So now that we know cleansing and purification has been around since ancient time and still very much applies to our current human condition, lets have a look at some of the philosophies behind a Springtime Cleanse. I a great believer that when we understand not just what we are doing but why we are doing it, we have a much greater chance of persisting and reaping the benefits.
Within the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophy, it is understood that human beings are a microcosm of the natural universe. As the natural world is governed by cycles so too are the people governed by the same cycles. Spring is seen as a time for rebirth, growth and rapid expansion. The vital energy of nature comes to the surface, breaks through bringing new growth, transformation and regeneration after the stagnancy and conservation of the cold winter months. The innate energy of spring in the environment, the energy rising is also reflected internally and the body is ripe to release and expel toxic burden stored over winter. This also provides an opportunity for emotions and deeper issues stored from the past to be released. In reality when physical cleanse is taking place this corresponding release occurs with more ease.
So from this perspective, Spring is a time to harness this rising energy in nature to throw off the old and embrace and grow the new. Renew, re-vitalize and ultimately rebirth who you are, how you are and where you choose to be going forward. So with the right intention and action at this time of year we benefit form the transformative energy of spring for overall increased health, happiness and wellbeing.
The organs associated with Springtime are the liver and the gallbladder. The liver is the primary detoxification organ of the body. When the liver becomes sluggish the blood becomes laden with toxins and the overall functioning of the body is affected. Liver cleansing in spring is recommended to prepare the system for the coming seasons after the cold winter. A spring cleanse using herbs and diet has been associated with reduced seasonal allergy symptoms.
In the TCM philosophy, the liver stores the blood and governs the smooth flow of emotions with a focal point on anger/passion, while the gall bladder stores the bile and governs one’s ability to make decisions and indecisiveness. As the cold weather recedes and the energy rises our bodies begin to shed fat stores and with that toxins enter the blood stream increasing the pressure on the liver and gallbladder. Therefore its important to support the other organs of elimination at this time to assist in the process of cleansing.
Alongside the practical cleansing of the liver, it’s also a good time to detoxify the mind and body’s toxic residue from emotional anger or indecisiveness. What do you want to let go and what do you want to grow this coming year?
The European tradition of western herbalism has a complementary philosophy around Spring Cleanse. What was known as the depurative cure was a staple for many in spring time. This involved the taking of herbal bitters to support the liver and cleanse the blood after the winter season of heavier foods, less fresh produce and less movement. It was understood that good health and energy for the coming seasons could not be built on a a foundation of toxins built up in the blood. Stimulation of the liver to support the expelling of these toxins was the tried and trusted method to cleanse the system.
So to summarise, Spring is the season of the earth waking up and rebirthing and we humans have an instinctive desire to do the same. Its a time to choose what we want to let go and what we want to grow. The liver and gall-bladder are the focal point of cleansing, however the other organs of elimination need to be supported too. And our mind and emotions are ready for the same attention. This is the time to clear the ground and plant seeds for what we want to grow this coming year physically, mentally, emotionally and environmentally. How exciting!!!