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Spring into Health: How the Liver and Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help You Renew and Refresh

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

flower bud

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the liver is one of the most important organs in the body and is associated with the wood element. The liver is responsible for regulating the flow of of nutrients and blood throughout the body, ensuring that it flows smoothly and evenly.


The liver has a variety of functions in TCM, including storing blood, regulating emotions, and maintaining the body's overall balance. When the liver is functioning properly, a person will experience good health and emotional stability. However, when the liver's Qi (life force, nutrients and blood) becomes stagnant or blocked, a variety of physical and emotional symptoms can arise, including irritability, mood swings, PMS, headaches, dizziness, digestive problems, skin conditions, allergies, acne, weight gain, fatigue, inflammation, and muscle tension.


  • Wheat

  • Gluten

  • Dairy

  • Eggs

  • Pork

  • Corn

  • Canola oil


The wood element is associated with the liver in TCM, and the spring equinox marks the beginning of spring, which is the season that is also associated with the liver and the wood element. According to TCM theory, the liver is responsible for regulating the flow of Qi throughout the body and ensuring a smooth transition from the yin of winter to the yang of spring. The wood element is associated with growth, expansion, and creativity, and it is believed that the liver's energy can become stagnant if it is unable to express these qualities during the spring season.

To address liver stagnation during the spring equinox, we may recommend dietary and lifestyle changes, such as eating more fresh foods and less fatty foods, getting regular exercise, practicing stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga, and seeking out acupuncture or other forms of traditional Chinese medicine to help regulate the flow of nutrients and blood in the liver.

Nicole Peterson, LAc, MAcOM is a licensed acupuncturist in Ashland, Oregon. She loves sharing her passion for natural approaches to health through her online blog and at her clinic, Ashland Family Acupuncture. Contact us for an appointment or free consultation. 541-631-9649


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