What is Liver Qi Anyway?
Continuing my discussion from last week on Liver health. I wanted to go a little deeper in Qi and The Liver according to TCM, for those of you wondering what the heck I am even talking about.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, conceives of the human body as a set of inter-related systems which work together in harmony. These pathways are called channels. There are 12 in total and the Liver meridian included. Problems in one part of the body may be the result of injury to a different part of the body -- or to the flow of energy (qi) through the entire body. These channels are all inter-related and can help each other out when one is in excess or deficient. Traditional Chinese treatment of disorders involves the use of complex prescriptions made up of multiple herbs and acupuncture points.
What Is Qi?
In Chinese philosophy, qi is the life force that flows through all things. Everything in the universe derives from qi. When qi flows properly, all things are in balance and function correctly; when qi is blocked, problems arise. Western medicine calls this homeostasis.
Within the human body Chinese Medicine states that if qi flows through the organs it will then maintain health and balance. Simply Qi is energy and it is thought to provide the energy needed for our bodies to function, support body temperature, maintain the structure and strength of our organs, and keep our metabolism constant. In order to do all of these things properly, qi must flow through our bodies. Where there are blockages and qi cannot flow, we experience health problems.
What Is Liver Qi Stagnation?
Liver qi can stagnate (blocked) as a result of stress or anxiety. Liver qi is responsible for the free flow of qi within the body. Liver stores the blood and when Liver qi is stagnant blood becomes stagnant. This can then create a different array of problems, many which relate to the female reproductive system. (Ladies this means your period! Painful periods etc. Refer to my blog on Irregular periods for more information). Other symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Frustrated easily
- Inappropriate anger
- Sensation of a lump in throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Bitter taste in mouth
- Excessive sleep
-Abdominal pain and discomfort
-Stomachache that improves after massage
-Stomachache that worsens with anger
-PMS with irritability or swollen breasts
- Irregular or painful periods
-Churning sensation in stomach.
Mastitis Anxiety Depression Irregular menses Nervous and emotional disorders
Foods Used to Treat Liver Qi Stagnation
These are just some of the foods that are believed to help liver qi stagnation:
Garlic Turmeric Kumquat Cherry Chicken Coconut meat Date Tofu Mustard seed Squash Sweet potato Red and black date Rice Caraway seed Spearmint Mushroom Oregano Red bean Sweet basil Saffron
Taking care of your Liver is very important to your overall health. Diet therapy is an easy way to soothe Liver qi at home but get in touch with an TCM practitioner to assist with acupuncture and herbal treatments.
Let your Liver Qi Flow!