How to Relieve Liver Qi Stagnation with Diet
When patients come into my treatment room feeling “wounded” and “stressed,” I check the status of the liver organ and associated energy channel or meridian Before we delve into how to calm liver qi stagnation with diet, let’s start with a little exploration of the role of the liver in Chinese medicine.
The liver organ and channel oversee the flow of energy throughout the body. We feel emotionally balanced and calm yet energetic when Liver Qi flows freely.
When Liver Qi stagnates and energy gets stuck, we experience mental and physical distress. Over time, this stagnant Liver Qi also affects the ability of the Spleen and Stomach to process food properly, resulting in digestive upset. Acupuncturists refer to this state of imbalance as the liver invading or overacting the spleen and stomach.
What is Liver Qi Stagnation?
Stagnation of Liver Qi results primarily from anger, repressed feelings or resentments, and other emotional disturbances, especially when they are extreme or prolonged. Anger is the emotion associated with the liver in Chinese medicine, just as worry and overthinking are related to the spleen.
What are the signs of Liver Qi stagnation?
- Distension of the upper (epigastric) or lower (abdominal) belly area.
- Pain in the lower ribs (hypogastrium)
- Depression, bad mood, melancholy
- Anger or frustration
- Nausea, vomiting
- Little appetite
- Acid reflux, GERD
- Irregular and/or painful periods (menstruation)
- PMS: including breast tenderness and premenstrual tension and irritability
Common Causes of Liver Qi Stagnation
Emotional distress and problems with our mental state are the main cause of Liver Qi stagnation. Prolonged inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle also contribute to stagnation of Liver Qi.
How to Calm Liver Qi Stagnation with Your Diet
how you eat
- Be present while you eat. Breathe, relax and enjoy or at least experience every bite.
- chew well
- Enjoy a short, leisurely walk after meals.
- Eat organic whenever possible. Preservatives, additives, and artificial colors and flavors disrupt the free flow of Liver Qi.
- Include specific foods that move Qi stagnation.
What do you eat
In his book, Chinese System of Prevention and Remedies of Food Care, Henry C. Lu recommends adding Qi-moving foods to the diet in cases of Liver Qi stagnation. It offers the following examples:
- orange peel
- green mint
- star anise
- Sweet basil
Some other options include:
- Mustard leaves
- Great sprouts
Together, the Liver Organ, Liver Qi, and Liver Channel play a vital role in our health. A happy liver system is smooth, stores blood and safeguards the free flow of qi throughout the body.
The tendons or tendons and ligaments are controlled by the liver. When the liver is healthy, the nails are strong and the eyes see clearly and appear bright.
Best Diet for Liver Qi Stagnation:
Because of the intimate connection between the liver and spleen, the best liver diet also supports the spleen and stomach. Warm, moist, easy-to-digest meals like congee, porridge, and soup support the spleen. Adding foods that move stagnant Liver Qi will help maintain or restore the free-flowing nature of Liver Qi.
For Liver Qi stagnation acting on the spleen and stomach, or epigastric pain Qi stagnation, Bob Flaws, in Jook’s bookrecommends a traditional congee called Xing Qi Jian Wei Zhou o Move the Qi and fortify the stomach congee. This recipe is made from polished rice, draw finger citron fruit / hand of Buddha (Fo Shou), mandarin peel (Chen Pi), ccardamom seed (Sha Ren)and bitter orange (Zhi Qiao).
Some examples of Breakfast Cure flavors that contain foods to move Liver Qi stagnation include:
Apple Cinnamon: nutmeg, lemon peel
Kitchari: fennel, carrots, ginger, black pepper, turmeric
Masala Chai Spice: cardamom, fennel, ginger, pepper
Oregon Blueberry: Lemon Peel, Ginger
Garnish: cardamom, ginger
Romano Bean Dream: garlic, lemon peel
Triple Berry: Sprouted brown rice
Tropical paradise: ginger, star anise
Honor and gratitude for a great teacher and highly valued teachings
This year we lost one of our great teachers of Chinese medicine and Chinese dietary therapy with the loss of the Honorable Henry C. Lu.
May his work and memory continue to inspire healthy and healing dietary choices for people around the world. Thank you Dr. Lu, for broadening and deepening my understanding of wise food choices.