I've noticed that our culture is not very focused on the liver. Where is it? Most don’t even know. What does it do? Why do we care?
When I was living in France during my junior year of high school, I was aware of how many folks would bring up their liver in casual conversation. Holding it and commenting on it frequently in relation to food, drink, emotions, and more.
Spring is the season that belongs to the Liver and Gallbladder, or the Wood element in Chinese medicine.
A time of rebirth, new beginnings, and emerging from the hibernation of winter. Many people enjoy waking up their system with some type of Liver cleanse each spring.
If you follow my writing, you know that I have strong opinions about cleansing. You can read about them here. The short story is that I usually prefer simple, gentle, easy cleansing that does not scour and deplete the body and especially the organs of digestion, absorption and elimination.
I teach regularly about the wisdom and benefits of congee as a hydrating cleanse for the intestines, excellent for constipation. Read about it here.
Today, I want to talk about one of my favorite congee ingredients, blueberries!
Gentle, hydrating, easy to eat and digest, blueberries are a natural companion for a little spring cleaning for your Liver.
Whether you pop delicious blueberries into your mouth whole, in a smoothie, in your congee, or even in your pancakes covered with maple syrup, blueberries are a gentle, cleansing, superfood that's easy to love.
Among the many amazing qualities of blueberries are the Chinese medicinal food energetics of these amazing treats.
Most people already know about the powerful antioxidants, low sugar, high vitamins and minerals that make blueberries popular in healthy meals and snacks. But most people here in the West are unfamiliar with the energetic effects blueberries have on the Liver and its associated meridian or energy channel.
Blueberries benefit the Liver, and nourish Yin and Blood, which is soothing for the Liver in itself. A powerful internal pathway connects the eyes to the Liver, which allows acupuncturists to treat and benefit the eyes and vision via the Liver.
Tangled Up in Blueberry:
I created Tangled Up in Blueberry, one of the original Breakfast Cure recipes, to benefit the Liver.
Together the ingredients do just that, benefit the Liver, nourish Yin and Blood, and calm and soothe the Liver Qi. By also nourishing the Heart Yin, this recipe helps relax the Liver by supporting a calm Heart and mind, known as calming Shen.
A relaxed Shen and a Liver and Heart nourished with ample blood supply allows for a deep and restful sleep.
Tangled up in Blueberry is a perfect early spring cleanse. It's a warm, soothing wake up call for the digestion that also balances the Liver and calms the mind.
Soothing Liver Qi is a wonderful affect for your food to have on you when you eat it. Stagnation of Liver Qi produces all the same symptoms of PMS, so I’m pretty sure we all want to keep our Liver Qi moving smoothly! Feeling a little irritable, sluggish, bloated, or constipated? Liver Qi stagnation could be at the root.
In fact, Liver Qi stagnation happens with stress. Tension spills over to the Spleen and Stomach thus compromising digestion and absorption. Relaxation while eating is critical because we create energy out of the food we eat and the air we breathe. With Liver constriction, we breathe less deeply and our digestive juices are out of balance. So, moving Liver Qi with a little movement of the body and by eating foods that soothe the Liver, you are benefiting digestion and energy too.
Eating blueberries helps Build Liver Blood which will alleviate symptoms of Liver Blood deficiency such as:
Spring is a time of planning and decision making, the domain of the Liver and Gallbladder respectively. So, what better medicine for the planning, deciding brain than a little dose of blueberries to soothe your Liver and calm your Heart and mind?
Dig in today and enjoy knowing the benefits of your breakfast!
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