Change is Good (For You)
New Season, New Herbs
Traditional Chinese Medicine revolves around seasonal change and understanding our body’s relationship to nature. In the Pacific Northwest, we are fortunate enough to live in a place with gorgeous natural surroundings. While the PNW rain adds a funny twist to our thinking on seasonality--will it ever stop raining?--we do have a Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
At Golden Hour, seasonal change is most prominently observed with our change of poultice herbs and tea. Our herbs for Spring, selected by our practitioner Shinichi Moriyama, include:
Gua lou shi (Trichosanthes fruit): Acts predominantly on the Lungs to regulate the flow of qi in the chest and clears the lungs.
Ju hua (Chrysanthemum flower): Clears heat and soothes the Liver and Lungs. Ju hua is often used for allergies affecting the eyes.
Gui Zhi (Cinnamon twig): Harmonizes the body’s energies and encourages a strong immune system. It can release and harmonize the muscles for pain relief and improves circulation.
Bai shao (Peony root): Softens and soothes Wood energy while nourishing the blood. It can relax physical and emotional tension to relieve pain and promote wellbeing.
According to the Five Elements Theory in TCM, we’re now in the element of Wood and our goals are to nurture the Liver and Gallbladder. What does this mean? Well, summing it up simply, GH practitioner Sara Thomas broke it down for us. It must be noted that this information is general, intended to broaden understanding of TCM, and in no way a prognosis for your own health.
What is the Wood element? The Wood element is one of the Five Elements in TCM. Each element is representative of a season and are as follows: Fire (Summer), Earth (Late Summer), Metal (Autumn), Water (Winter), and Wood (Spring).
In TCM, each season and element have are associated with organ systems. It is worth noting that while the organ systems have some interesting connections to the anatomical organs, it is the overall energy of the organs that is the focus.
In the spirit of Spring, Wood energy is characteristic by rebirth, growth, and expansion. We see the Wood element in nature as we observe flower buds turn to blossoms, pushing aside the cold of Winter to embrace the warmth of the sun. Wood element in balance is strong and rooted, which allows its expansion. Wood is flexible and supple so it may move and dance with the breezy Spring wind. When Wood element is out of balance, it may be dry, brittle, and inflexible. When the Wood energy’s determined expansion is blocked, frustration may arise in the body.
Why does the Wood element focus on the Liver and Gallbladder? As mentioned above, seasons in TCM focus on specific organs. The Spring/Wood element is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder. These are the “Wood organs.” They correlate to the tendons, eyes, emotions, smooth energy flow, sexuality, drive, decisions, and planning.
Wood energy out of balance may present tightness in the body, stress, indecisiveness, impatience, dry red or teary eyes. In the transitional season of Spring, the relationship between Wood and the Metal respiratory system can manifest in the respiratory and immune systems as allergies and colds.
Our internal external approach to wellness also necessitates a fitting tea for the season as well. This spring we’re focusing on a simple, fresh tea of chrysanthemum flower and goji berries. This is served before and after every treatment.