Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks


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By Brian Benjamin Carter

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal.

After the long sleep of winter, the color green emerges, pushing upwards from the soil. This is a time to eat less, to cleanse the body, mind and even the house with a "spring cleaning." While during winter we should have been consuming heavier foods, in the springtime we eat lighter. Like a young plant pushing upwards through the ground, the energy of springtime is yang: upwards, light, and expansive. Our foods should be raw and light.

This is a time to get outdoors, and shed the physical and emotional weight of winter. Try new things, meet new people, give birth to new aspects of yourself. Spring resonates with the Wood element in Oriental Medicine, and the organs Liver and Gallbladder. Their taste is sour, so small amounts of sour foods at this time will encourage their health...

The grapefruit is a great Spring food. It has the season's sour taste, and it is sweet. It's a great way to start the day! It aids the digestion, increases appetite during pregnancy, and helps to overcome alcohol intoxication.


Signs of a healthy wood element such as creativity, brainstorming, planning, making decisions, and maintaining a balance between flexibility and rootedness should be monitored. If there is dysfunction in any of these, there may be problems with the Liver or Gallbladder, and some sort of treatment strategy should be devised. The dysfunctional emotion of the wood element is anger. This may manifest anywhere along a continuum of irritability, frustration, anger, and depression. It may manifest in a yang way such as a flare of temper, physical violence, or in a more yin way as seen in passive aggression, manic depression, or emotional non-expression or distance (flattened affect).

Some Spring-time Guidelines:

  • Retire early
  • Arise early and go walking
  • Be open physically and emotionally
  • Exercise more frequently
  • Wear loose clothing
  • Stretch the muscles and tendons
  • Develop equanimity
  • Avoid anger, frustration, depression, and sadness

-From the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine

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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.
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