Feeling frustrated and fatigued as the sunshine arrives? You’re not alone! Here’s why simple changes can reduce these classic Spring symptoms of what Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) calls “Liver Qi Stagnation.”

Spring unlocks a time of rebirth and renewal: a shedding of the old to make space for the new. In the same way you might be spring cleaning around the house, your body is doing the same! In Chinese Medicine, the “Wood” element (and its yin/yang organs, the Liver and Gallbladder) governs springtime. Just as Wood energy in nature readies plants to shoot upwards and bloom, that transition is happening inside of us, too. This element helps us move outward and get things done, but can make us feel blocked and create frustrating symptoms if Liver Qi Stagnation is present after the heavy, damp winter.

In Western terms, this is when our liver detox pathways (especially phase two) need the most support from diet and herbs.


  • Emotionally, you may be feeling irritated: so much potential is brewing, but it’s like you’re in a pressure cooker!- Physically, you may be feeling extra tight: experiencing aches and pains.
  • Hormonally, your PMS may be worse this month: the Liver meridian’s main role is movement — directing the flow of Qi and hormones throughout the body. When Liver Qi Stagnation is unaddressed, heat builds up leading to “Liver Yang Rising,” which can manifest as feeling frantic + uncontainable emotions, as well as physical “heat” and inflammation like increased pain or breast tenderness. Additionally, you may experience:

Additionally, you may experience:

  • An uptick in indigestion, bloating and constipation
  • Acne and skin blemish flares out of nowhere
  • Allergy symptoms (the liver excretes histamine)


  1. Move your body: movement keeps Qi flowing and is the best instant strategy. walking and stretching go a long way!
  2. Lean on herbs: for liver health, herbalists love “hepatic” bitters, a well-researched class of detox-promoting plants that help you eliminate excess hormones, histamine and environmental toxins via bile. You’ll find hepatic herbs like Milk Thistle and Oregon Grape Root in our Liver Juice formula.
  3. Eat leafy greens: in TCM, green is the color of spring and supports the liver. Up the ante on greens in your diet, especially the bitter-tasting greens — think dandelion greens, spinach, kale, and broccoli rabe. Bonus if they’re cooked, as they’re easier to digest!
  4. Stretch it out: key during this time to keep muscles and fascia from holding tension (and stuck emotions).
  5. Side twists: this specific stretch, or anything that opens the ribs and hips, will help liver Qi flow more freely and relieve emotional frustration.
  6. Clean out a closet: energetically, it matters; we are deeply intertwined with our home spaces.
  7. Keep it moving: make sure you’re going to the bathroom regularly – constipation is a common symptom of liver Qi stagnation and Spring stress, and it’s a vicious cycle as it often makes other symptoms (like irritability and poor sleep) worse. mix in a spoonful of ground flax + slippery elm powder into your oatmeal in the morning for mucilage and fiber.
  8. For physical tension: Rosehip may be a Western herb, but its action (when translated into the lens of TCM) has a dispersing quality that moves stuck liver Qi to help resolve emotional frustration, physical stiffness, menstrual cramps and even pain. Our Rosehip Relief formula has been a new spring go-to!

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *