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Expert Advice-Treatment of Seasonal Disorders - Spring in Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM):
Spring Disorders
Chinese Medicine for Your Disorders in Spring Season

Spring is the season of growing and greening.  In Chinese medicine, spring is the liver season.  The liver should be token care of, either through nourishing, soothing or cleansing.  Spring is associated many seasonal health disorders.

Q. I am a forty-five years old computer engineer.  I suffered from stomach pain five years ago. Spring is the worst season for me.  Hiccup and acid regurgitation are frequently experienced. My conventional gastroenterologist made the diagnosis of gastroduodenal ulcer, hypertrophic gastritis with the help of both barium meal and gastroscopy. Acetaminophen and cimetidine help control the symptoms. But every Spring is the bothering season in the past continuous five years. Is there any way that the Chinese medicine can break this cycle?

A. This is perfect case which can be analyzed and addressed by traditional Chinese medicine.  In the Five Element theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the spring season is associated with the Wood element, which governs the liver. The climate for the spring and Wood element is characterized by wind. The Earth element governs the Spleen. Liver balances (controls) the Spleen in the normal situation.  The blowing of wind in the spring could over-strengthen the liver.  Any imbalance or deficiency of Spleen (Earth) could be attacked (over-acted) by the liver (Wood) in the spring season.  A TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) pattern for the case is called Disharmony of Liver and Spleen.  Symptoms could be stomach pain, acid regurgitation, stomach distention, and/or diarrhea. Peony root (Shao Yao) and bulplerum (Chai Hu) are leading herbs, and Liver Spleen Harmonizer (Xiao Yao San) is a classical formula to address these conditions.

Q. I am a retired post officer. Starting from the beginning of every spring ten years ago, I felt dizziness and could not control my body, just like sea-sick. How could the Chinese medicine help me?

A. In traditional Chinese medicine, Liver is the organ associated with spring and Wood element.  Kidneys are associated with winter and Water element.  Kidneys should be well nourished in the winter. Kidneys and Liver are connected with a generation relation.  The functioning of liver depends on the sufficiency of Kidney essence.  If the Kidneys are mal-nourished in the winter, the liver will be in the spring season.  Symptoms include dizziness, vision blurring, ear ringing, nose bleeding, nausea, vomiting, low appetite.  Although they happened to in the spring season associated with the liver, they should be treated with the kidneys (the root cause).  Kidney Yin Tonic (Liu Wei Di Huang Wan) is the most widely used Chinese herbal formula to nourish the Kidneys.

Q. After a long winter in Minnesota, everybody is looking for the spring. But for me, the greening and budding of plants and trees always brought me chest congestion, shortness of breathing, sneezing, running nose. I was diagnosed allergic asthma and allergic rhinitis.  Decongestant drops, antihistamine drugs and corticosteroid drugs were used every year, but just control the symptoms for a short time. And they are recurrent every spring. I really need help.

A. One of the commonest complaints in the spring season is allergy problems. Pollen-induced allergic rhinitis is seasonal. Tree pollens and grass pollens are most prevalent in the spring.  Warm or hot and windy weather affect the sufferers the worst.  In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is the liver season. And the liver has the function of coursing.  If the liver is not functioning well, it can affect the functioning of spleen and lung.  The flowing of the Chi in the body system will be significantly stagnated and misdirected.  The disharmonies of liver and spleen, and lung and spleen will follow.  Chest congestion, hypochondriac distention, shortness of breathing, stomach swelling, sneezing, running nose, itching eyes, and low appetite are some common symptoms.  Chinese medicine treats this case by smoothening the liver, strengthening the spleen and diffusing the lung. We have numerous successful examples in clinical practice.

Q. I had a cough for over ten years.  In the past three years, nose bleeding, cough with phlegm, thirsty, dry mouth, eye blurring came with the spring season. I wonder if there are any recommendations from Chinese medicine.

A. In Chinese medicine, there exists a control and balance relationship among the five main organs: liver, lung, spleen, heart and kidneys. The dynamics and stability of the health are maintained by this relationship.  Spring is the season of Yang energy rising.  Liver Chi is abundant.  Your chronic cough might cause deficiency of lung.  The overwhelming of the liver Chi in the spring will insult the deficiency of lung Chi.  This pattern will be indicated by headache, red eyes, nose bleeding, vomiting bleeding and anger, hypochondriac distention and other symptoms. Cleansing of liver and lung and resuming their balance are necessary from the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be used for a few courses of treatments.

Q.  Any foods are good for the spring season?

A. There are many foods serving the purpose of soothing the liver and cleansing the liver. Greens and leafy vegetables are associated with cleansing and freshening the body. Dandelion is a very typical spring cleanser.  A balanced diet with a variety of juices such as citrus fruits, pear, apple, celery and carrot is very helpful.  Remember the balanced diet.  Sprouts from seeds such as beans, mung, and radish are valuable for spring use.