Chinese Traditional Medicine: Taking Care of Health During the Spring

A bluebird in spring.

Springtime is seen as the beginning of a new cycle of life and the time for rejuvenation. (Image: JillWellington via Pixabay)

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), every change in the universe and human body occurs in five stages that are linked with a specific season as well as organs in the body. Spring is seen as the beginning of a new cycle of life and a time for rejuvenation. It is represented by the wood element and is linked to the liver, an organ that is targeted for springtime cleansing regimens.

Spring and its effect on the body

“When winter arrives, nature enters a process of withdrawal. It’s easy to see everywhere: Sap — the vital fluid of the tree — begins to descend, the trees lose their leaves, birds fly south, the ground hardens, and water freezes. Cold slows everything down. This occurs in nature and it also happens within our bodies. It’s a natural law. Everything in nature enters a period of dormancy. Without this period of rest, there could never be enough energy to produce an emergence of growth in spring,” according to TCM World.

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Spring basically represents growth. For instance, seeds sprout and plants start to grow upward. Similarly in the human body, the Liver Qi (chi) pushes upward. If the Liver Qi is imbalanced, this energy can cause problems in the body. A strong rise can cause headaches and elevated blood pressure in some people. Since the liver is associated with emotions like anger, frustration, and stress, an imbalance means that the person will have a tough time keeping such feelings under control.

An imbalance in Liver Qi means that a person will have a tough time dealing with stress and keeping feelings like anger and frustration under control.
An imbalance in Liver Qi means that a person will have a tough time dealing with stress and keeping feelings like anger and frustration under control. (Image: via Pexels)

Any compromise in liver function can also end up affecting the eyes. The person might experience itchy eyes or even blurriness of vision. As the liver is closely related to the stomach, a Qi imbalance might trigger problems like indigestion, burping, and bloating. Finally, people undergoing Liver Qi imbalance are likely to have trouble with their tendons.


If you suffer from health issues in spring, most TCM practitioners would suggest that you try acupuncture. The process can resolve the Qi disharmony in the liver, helping ease feelings like anger and frustration. In terms of diet, you should definitely drink milk thistle tea during spring as it protects the liver from toxins and triggers the organ to cleanse itself from harmful substances like mercury, pesticides, medications, and so on.

“The color green is predominant in spring and the taste of spring is sour — these are perfect places to focus your eating awareness. Leafy greens like dandelion, watercress, chickweed, baby greens, chard, lettuces, sprouts, and arugula all have powerful liver/gallbladder purifying qualities, and can be easily incorporated into your diet. Lemon or apple cider vinegar are also beneficial to move bile, especially taken in warm water first thing in the morning,” according to Thrive Global.

Spring is the perfect time to focus on eating green-colored foods.
Spring is the perfect time to focus on eating green-colored foods. (Image: Vegan Photos via Flickr)

You should not keep your body idle in spring as it can also be the cause of Liver Qi imbalance. Stretch your body and get regular exercise. The liver usually stores blood during times of rest and only releases it during intense activity. When exercising, this blood will be pumped into the tendons, thereby helping them remain flexible and healthy.

Engage in more outside activities. Breathing in fresh air aids in Liver Qi flow. Finally, do some eye exercises. Never look at the computer monitor for extended periods. Take some breaks in between and give your eyes some rest.

The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.

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