Spring is the perfect time for release and renewal, as our bodies are yearning to cleanse and prepare itself for the budding of new life and possibilities. In Chinese medicine, the liver and the gall bladder are the two organs that are stimulated during this season, thus, it’s a good idea to do whatever you can to help rid them of foreign matters that congest them.
The liver has one heck of a job description and is responsible for purifying your blood for circulation in your body. With all the stuff (food, stress, toxins, pollutants, etc) that comes into our bodies without our awareness, you can imagine this poor organ working 24/7. Imagine this: If your liver is congested, it’s like having blood the quality of sewer sludge, instead of oxygenated blood full of nutrients. Its sister organ, the gall bladder, sits behind the liver and is responsible, among other things, for the breakdown of fats. If your gall bladder is congested, bile starts to build, and possible gallstones can result. Also, the backup of gall bladder energy may result in physical tension, especially in the shoulders and head (headaches included), hips and thighs, as well as mental tension.
Here’s how you can get a great kick-start to the spring, by nurturing these two vital organs:
The Liver (do the following for 5 days)
Flushing the Liver – Do first thing in the morning: Blend the juice of one lemon, 1 T. olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic (or ½ inch piece of ginger root), with ¼ cup water. Allow yourself to rest for half an hour after drinking, then drink the following tea:
Relaxing the Liver – Drink about a half hour after flushing the liver: Simmer together the following ingredients for 15 minutes: 2 tsp. fennel, anise, or fenugreek seed with 2 cups water. Let the tea sit for 15 minutes, then strain and drink it. The tea relaxes the liver and helps relieve gas in the digestion system. Eat a light breakfast of fruit afterwards.
Stimulating the Liver – Do a half hour before dinner: Steep ½ tsp. of nutmeg in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes. Add 2 drops of pure vanilla extract. This will stimulate the pancreatic enzymes to help restore and rebuild the liver.
The Gall Bladder (do the following for 3 days)
Supporting the Gall Bladder – While fasting for 3 days after the above liver remedies, do the following during the morning, noon, and night-time before bed: Take 1 tsp. of extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, followed by 1 tsp. of fresh lemon juice. For 3 days, you will only be consuming juices combining fresh greens blended with apple juice (with an equal amount of pure water) while you take the olive oil/lemon juice tonics.
There is a stronger flush you can do for a more thorough cleansing, especially if you suspect you may have gallstones (if you’ve eaten fatty foods in the past or have a tendency to not metabolize fats very well, this flush might be good for you). It involves increased amounts of olive oil, apple juice, and lemon juice. However, it’s best that you get checked by a certified health practitioner before beginning such a flush, as you want to make sure your current condition can handle such a flush. If you get the go-ahead, feel free to email my assistant, Daniella at Daniella@afemininefeast.com, with the title “Gall Bladder Flush”, and she will send you the instructions.
Throughout the day, and especially as a night-cap before you go to bed, drinking dandelion tea is also very helpful. Dandelion root is a great spring healer and is a good liver tonic. Simmer 6 T. of dried dandelion root in 4 cups of pure water, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Strain the dandelion leaves and return the tea to the pot and simmer for another 20 minutes. Strain the tea again and drink. Be sure to drink this tea separate from the apple juice mixture above (at least an hour apart from the apple juice mixture).
In the meantime, for the spring, focus on eating fresh produce ripe for the season (varies depending on where you live). The more colors…the better. Fruits like avocado, jicama, oranges, strawberries, and grapefruit are wonderful, as well as vegetables like artichoke, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, dandelion greens, green peas, leafy greens, nettle, rhubarb, sprouts, and watercress. The spring is all about cleansing and re-emerging, and foods from the plant kingdom provides body-building calories, minerals, and vitamins crucial for supporting your metabolism which will help lighten the body, preparing for the warmer days of summer. If you must eat grains, the best ones are quinoa, millet, and rye. Barley, and wheat is okay (especially if sprouted) if you’re not gluten sensitive.
After you complete the cleansing process, gradually add in other foods that are part of your regular diet (this is your chance to minimize or eliminate the sugar, fatty and processed foods, as well as caffeine and excessive alcohol). Continue eating plenty of WHOLE foods (produce), drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day, and get plenty of sleep so that your rejuvenation process continues to nourish you as your bloom yourself into this new season.