We find ourselves answering an inner urge at this time of year, the return of sunny days enjoining us to clean the windows and to let in the fresh brisk air; the riot of new growth in the garden has us hustling for our shears and trowels in preparation for the promise of the next harvest.
Physically we often do a minor review at this time – how have we fared with our new year’s resolutions?! Did they get buried in the cold dark winter nights? Here we are, emerging, feeling perhaps, blinded and sluggish in the wake of the lengthening days; restless to be out in the garden, on our bikes, actively inhabiting our bodies.
Spring is a jubilant, sap-rising time of year and just as nature responds to the tilt of the earth and longer days, so do our bodies. The Chinese know a thing or two about how energy flows in nature and consequently in our bodies. Spring is associated with the element of wood, which corresponds to the liver and gall bladder. As ‘The General’ of the organs, the liver is a power house and multi-purpose generator, a strategic Overlord of sorts. The excitement of the season serves to activate the liver and thus it is an ideal time to focus and support it by giving it a ‘Spring Clean’.
In modern culture we tend to overindulge in many practices that tend to tax our livers heavily, resulting in symptoms ranging from a lack of energy, headaches, digestive troubles, irritability, craving of stimulants, difficulties in decision-making to sleeplessness. One of the characteristics of someone with a ‘dodgy liver’ might be to make rash and sometimes dramatic decisions (or to be paralyzed and unable to act) perhaps as a sort of backlash against the general sluggishness and feeling of toxicity.
The secret of success for most ventures lies in the preparation. There is little value to be had in ‘painting over the cracks’, so too when we seek to ‘do a cleanse’ – Fasting, Diets, Cleanses – very much in vogue these days. Many novice enthusiasts undertake their new regime of juice and greens with great gusto and good intentions – unfortunately the success rate can be disappointing without a little preparation and understanding.
There are many ways to undertake a liver cleanse ranging from cutting back on alcohol, coffee and sugar to a more rigorous regime that may include fasting and the use of herbs, acupuncture or remedies.
In my practice I am occasionally asked if I can ‘give a pill’ to effect a cleanse. The answer is, “Yes and No.”
YES – There are remedies that have a proven track record in promoting the clearing of the system and there are others that are known to specifically support a damaged or struggling liver. These remedies are prescribed under particular circumstances (based on the WHOLE PERSON) and act as a safe, gentle and effective support to the individual’s best efforts to be self-regulating.
NO – It would, in my opinion, be irresponsible to prescribe a pill with the intention of cleansing an organ without tending to the person as a whole. This is where a little understanding comes in and the marriage of common sense, nutrition and lifestyle meets homoeopathy. If we are serious about a Spring clean, we need to be thorough and take into account that it would be counter-productive to stir up a lot of dust without opening the windows! To that end, remembering that the bowel, skin, kidneys and lungs are major organs of elimination, it behoves one to make sure they are functioning and supported before initiating the clear out. This again is where remedies can play a pivotal role.
Diet is also crucial part of the whole process. I will occasionally recommend a fairly simple diet guide to patients to support them in their re-calibrating process. This eating plan offers a gentler approach to cleansing than a more rigorous juice and or fasting regime.
The Liver Diet
Do this for 10 days to 2 weeks. During this time make sure you are drinking 8-10 glasses of fresh (non-fluoridated) water per day. Get plenty of sleep and spend some time outside in the sun every day. Also, if possible, have regular saunas and consider treating yourself to some reflexology or massage sessions.
Keep warm and pursue gentle exercise to keep yourself flexible. Take naps!
- salt, meat, dairy
- sugar, fats, spices
- wheat, alcohol, processed foods
- coffee, tea and tobacco
Drink warm water with lemon first thing every morning. Eat LOTS of fresh organic green vegetables, fruit, seeds, onions, garlic and rice.
Be advised that a change in diet can create very noticeable effects. Headaches, low energy, skin eruptions and irritability are not uncommon initial reactions. These will be passing symptoms, If they persist beyond the end of the 10 days consult a practitioner / homoeopath.
If you do decide to have a ‘proper clear-out’ take heart, nature is on your side and will lend her abundant energy to your endeavour. You will emerge feeling lighter with a sense of renewed vitality and clarity.