swings as well as emotional excesses are in general Liver related.

When the Liver is consistently stagnant, sediment often settles out of the bile and forms accumulations that resemble stones, sand or mud in the Gall Bladder which make it much less efficient. Symptoms of this sediment may be indigestion, flatulence, periodic pain in shoulders, neck & a bitter taste in the mouth. Most chronically ill people need Gall Bladder cleansing before recovery is complete.

As with any cleansing it should only be undertaken with the help of a professional such as a Naturopath. If you do undertake a Gall Bladder cleanse it is best to avoid foods richest in saturated fats and cholesterol. In Spring the best foods for the Gall Bladder are unrefined grains, vegetables, fruits & legumes.

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