It’s Springtime! Everything is turning green, the weather is warm and windy; it’s kite flying time! We are all full of energy!! But are we? This is also the season for tree and grass pollens…. and allergies: itchy eyes, runny nose, chest congested, shallow breathing, upset stomach…….and the sneezing never seems to stop!
In Chinese medicine all of these symptoms can be an indication of a liver imbalance. The liver’s season is Spring. The typically windy weather we encounter at this time of the year affects qi flow in the liver. In the Five Element Theory the liver is related to wood, which is nourished by water, the element of the kidneys. If the kidneys are exhausted in the Wintertime, then the liver will suffer in Spring. The external opening to the liver is the eyes, so a healthy liver means healthy eyes. If allergies manifest mostly in itchy, red or watery eyes, then the liver’s function has been disrupted. However, the longer the disharmony in qi, the more organs will be involved. The liver (wood), spleen (earth) and lungs (metal) all keep each other in check. Low appetite, a runny or stuffy nose, tightness in the chest indicate that the qi flow has now become disrupted in these organs.
Acupuncture and herbal treatment will restore balance in qi and eliminate symptoms without the side effects usually associated with western antihistamines, such as drowsiness. Qigong movements and breathing exercises will help the function of the organs involved and conserve energy. Foods that are available in Spring that calm and cleanse the liver are: green and leafy vegetables, asparagus, carrots, parsley and dandelion, sprouts from mung beans and radish.
Once the acute symptoms have been alleviated a long term plan consisting of the above therapies is recommended to address the imbalance in the immune system and prevent allergies in the next Spring season.
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