“Adapting itself to obstacles and bending around them, Wood in the earth grows upward without haste and without rest. Thus too the superior man is devoted in the character and never pauses in his progress.” – Nei Jing (475-221 B.C.)
We still are experiencing the remnants of the Water energy of Winter so though traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) says we have entered the energetic season of Spring, the new energy of the Wood element, as of February 5, it's a bit challenging to think Spring right now, but let's give it a whirl!
As we've said, in TCM the element represented by Spring is Wood. To live in balance with the 5-Element Theory of TCM and indeed, to live in balance with nature of which we are an inherent part, we’ll want to embrace the following attributes, characteristics and specific organ activity for the Wood element and Spring season.
If you are affected by liver problems (the organs associated with Spring are liver and gall bladder), it’s a sign your body may be suffering from insufficient or lack of Wood chi. You can strengthen your Wood chi by consuming more Wood element foods which tend to be sour in taste (sour is the taste for the Wood element). Sour foods facilitate clearing an overburdened liver.
Wood element foods act as astringents and help the blood to circulate, your energy to flow, and emotions to move more elegantly through you. Eating fresh greens during this season naturally cleanses the body of physical and emotional impediments.
Wood element foods are cooling and contracting and prevent leakage of body fluids. If you’ve been indulging in a rich, greasy diet, you’ll want to switch to the Wood element foods at this time.
Check out column two for an exhaustive list of foods for Wood.
Additionally, there are some herbs and spices we can use in springtime food prep that have a sour taste: dill, sour jujube fruit, and hawthorn berry.
Certain pungent and sweet foods such as scallion, garlic, cinnamon, fennel and ginger tend to have an expansive, rising quality. They are very nice to add to springtime meals and will help you resist colds and allergies.
As always, avoid or reduce consumption of foods and drinks that have little redeeming value for the body such as deep fried foods, oil, fat (aside from the more beneficial oils and fat content derived from olive, avocado and coconut), salty foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and sweets.
While we slow cooked our food in Winter by preparing stews and hearty soups, best cooking methods for the Spring energetic season are sauté, stir fry, light simmer, blanch, quick boil, pickle, and marinate.
At this time of year, our diet should be the lightest to enable our systems to cleanse and strengthen the body, mind and spirit.
Check out PHYTO5's Wood element skincare line to address imbalance in the skin such as oiliness, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, and issues of vital energy circulation.
Best Foods for Wood Element (in alphabetical order)
long string beans
sour green apples
sour green star fruit
Nguyen, Phil N. Feng Shui for the Curious and Serious. New Jersey: Xlibris Corporation, 2008. Print.
Thunderhawk, Denise, L. Ac. The 5-Element Guide to Healing with Whole Foods. N.p.: Lulu, 2016. Print.