The start of spring has a dramatic change to the environment as nature transitions itself out of the cold of winter. The change from winter to spring is quite dramatic compared the transition of other seasons such as spring to summer. Frozen landscapes with barren trees turn into blossoms and where new growth is observed on all levels. Over the centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have observed this dramatic change with the environment and compared it with the human body.
Early Chinese sages realized that what happens in the outside environment also mimics itself inside the human body.
There is another saying in Chinese medicine that states
“An attack of cold in winter will lead to a new disease in spring”.
In particular colds and flu that were improperly treated in the winter will manifest in a different form of disease in the spring. Improper treatment of cold and flu can include suppression with antibiotics. Modern western medicine confirms that viruses can linger in the body and Chinese medicine has said this for centuries and called it latent pathogens. According to Chinese medicine thought, these pathogens can linger and present themselves as a complex of symptoms in the next season including fatigue, lack of concentration, low grade fevers, headaches and a host of other symptoms.
Symptoms like this get lumbered into a western diagnosis of post viral syndrome or chronic fatigue or the exotic myalgic encephalitis. It doesn’t matter what is called, Chinese medicine can treat it.
Each season influences an organ of the body and in the spring time the liver is the most vulnerable organ. If you think about the old tradition of spring cleaning, then you will realize the importance of the liver as an organ of cleaning. It is constantly filtering the toxins that come into the body. Many people get sinus and hay fever in the spring because the liver is working overtime to detox the extra concentrations of pollen and insecticides that are present in the air during spring.
Some people may have noticed that particularly around the beginning of spring, more people seem to be getting headaches and migraines and complain of stiff necks and irritability. Anger is the emotion of the liver and if it is weak or damaged in some way, then these people are more prone to headaches and irritability.
Chinese have for centuries recommended drinking chrysanthemum tea in the spring. This has a number of benefits including that it can treat headaches, red eyes and conjunctivitis that is often encountered in the windy weather of spring time.
The liver also is responsible for moistening the ligaments and tendons according to traditional Chinese medical thought, so be careful of potential sports injuries. Stretch gently when going back to those yoga classes.
And on a final note beware of the wind in springtime. If you get too much exposure from wind in the spring, Chinese medicine says that you can then get diarrhea in the summer.