Chinese Medicine and liver

The Liver and Detoxification

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is almost difficult to talk about and analyse physical symptoms that any patient presents without intertwining them with emotions. The seven main emotions fundamental to understanding TCM are joy, anger, worry, thought, sorrow, fear, and fright and all these have a particular organ that they are intimately connected to.

Today we focus more on the liver and how it is perceived from a Traditional Chinese perspective. We look at its main function in the human body as a whole, the emotions it’s associated with, and the effects of its poor function.

The liver has many functions. It works to filter toxins from the body, store energy in the form of glycogen (fat) and produce biochemicals necessary for digestion. One of the primary functions of the liver is to regulate the movement of blood and energy “qi” in the body which is essential for all other organs and also to ensure the proper functioning of the body as a whole.

The liver is the organ most affected by emotions and excess stress, alongside its core partner, the gallbladder. It is regarded as the most important organ in the human body as a whole. The main emotions that are affected by the liver include stress, anger, unexpressed emotion, and irritability.

Here is a detailed graphic of some of the functions of the liver.  

Functions of the liver

The liver also plays a fantastic role when it comes to managing emotions, and in fact, one of its essential needs is for feelings to flow and not become stuck. It is when emotions become stuck that we start manifesting physical symptoms.

We now know that the chemicals produced by any emotion only take up to 90 seconds to flow throughout the body – in other words, acknowledging the feelings for 90 seconds, genuinely feeling them, puts us in a position to choose to step out of those feelings – or want to repeat the chemical cycle, placing an additional burden on the liver.

In TCM, it is believed that excessive exposure to the primary emotions as identified by TCM, can affect their respective organs immensely. Once you become emotional, bear in mind that there is a body organ that will be taking a strain physically and vice versa. Below is an exciting picture presenting the different organs in the body and the emotions they are associated with.

In-depth, this also helps in drafting an “ideal and most suitable protocol” aiming to help you treat the root cause of any symptoms you might experience. We have found it essential to address both the physical symptoms and the underlying emotions

Chinese Medicine and liver

In today’s fast-paced society, liver “qi” stagnation, in particular, is a common imbalance found in individuals due to difficulties in juggling between work and private life. When the liver becomes imbalanced, there are physical and emotional symptoms that become evident.

Physical symptoms represented by emotions that the human body manifests. At the practice, we offer quite a few remedies that you might also consider adopting to treat liver imbalances. These include acupuncture, supplements, exercise, and a conscious restructuring of the diet. Here are the physical and emotional symptoms when the liver is out of balance :

Liver and TCM symptoms

Acupuncture
The first tool we most often use in treating any ailment in TCM is the identification and activation of acupuncture points that promote blood and energy flow in the body. Through acupuncture, the most effective points of the liver and the gallbladder are used to stimulate and promote health and well-being as well as liver detoxification. As the liver is an organ of detoxification and elimination, it is vitally important that it is clear and functioning as well as it can.

As presented in the picture below, try to manipulate the Liv. 3 points and see if it is sensitive. If there is sensitivity in this area, there could be a chance that your liver “qi” might be out of balance.

LIV3 Acupuncture point
To promote the healing process, there are some homeopathic remedies and supplements that you can include in your first aid kit which simultaneously help improve the function, restore the liver balance, and promote its general well-being.
Foods to help liver

The most essential and often sidelined vegetables are cruciferous vegetables, which are great for liver health. They are full of phytonutrients, carotenoids, and flavonoids that help neutralize toxins. Cruciferous vegetables include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and mustard greens, amongst others. They have a characteristic bitter taste and pungent aroma.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds that are broken down into metabolites that trigger specific enzymatic reactions helping to detoxify carcinogens and heavy metals from the blood and tissues. They also aid in digestion. Broccoli is a powerhouse cruciferous vegetable that is a good source of vitamin E.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and essential antioxidant for the liver. Studies have shown that consuming broccoli reduces the development of fatty liver disease and can protect against the development of liver cancer.

Remember, through being conscious about emotions that you are subject to, you are taking care of your body as a whole and promoting healthy life in every organ that makes you whole. We are here to make your health journey the absolute easier one. Through my Pulse diagnosis, which is an incredible stool that l use to determine any imbalances in the body, l can put my finger on what needs to be treated in the body when you are not well.

Curious to know what imbalances you could have in your body, click below for an appointment

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