The 5 Elements of Chinese Medicine – Wood
The next element in our 5 Elements series is Wood. Although we are currently approaching Wintertime, this post will give you something to look forward to. Wood is the element associated with Springtime! In the Wintertime, life force energy, or Qi, has been stored and concentrated, like a seed under the snow. In Springtime, it is ready to burst forth with new life. The Wood energy is about rising and spreading outward and upward. It is about youth and growth and new beginnings. It is about having a clear vision and purpose. In fact, one of the organs of the body associated with Wood is the eyes. Healthy Wood energy is necessary for healthy eyesight.
Wood is also associated with the organs of the Liver and Gallbladder. The Liver energy is associated with our nervous system, tendons and ligaments, and our blood, especially for women. When the Liver is imbalanced, women may have problems with an irregular menstrual cycle. If the Liver blood is deficient or stagnant, the blood cannot nourish the tendons and ligaments, and therefore they will not be soft or flexible like they should be.
The emotions associated with Wood and the Liver are anger and frustration. When the Liver is out of balance, there will be a tendency toward anger, resentment, and mood swings, and depression (which is in some ways anger directed inwardly toward oneself). The Liver Qi is not spreading in all directions like it should, a common condition in Chinese medicine known as Liver Qi stagnation. Stress is also a manifestation of Liver Qi stagnation. When Liver Qi is stagnant, there may be a tendency toward being indecisive, or arrogant, and possibly addiction to substances like alcohol or drugs. There may also be physical symptoms, such as dry, brittle nails, pain below the ribs, and digestive problems like bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea.
The Liver is also one of the main organs that clears toxins from the body. If there are a lot of toxins in the body, this puts a lot of strain on the Liver, and it does not work as well as it should. There may even be signs of toxicity in the skin, such as skin rashes. Merry Clinic’s Skin Detox formula works in large part to cleanse the Liver of toxins, and therefore is a great way to clear up the skin.
There are some foods that can also help to detoxify the Liver. Green is the color associated with Springtime, and green leafy vegetables can cleanse and freshen the body. Dandelion greens are a great example. A balanced diet with a variety of juices such as citrus, pear, apple, celery and carrot are also helpful, as well as different types of sprouts.
The Liver appreciates action and movement. Take a walk, or a jog – whichever feels right for your body. Stretching, moving, playing outdoor sports, anything that has your body and energy moving supports your Liver.
Getting outside in the fresh morning air, having plenty of time and space to express yourself is great “medicine” for the Liver. And just like plants need plenty of water as they reach for the sky, your Liver Organ System requires water too.