To balance the organ systems at the changes of season, I have developed a series of herbal formulas to administer to my patients. At the time of the Chinese/lunar new year, during the seasonal node of Spring Begins, I am recommending to patients that they utilize the formula for spring / wood-element / Liver-Gall Bladder which I call Green Bird. One bottle will last for two weeks and is available upon request from the pharmacy at my office.
Green Bird is a Chinese herbal formula designed to strengthen the Liver and balance the wood element. The ingredients promote healthy functioning of the Liver by regulating the flow of qi, blood, digestion and emotion. The formula also acts to relax the tendons and connective tissue, and move stagnation in the chest, abdomen, and flanks. It can be used to treat fatigue, chronic pains, migrating or changing symptoms, lack of flexibility, difficulty in planning and completion, stagnant anger, and self-consciousness that arises from low self-esteem. It facilitates the cultivation of benevolence that arises when rigid boundaries between the self and the outer world are relaxed, allowing for unobstructed movement in life.
Balancing the Organs and Elements with the Seasons
Chinese thought marks the seasons with the subtle changes that begin 6 weeks prior to the equinoxes and solstices, the time of matured and peaked energy that marks the seasons in the West. This period is a good time to treat and balance the organs and systems of the body, which are easily disturbed by the changing conditions.
The Concept of Resonance in Chinese Medicine
Gan-ying (literally stimulus-response), or resonance, is a central concept in the practice of Chinese medicine.
It has been defined by one Chinese author as “the process by which a thing, when stimulated, responds according to the natural guidelines of the particular phases of vital energy engendered in itself and active in the situation.” This has several implications for the practice of Chinese medicine:
- Each part of the body is a holograph in correspondence with other body systems and with the environment.
- Proper treatment requires consideration of all aspects of the illness, the individual, and the environment.
- What arises from an illness is part of what caused it.
- Things that occur in relation to one another are causal to one another.
- What we encounter elicits what is already inherent within us.
- Health implies the capacity for spontaneous response to life.
Radix Albus Paeoniae Lactifloriae – Bai Shao – White Peony Root Peony is the main herb in Chinese medicine for softening the Liver. It relaxes spasm and tightness anywhere in the body, and is a main herb for pain. It nourishes the blood and regulates menstruation, constrains yin and stops sweating, soothes the liver and stops pain, levels and subdues liver yang. It is bitter, sour, and slightly cold, and enters the Liver and Spleen meridians.
Rhizoma Cyperi Rotundi – Xiang Fu – Nut Grass Rhizome Cyperus is the primary herb in Chinese medicine for moving the qi. It treats the blood of the qi, and is therefore critical in gynecology. The quality of stagnation it addresses is irritability. It courses the Liver and rectifies the qi, regulates the menses and stops pain. It is acrid, slightly bitter, slightly sweet, and level, and enters the Liver and Triple Heater meridians.
Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae Viride – Qing Pi – Green Tangerine Peel Green tangerine is for Liver stagnation manifesting as physical and emotional tightness, and frustration. Its main site of action is the chest and ribs. It courses the Liver and breaks the qi, disperses accumulations and transforms stagnant food. It is bitter, acrid, and warm, and enters the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians.
Radix Liguistici Wallichii – Chuan Xiong – Szechuan Lovage Root Liguisticum is a primary blood moving herb, particularly in gynecology. It moves the qi of the blood, and treats pain, itching and headaches. It quickens the blood and moves the qi, dispels wind and stops pain. It is acrid and warm, and enters the Liver, Gall Bladder and Pericardium meridians.
Tuber Curcumae – Yu Jin – Turmeric Tuber Curcuma is a blood moving herb used for confusion, anxiety, and agitation from hot phlegm and Liver stagnation. It quickens the blood and stops pain, moves the qi and resolves depression, cools the blood and clears the Heart, and disinhibits the Gall Bladder. It is acrid, bitter, and cold, and enters the Heart, Liver and Gall Bladder meridians.
Radix Bupleuri – Chai Hu – Bupleurum Root Bupleurum is the only herb that specifically relaxes a constrained Liver. It treats Liver congestion, and is a main herb in Chinese medicine. It resolves the exterior and abates heat, courses the Liver and resolves depression, and upbears and lifts the yang qi. It is bitter, acrid, and slightly cold, and enters the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians.
Fructus Citri Aurantii – Zhi Ke – Bitter Orange This mildly acting herb treats focal distension and is useful for regulating digestion. It addresses mental repetition and stagnant boundaries, both of which lead to frustration. It moves the qi, loosens the middle, and eliminates distension. It is bitter, acrid, and slightly cold, and enters the Spleen and Stomach meridians.
Radix Auklandiae Lappae – Mu Xiang – Costus Root This herb treats epigastric pain. On an emotional level, it is used for stagnant thoughts and misery. It moves the qi, rectifies the middle, and stops pain. It is acrid, bitter, and warm, and enters the Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine and Gall Bladder meridians.
Mix-fried radix Glycyrrhizae – Zhi Gan Cao – Honey Toasted Licorice Root Licorice is the most commonly herb used in Chinese medicine. It blends the actions of herbs that it is mixed with, and delivers them to all 12 meridians. It supplements the Spleen and boosts the qi, relaxes cramping and stops pain, and regulates and harmonizes other medicinals’ natures. It is sweet and level, and enters the Heart, Lung, Spleen and Stomach meridians.
Fructus Evodiae Rutecarpae – Wu Zhu Yu – Evodia Fruit Evodia is one of the only herbs used to treat cold in the Liver meridian. Because of this capability, it is used for frozen anger. It scatters cold, dries dampness, courses the Liver, downbears counterflow, and stops pain. It is acrid, bitter, and hot, and enters the Liver, Spleen and Stomach meridians.