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TCM Articles  

How to Nourish your Liver this Spring

Date Published: 26 Aug, 2020

Here at Haynes Acupuncture Gold Coast we like to think, eat and live by the seasons. With the arrival of Spring, we look at how we can best support our bodies. In Chinese medicine, Liver is the Yin organ and the Gallbladder is the Yang organ. Often there is an increase in irritability, anxiety and depression throughout spring and with anger being the emotion of the liver, it is wise to do what we can to nourish it and therefore avoid qi stagnation!

Emotions such as anger or rage seriously impact the flow of qi and can easily block or obstruct qi flow. Protracted unresolved obstructions lead to development of internal heat such as heated emotions.

The sour flavor associated with the liver is astringent and contracting, which gathers fluids and protects the blood. Unhealthy eating habits, strong emotions such as aggression, anger and rage, as well as a hectic and stressful lifestyle produce liver heat and impair liver function.

What do we eat?

Foods that get the energy up and moving and support the liver remove heat and stagnation from the liver, whilst supporting the spleen.

In general, foods that are good for spring are warm ascending sweet foods. In early spring, try cabbage, sweet potato, carrot and beetroot. As the weather changes, move to mint, sweet rice, shiitake mushrooms, peas, sunflower seeds, pine nuts and in late spring, cherries.

Gently warming and pungent foods are particularly good for spring. These include fennel, oregano, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf, grains, legumes and seeds. Pungent flavored foods stimulate circulation of qi and blood, moving energy up and out.

AvoidAlcohol, coffee, drugs, food colouring, preservatives, heavily spiced foods, sugar
FruitPlums, rhubarb, lemons, apples, mangoes, mulberry fruit, lychees, grapes
VegetablesWater chestnuts, spinach, celery, beets, red cabbage, carrots, fennel
GrainsSpelt, barley, wheat, short grain rice,
Nuts and SeedsSesame, sunflower seeds,
FishOysters, mussels, octopus
MeatPoultry, poultry liver, beef, beef stock, beef liver, veal liver, lamb liver, duck


What else can we do to stay vital this Spring?

  • Keep moving! Your liver loves movement, so get out in this beautiful weather for a walk!
  • Spring clean! We know, so cliché, but it allows the new to come in, releasing the old, creating harmony & allowing fresh starts, just as nature intended!
  • Forgiveness! Whilst we’re letting go of things and clearing things out, try it emotionally too. Resentment and anger feeds into the liver and causes damage and qi stagnation.


Kastner, J., 2004, Chinese Nutrition Therapy – Dietetics in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Goerg Thiem Verlag, New York

Wong, L., Knapsey, K., 2002, Food for the Seasons – Eat Well and Stay Healthy the Traditional Chinese Way, Red Dog, Australia

If you are wanting to find out how we can help you, an initial consultation will determine your own personal treatment plan and set you on a path back to health, please give us a call on (07) 5531 6461 or email us on

© Haynes Acupuncture Gold Coast 2020

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