Spring and the Wood Element
Friday, March 20, 2009
Spring and the Wood Element
In Chinese Medicine there exist 5 elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Each element corresponds to a specific season. In this theory, there is the belief that the seasons have a deep cyclical effect on wellbeing; that we are influenced by the changes in season and can live harmoniously within them. For example, as Winter draws near a close and Spring sunshine prompts trees and flowers to sprout - we can consciouly prepare for this change in body and mind by making gradual adjustments. We can learn how to choose and prepare food according to the seasons.
Spring is the season to attend to the liver and gall bladder. The diet should be the lightest of the year and contain yang foods to emphasize the expansive qualities of Spring. This means young plants, fresh greens and sprouts. Salty Winter foods such as miso and meats should be limited. Too many heavy foods clog the liver and can make the seasonal transition difficult. Limit foods high in saturated fats, excesses of nuts and seeds and highly processed and refined foods. Alcohol should be limited as we know it taxes the liver.
Sprouted grains, beans and seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits all stimulate the liver's flow.
So, eat seasonally! In doing so, you not only help support our local farmers but help heal our own selves at the same time!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Dandelion root vs. Dandelion leaf ... there is a difference!
Dandelion leaf is a strong diuretic. This means that it stimulates kidney function.
The difference is that unlike pharmaceutical diuretics, which can deplete potassium in the body, it is a major source of potassium. It can be used whenever diuretic action is needed. It is a great general spring tonic and excellent for the liver.
Dandelion root, is considered both 'hepatic' and 'cholagogue' in its actions. This means that it is great for any liver and gallbladder inflammation. Jaundice beware!
Dandelion leaves can be eaten and are quite tasty as a lightly sauteed or steamed vegetable as well as raw in salad form. Both its root and leaf can be taken as a tincture or as a decoction - aka - tea.
Be careful, though, there have been rare reports of dermatitis in people exposed over a long period of time to the latex that is found in its stem.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Lavender and Peppermint oils are great for headaches!
It's so easy to make your own 'headache helper' and at very little cost.
Purchase 1 empty perfume bottle with roller top (see picture) - I got mine at my local health food store for $1.49
Fill 2/3 of the way with Vitamin E, almond oil, olive oil ... really any hypoallergenic oil.
Place 5 drops of lavender essential oil.
Place 5 drops of peppermint essential oil.
Roll onto temples and the nape of your neck as needed.
Make sure you test a little bit on your skin before you go all out.