The Wood Element

Chinese Character for the Wood Element

The Wood Element begins to show its strength in the season of Spring and with that the Liver becomes the dominant organ. The Wood Element and Spring are about rebirth, new growth and forward moving energy. It is a time for the seeds of winter to germinate and grow into new life. 

Spring and the Element of Wood.

Spring is the time for the Liver organ complex. The Liver is responsible for the smooth flow and distribution of Qi that is essential for achieving and maintaining balance. The Liver is also the emotional and physical detoxification organ. When the Liver reaches its load limit and can’t detox any more, symptoms such as agitation, emotional upset, or tightness in the abdomen can arise. 

Foods and the Liver 

Sour is the flavor of the Liver.  Pungent foods are also generally effective Qi movers. Here are some foods to help keep the Liver Qi flowing during this time of growth and expansion when sometimes we are still buds trying to blossom:

LicoriceDry Orange Peel
Lily flowerFennel
Chive rootLitchi
Dill seedsMarjoram
Radish leafStar Anise
Sweet BasilTangerine

Here are some other things you can do to keep the Liver Qi flowing smoothly in the springtime and anytime:

  1. Drink room temperature lemon water.
  2. Use spices that move Qi like peppermint, rosemary, spearmint, turmeric, and thyme.
  3. Avoid overeating.  Try to avoid heavy, hard-to-digest foods like nuts, peanut butter or excess amounts of meat and bread.
  4. Sit down when you eat and chew your food thoroughly.
  5. Breathe deeply into the base of your pelvis for relaxation.
  6. Laugh!! Watch funny shows or movies to help release any harbored anger or resentment. Feelings of frustration and internalized emotional tension need to be resolved as soon as possible, as any stagnated emotion can inhibit the Qi mechanism. The emotions tied to the Wood Element and therefore the Liver are frustration, anger and rage.

Written by Stephanie Gianarelli of Acupuncture Northwest & Associates, an acupuncture clinic specializing in mental health, pain, fertility and pregnancy with clinics in Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma, Washington