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Chinese Medicine and Spring: The Wood Element & The Liver

Updated: May 14

bowl of cabbage

In Chinese Medicine five element theory, Spring is the season of the Wood element which relates to the Liver & Gall bladder.

Wood is all about new beginnings, growth, creation and initiating change.

Think strong, assertive, powerful energy.

The Liver & Gall bladder are ready for detox in Spring. Time to let go of accumulation from the colder months. Your body wants to unfurl and sprout like the budding blossoms. Perhaps you may have noticed a shift in your energy already?

Your energy is more dynamic and wants to move upwards and outwards. Your muscles and ligaments want to stretch and unfurl. It's a time for more exercise and more hours spent outdoors in the sun.

The taste of the Wood element is sour, the colour is green and the sound is a shout so let it out.

Groan, roar, sing along to Janis Joplin.

man with arms raised upward with sun setting in distance

The Wood element can be affected by the strong winds in spring (especially if there is a deficiency or pre-existing stagnation in this channel). If you are susceptible to agitation, anger and frustration, Spring can often exacerbate these feelings and even bring on symptoms such as headaches, neck and jaw tension. It’s important to eat with the seasons, consume foods that help move Liver Qi and continue wearing your scarf in windy weather ;)

Foods that can help (the bitter the greens, the better): kale, bok choy, parsley, mustard green, rocket, peas, string beans, snow peas, edamame, radicchio, sprouts, olives, artichokes. Nettle tea and matte are great alternatives to coffee (which can often aggravate an overworked Liver).

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