Spring is right around the corner (March 20th). Spring brings us new life. Plants and flowers begin to sprout, and the wildlife is more alive and active after its winter slumber. People tend to feel more optimistic and joyful in the spring. It is the season Chinese medicine associates with the wood element.
The wood element is associated with new life and growth. It is also associated with the liver and gallbladder. These organs are the yin and yang to one another. They rely upon each other and balance one another. They store our emotions of irritability, depression and anger.
Springtime is a great time to turn your attention to the liver. The liver tends to be more susceptible to imbalance in the spring, so it is a really good time to focus on supporting the liver and assist it with its ability to carry out its natural detoxification responsibilities.
The color green is beneficial to supporting the liver’s detoxification function. Adding green foods to your diet will greatly improve the function of the liver and help keep the emotions associated with it in balance. You can also stimulate the liver’s ability to detox by adding lemon slices to your drinking water, or use vinegar and oil as a salad dressing. Sauerkraut and kombucha are also great for supporting the liver.
Herbs can also be helpful in supporting the liver. The best herbs for the liver are milk thistle. I like to call milk thistle a hug for the liver. It’s a great anti-inflammatory for the liver and may help protect liver cells from damage. Turmeric is also of great benefit to the liver. It aides the liver in flushing toxins, and helps to increase bile, making the liver’s job easier.
My favorite herb for the liver is dandelion. Its root, flower, and leaves all have benefits for the liver. Like turmeric, dandelion root helps the liver produce more bile, and assists in eliminating toxins. Dandelion is also really great for the immune system. I love making a salad with dandelion greens massaged with a little vinegar and oil. My favorite way to get my dandelion, however, is a dandelion root coffee latte. There are several brands I like. Look for them at your natural foods grocer.
Green Soup Recipe
1 bunch chard spinach
1 bunch spinach
4 green onions, sliced, white and green parts
1 teaspoon mineral sea salt, plus more to taste
2 1/2 cups broth of choice (I use bone broth because it has so many benefits)
1 medium Yukon Gold potato
1 medium yellow onion
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 15-oz can of coconut milk
1/2 cup roasted kale for garnish
Wash the greens thoroughly, trim off their stems, and slice the leaves. Combine the chard spinach, and green onions in a large soup pot with the broth. Add salt. Peel the potato and cut it into small pieces, and add it to the pot. Bring the broth to a boil, turn down the flame to low, cover the pot, and let the soup simmer for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, chop the onion, heat the ghee in a skillet, and cook the onion until soft and caramelized. Add some salt to the onion while it cooks. Stay with it, don’t let it burn. Add the garlic at the end.
Add the onion and garlic mixture to the soup and simmer for 10 more minutes.
Add the soup to a blender in batches and puree with the coconut milk, or use an immersion blender. Don’t over blend or the potatoes will make it gummy.
Return the soup to the pot, bring it back to a simmer, and taste. Add a pitch more salt if needed, grind in a little black pepper, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir well and taste again.
Serve with a garnish of ghee and roasted kale.