September brings the long-awaited change from winter to spring: seeds sprout, flowers bloom, the sun warms the earth. While winter was a time to conserve energy and reduce activity, spring is a time of regeneration and a renewal of spirit.

This is the season of new growth; time to reawaken our yang energy by being active. Go for a walk in the morning sunshine, fill your lungs with fresh air; spend time in the garden; invigorate your muscles and joints with stretching or yoga.

Just as it is important to open up physically, be conscious to avoid emotional repression. Springtime in Chinese Medicine corresponds to the Liver energy system, which is closely linked to the emotions anger, frustration and depression. Just as you look after your body, care for yourself on an emotional level by aiming for equanimity: an open yet grounded approach. Be honest with yourself, acknowledge what you feel and learn from this awareness.

Moving into spring we naturally require less food, which gives our digestive systems a rest after the fats and heavy meals of winter. Try to limit rich foods including red meat, fats and dairy, especially at dinnertime, and increase fresh fruits and vegetables. You may wish to include a little more raw food, although be careful not to overdo it, as this can put unnecessary pressure on your digestive system.
In springtime as new growth emerges and the air is heavy with pollens, we may be more susceptible to irritations including hay-fever and skin reactions. Emotional problems may deepen or resurface. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can treat these conditions and help maintain the balance of good health. See a registered practitioner for more information.

Some foods and home remedies to protect and invigorate in spring:

Increase light and fresh foods including young or baby beets and carrots; fresh greens such as kale, silverbeet, spinach; sprouts and sprouted grains.

Cook with fresh herbs including basil, fennel, rosemary, caraway, dill and bayleaf.

Drink tea made from chrysanthemum flowers (Ju Hua) to refresh and soothe the Liver system.

Pick some fresh mint leaves & brew with hot water to make a wonderful tea to aid digestion. Sweeten with a little honey or brown sugar.

Foods and drinks with sour tastes are thought to stimulate the Liver’s Qi. Put lemon slices in your drinking water, use vinegar and olive oil as salad dressing. Garnish your sandwich with a slice of dill pickle. Other sour-tasting foods include: sourdough bread, adzuki beans, olives, leeks, plums, natural yoghurt, apples and grapes.