How do we care for our liver, and why is it so important? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our bodies are ruled by our liver and gallbladder: two paired organs that are responsible for cleaning up our body. Just like nature cleanses itself in order to re-bloom, so too do our bodies, and this is all done by these two organs that are responsible for everything from digestion, to hormonal regulation, skin health, and beyond.
Your liver rules detoxification! Its main responsibility is to detoxify pharmaceutical drugs, alcoholic beverages, pesticides and herbicides, and all chemicals ranging from household cleaning products to beauty products out of our system. Its job is huge, and because of our on-going exposure to these toxins, and as such, we need to support it in order for it to work as effectively as possible. A liver that has been overburdened by toxic exposure leads to symptoms such as:
- Heavy or light periods
- Irritability and anger
- Dry skin, hair, and nails
- Blurred vision
- Digestive issues, like heartburn, loose stools, and indigestion
…and so much more. By supporting our liver, we can lift some of the burden caused by toxin overload. Fortunately, there are many ways we can help it out!
Here are 5 ways to detox your liver this spring:
1. Eat your liver-loving nutrients: There are tons of fruits and vegetables that your liver loves. Cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, onions, beets, dandelion greens, grapefruit, parsley and of course, lemon. These fruits and vegetables contain antioxidant nutrients your liver needs to help neutralize the toxins. This occurs through both phase I and phase II of the liver detoxification process: each phase requires different nutrients, so consuming as many as these fruits and vegetables as possible ensures that your liver is supported as best as possible. Gently cooking your vegetables will help support your stomach and spleen - read more about the middle burner diet here.
2. Drink plenty of water: Water is your life force and so necessary when it comes to detoxing. Because the toxins released from your liver get excreted into your colon, water is an essential component of the detoxification process as it helps move waste along our digestive tract out of the body. For further digestive support, herbal remedies, such as Digestive Harmony, are a tremendous addition to your routine. Water also helps to support the urinary tract system (kidneys and bladder) to remove waste as well. Especially during these warmer months, it’s important to stay hydrated and flush the toxins out!
3. Journal: Let it all out. Symptoms of a stagnant liver include irritability and anger. It can be tough to release this emotional tension, but journaling is a positive way—that won’t hurt your significant other or coworker—to do it. Release all of the negative energy within you. Start a practice: write everyday, and don’t’ stop until the frustration in your mind is entirely on paper. Don’t love writing? Enjoy our Emotional Balance tea to support your mind this spring.
4. Stimulate the acupressure point, LV 3: Acupressure is similar to acupuncture, but unlike acupuncture, it does not involve needles. Specifically, LV 3 promotes detoxification by promoting the smooth flow of Qi—the life force within us, according to TCM. In other words, this acupressure point helps our internal energy move as it should, ensuring that stagnation of our liver is flowing. This is particularly beneficial if you’re experiencing migraines, menstruation issues, irritability, and even digestive concerns. This point is located between your first and second toe, about 2 inches up your foot.
5. Get outside: Ground your energy into the earth. Seeing “green” is not only good for our eyes, which are governed by the liver, but also heightens our sense of calm and emotional well-being. Touching your bare feet on the ground—a method called “earthing”—has also been shown to support the detoxification process.
These 5 simple steps can help your body to feel lighter and brighter this summer.