As we wake from the slumber of Winter, the energy in all things begin to rise. Our internal energy pushes us outdoors, awakening a desire to spring clean, to plant the garden, to Move! We can see this movement all around us – trees start to push out new growth, cherry blossom trees shyly bring forth their blooms, animals are dancing and playing around us.
This is the energy of Spring, the element of Wood – it is about expansion and the rapid build up of pressure, the drive to start setting goals and making plans for the year. The Chinese believe that the qualities of the Wood element are strength coupled with flexibility. Wood personalities also have the characteristics of idealism, co-operation and are generous in nature and warm. They are all action explorers with a social consciousness. However, this ability to press forward must be balanced by a sense of knowing when it is appropriate to yield to external forces
A person with a balanced Wood element will adapt their plans with the changing world, while those out of balance will settle into frustration, anger, and depression. The feeling that ‘everything is against me’ is the common lament of someone with an unbalanced Wood element.
The Liver and Gall Bladder are the organs linked to Wood element. The Liver is the master planner and strategist, ‘he’ decides our life purpose and goals. And the linked organ Gall Bladder carries out the plan, makes the decisions that will help us to accomplish those goals.
When Wood is out of balance
When the Wood energy or Qi is weak, we can become indecisive, without a strong direction in life, and stuck. We may be constrained emotionally, unable to express anger. When the Liver Qi is congested or stagnant, people can be arrogant, over controlling, and have angry dispositions. With tendencies to be workaholics or have addictive personalities, Digestive problems may also appear like bloating, gas, alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Excessive frustration and irritation can be especially difficult when the Liver meridian is out of balance
Common signs are dry, brittle, thickened nails and pain just below the ribs. Common illnesses include migraines, eye problems, and sinus problems. The Liver meridian circles the genitals, and rashes and discharges are associated with its imbalance, as well as hernias. For women, menstrual problems are common including PMS, painful periods, and heavy bleeding. Uterine fibroids may be related to imbalance of the Liver meridian as well.
Foods and activities that benefit Liver and Gall Bladder
Sour and bitter flavours are said to benefit the Liver. Physical exercise and reading can help restore balance. The winds of March are a vulnerable time so ensure your neck and head are covered in volatile weather conditions.
Adding green foods to your diet, plenty of young plants, fresh greens, sprouts, and immature cereal grasses (i.e. wheat grass). Basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, and bay leaf are pungent cooking spices desirable for spring. Kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut and fermented foods are good too.
Try this for the next few weeks
Squeeze a quarter of lemon into a 12 oz. glass of warm (not hot!) water. Done every morning, this has a great effect on stress, skin and circulation.