In Chinese Five Elements theory, spring belongs to the element of Wood. It’s a time of new beginnings, of growth (both physically and metaphorically) and of purpose. Winter’s period of hibernation is over and it’s time to rub the sleep from our eyes, to yawn and stretch; and to figure out where we are going.
Wood energy governs the liver and gall-bladder, whose roles are of planning and organising. The related emotions of these organs are anger and irritation, hence the term “liverish.” These are not purely negative emotions though. Acknowledging anger is recognising frustration due to blockages in either your internal or your external environment; once you figure out what these blockages are then anger can be a powerful transformation tool in combination with determination and creativity. You can effectively utilise these tools for growth and transformation.
Picture a new spring shoot fighting to emerge from the ground but with a pebble blocking its way. If the shoot doesn’t recognise that pebble then it won’t make it out into the sunlight and so will likely wither away and die. It needs to recognise that the pebble is a blockage and get angry! Only then can it decide whether to use strength to push that pebble out of the way or to find a more creative route out. Either way results in growth and transformation.
As ever, if you are unsure of anything please email me and I will endeavour to get back to you within 24 hours.
The flavour relating to Wood energy is sour and so starting your day off with a mug of warm (not hot) water with added cider vinegar is a good idea in the spring. I would also recommend drinking extra water at this time of year to support Wood energy and liver cleansing.
Both castor oil packs and caffeine enemas are powerful naturopathic Liver detoxifying tools but can sometimes be overwhelming if the detoxification flow is not effectively regulated. If you would like advice on whether these are currently suitable for you then we can talk about them in your next appointment.
As your liver starts to kick into action you will want to support it with fresh, energising foods. Use my quick guide to cooking with spring vegetables and start to gradually introduce some raw veggies and sprouted seeds as the season progresses.
Increase your consumption of sour tasting, fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and live yoghurt to support a healthy gut biome; and use liberal amounts of fresh leafy herbs to liven up your meals.
A Herbal Tea for Spring
Try this lovely recipe for Helen Carmichael’s Clearing Tea specifically designed for the Spring.
Other Spring Lifestyle Suggestions
As spring relates to Wood energy I am a big fan of getting outside and taking long woodland walks at this time, particularly in the mornings. Observe new life appear in the trees and on the ground; take time to listen to the birds, notice how the air smells different at this time of year, and go find a tree trunk to hug!
If you are feeling the call to exercise then consider activities such as yoga, pilates, martial arts, MovNat or strength work rather than high intensity cardio. Wood energy governs muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. Picture a spring sapling in a strong breeze, transforming winter’s Water energy into new, upward reaching growth. Like that sapling, you will want to concentrate on strength, grace and flexibility both physically and metaphorically in preparation for the heat of summer’s Fire/Heart energy.
As Wood energy pertains to vision, to creativity and to new beginnings this is also the time to really take note of new ideas and to set intentions around creative, personal or business projects. Any kind of creative expression will nourish your Liver energy flow. But don’t forget that rest and relaxation is also crucial to strong, healthy growth. A short nap between 1pm and 3pm may prove to be highly restorative.