Eating for Spring with Chinese Medicine

In Chinese medicine, the spring is ruled by the wood element. This is the season to attend to the liver and gall bladder, the organs ruled by Wood. The spring is the time to eat less and often to cleanse, inviting the fats and heavy foods from winter to move out of the body.  This is a great time to bring in foods that are more yang, expansive, in nature: fresh greens, sprouts and other green foods are best introduced at this time of year.

As adapted from Paul Pitchford’s Healing With Whole Foods, here are some tips for bringing harmony to the liver as we move into spring:

1. Eat less!: Limit your intake of foods, especially fatty, heavy foods.

2. Stimulate the liver: eat foods such as onions, mustard greens, tumeric, basil, fennel, dill, ginger, black pepper, horesradish and rosemary are suggestions of moderately pungent foods and spices.

3. Bitter and sour foods to reduce excess of the liver: the most powerful and common remedy for removing liver stagnation is vinegar. Choose an unrefined apple-cider vinegar and mix with honey–one teaspoon of each per cup of water.

4. Detoxify the liver: mung beans and their spouts, celery, seaweeds, lettuce, cucumbers and watercress are recommended.

5. Accelerate liver rejuvenation: chlorophyll-rich foods, including cereal grasses (wheat or barley-grass juice powders) and micro-algae–spirulina, wild blue-green algae and chlorella.