Spring is nearly upon us! The Spring Equinox falls on the 21st of March, when day equals night. For the next six months, we in the northern hemisphere will experien ce longer days represented by the yang principle in Chinese Medicine. Spring is the time for new growth; seeds bud and flowers bloom. We too are affected by the seasonal change, being inextricably interconnected with our environment. And so we too have the opportunity to blossom during spring.
In Chinese Medicine, spring is represented, perhaps not surprisingly, by the color green and is governed by the wood element, which corresponds to the liver and gall bladder. Our ability to focus, plan and make decisions is governed by the wood element. An imbalance in the wood element may represent itself in an inability to make sound decisions or on the other end, a mind that will not allow the body to relax. A wood imbalance makes it difficult to meet the day with energy and vigor, and may be felt as inflexibility and tension headaches. Wind nourishes the wood, but when in access can weaken it, causing hay fever and allergies. The flavor associated with wood is sour. Craving or avoiding sour or vinegar rich foods may reveal a liver imbalance. The emotion expressed by the liver and gall bladder is anger. Repressed anger will damage the liver. The liver is also the home of the soul, which gives us our will to thrive.
Spring is a time to pay particular attention to the how we fuel our bodies. I encourage you to eat whole, unprocessed, organic foods, which are seasonally abundant this time of year. Eat plenty of greens and try sprouting (it’s easy! ). Almost any seed, bean, or pea will sprout. At the moment I can’t get enough sunflower sprouts! Sprouts are a wonderful living accompaniment to almost any springtime dish. Sassafras, found in traditional root beer, is a wonderful springtime tonic with many medicinal uses. Dandelion leaves go great in salads or can be used for teas. For a more potent liver tonifier, use the root and simmer for about 20 minutes. Peppermint is another great herb, which is second to none as a tea on a warm, spring day.
The changing seasons bring new opportunities for our outdoor and personal gardens. Devour plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables! Let your creativity soar and express yourself to your world! It is the time to awaken from the hibernation of winter to dance and play outdoors! To clean out those dusty corners with mops, brooms, and vegetable juices! It’s time to sow the seeds you will later harvest!
Nich Green is a junior transfer student living in PICA. He is a holistic health practitioner, bodyworker, and is co-facilitating a five-unit upper division ESLP course in spring quarter called Thrive: Tools for Healthy Living Through Holistic Perspectives.