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When the function of the Liver is harmonious, there is never stress or tension.

Too much fat, chemicals, intoxicants and processed food all disrupt the hundreds of intricate biochemical processes of the Liver.

The Liver is also easily damaged by chronic emotional imbalances such as greed, anger and resentment.

Unresolved emotional issues are stored physically as residues in the Liver – the release of emotional obstructions unlocks and releases these residues.  Therefore, as you improve your diet it is necessary to release stored emotions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are several Liver Syndromes (liver disorders/diseases), all of them start with Liver Stagnation and can develop into more harmful diseases.  All Liver Syndromes affect the whole body in various ways.



The Liver has many important functions, one of which is ensuring the smooth movement of Qi throughout the body.  The basic disorder of Liver Stagnation is the obstruction of the free flow of qi energy.

If the flow of energy is impeded ALL physiological processes in every organ and every part of the body is affected.

Another important function of the Liver is storing Blood.  Liver Blood is very important to nourish the sinews (muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage etc), allowing physical exercise.  The Liver also stores Blood for the Uterus, ensuring a regular menstruation.

All the major organs of the body house a psychic aspect of our selves.  The Liver houses the Hun (the Ethereal Soul).  The role of the Hun is very important to our mental and spiritual life by providing the Shen (Mind) with inspiration, creativity, life dreams and a sense of direction in life.

Signs of Liver Stagnation mark the early signs of disease.


Physical Signs:

  • Nervous system disorders
  • Allergies
  • Lumps, swellings, lump felt in the throat
  • Distended abdomen, chest or breasts
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Menstrual problems, PMS
  • Stress, neck and back tension
  • Fatigue
  • Rigid, inflexible body
  • Eye problems
  • Impure blood, skin disorders (such as acne, eczema, boils)
  • Finger or toenail disorders
  • Slow rising in the morning
  • Muscular pain
  • Tendon problems
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excessive sighing

Emotional Signs:

  • Emotional repression
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Resentment
  • Impatience
  • Edginess
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Impulsiveness
  • Emotional attachments
  • Poor judgment
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Mental rigidity
  • Negativity



Emotional repression is at the root of Liver Stagnation, resolving resentment, anger and frustration is essential.

Stagnation requires movement and exercise.  That is why so often we feel better for exercising.  Expressing yourself creatively or artistically may be required if your Hun has become stagnant.

At least 20 minutes a day of deep relaxation is essential for clearing up Liver Stagnation.

Avoid rigid rules or guidelines around diet, lifestyle and exercise.  Avoid “shoulds”.  It is essential to incorporate into your day something fun or playful, even if it means watching a funny movie.  “Laughter is the best medicine”.

Acupuncture is a very fast and effective means to freeing the energy of the Liver.



  • Foods high in saturated fats, the majority come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products
  • Large quantities of nuts and seeds
  • Hydrogenated fats, found in margarine, fast foods, commercial baked goods (donuts, cookies, crackers), processed foods, and fried foods
  • Poor quality oils, such as processed seed oils (soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil).  Choose cold pressed fresh oils.  Avocado and coconut oil can be used for cooking (some oils at high heat release free radicals that can harm the body)
  • Hot spices, alcohol, intoxicants and refined concentrated sweeteners


  • Kelp and other seaweeds
  • Vitamin B6, B12 and zinc (they are abundantly found in a varied diet of whole foods)
  • Chlorophyll foods (green vegetables, spirulina, chlorella)
  • Pungent herbs and spices; turmeric, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, marjoram, cumin, fennel, dill, ginger, black pepper, horseradish, rosemary, mints, saffron, lemon balm, all members of the onion family
  • Nuts; chestnut, pine nut
  • Vegetables; cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, watercress, turnip root, beets, taro root, mustard greens, brussel sprouts.
  • Raw Foods; sprouted grains, beans and seeds
  • Fruits; strawberry, peach, cherry


Short Term Remedy:

1 tsp of apple cider vinegar in some water with a little honey

Take while experiencing stress/tension/depression, 3 times daily

Use unrefined apple cider, brown rice, rice wine or other quality vinegars.