Quick Tip for Staying Healthy: Spring Cleansing

DandelionSpring has finally arrived! We all know that spring is a great time to do a deep cleaning of your home, but what about your body?

According to the principles of Chinese medicine, each season is correlated to a different organ system.  Spring is correlated with the liver and gallbladder. These systems work together to act as your body’s filter by cleaning the blood and also aid in digestion.

The liver system is related to the eyes and is associated with the sour or bitter flavor. The liver system is also correlated to the emotion of anger. Signs that your liver might need some extra support include symptoms of indigestion, such as gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. Other physical manifestations may include tension headaches, jaw clenching, stiffness or tightness in your muscles or joints, and issues involving the eyes (poor vision, eye fatigue, dry eyes, etc.) There are also emotional and psychological indicators that the liver is out of balance, such as angry outbursts, irritability, resentment, frustration, and depression. The gallbladder works in a supportive function with the liver system.

To help these organ systems transition into spring, it is advisable to eat a lighter diet containing more raw foods, including greens, sprouts, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Greens in particular are plentiful this time of year and can help with cleansing and building the body.  Likewise, it is best to cut down on heavier foods like meats, dairy products, fried foods, and alcohol. This is also an optimal time of year to begin a regular exercise program.

Dandelions in particular are effective natural cleansers. The root of the plant stimulates the liver’s bile production for the gall bladder, promoting better digestion. The root also promotes the liver’s blood detoxification process. Dandelion greens also assist the liver’s ability to cleanse the blood.

Dandelion greens are prevalent this time of year and can be used in salads or steamed. Drinking dandelion tea is another way to incorporate the benefits of dandelions into your diet. Other foods with a bitter or sour taste are beneficial to the liver system, including greens such as arugula, endive, radicchio, escarole, collard greens, kale, and mustard greens.

Sources, and for more information:

Elson M. Haas, M.D., Staying Healthy with the Seasons

Sara Calabro, Seven Signs that You Need Acupuncture This Spring, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sara-calabro/spring-health_b_2907823.html

Natural Health News, http://www.naturalnews.com/040187_dandelion_root_kidney_health_liver_support.html#

A Veggie Venture, Vegetables 101: What are Bitter Greens?, http://kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/2012/01/what-are-bitter-greens.html