Originally published January 12 2010
Chinese Clock Holds Key to Liver Health
by Melissa Sokulski
(NaturalNews) Stress of modern living and our standard American diet, which includes alcohol, fried food and fast food, strain our health, especially our Liver. Stopping eating by 7 pm may be the best thing we can do for our health. Looking to ancient Chinese medicine we find a clear explanation of why this is. In Chinese Medicine, qi, or energy, runs though the body through a series of twelve main channels, or meridians. For each meridian there is a two hour time period for which the energy is strongest.
According to Chinese Medicine, digestion is controlled by the Earth element. The organs which correspond to the Earth element are Stomach and Spleen. The Stomach meridian`s energy is strongest in the morning between 7 and 9 am, and the Spleen is strongest between 9 am and 11 am. Therefore 7 am to 11 am is the best time to eat because our digestive energy is strongest.
Twelve hours later the energy of our digestive organs is the weakest, and we should stop eating by 7 pm. Light meals of fresh fruits and vegetables or fresh juices are best if we are hungry in the evening since these foods are simplest to digest.
Digestion is naturally slower in the evening as the energy is weakest in those meridians at that time. Food stays in the stomach and tends to ferment leading to gas, bloating and discomfort. Energy is drawn from other organs to help digest food. Overnight from 11 pm until 3 am the energy is strongest in the gall bladder and liver. These organs cleanse the blood and control sleep. They become taxed when we eat late at night. We get indigestion, insomnia and a feeling of not being well rested in the morning. In addition, our joints may ache or become arthritic. Toxins get stored in our organs and joints when the liver cannot function properly.
Eating late at night strains our liver, drawing energy from it to help us digest food. There are liver flushes and herbs such dandelion and milk thistle to cleanse and regenerate the liver. Yet one of the best things we can do for the liver is to stop eating by 7 pm. Once the liver energy is not being drawn away toward digestion, the liver is able to function and heal.
When we stop eating at 7 pm, many symptoms, even those which seem unrelated to digestion such as pain and arthritis, will disappear. People often lose weight quickly as the body is able to rid itself of toxins. The meridians balance and naturally become stronger when energy is not drawn into digestion overnight.
Steps to rejuvenate the liver are:
- Stop eating by 7 pm for at least one week, but try to make it a lifelong habit.
- Avoid alcohol, fast food and deep fried food (at least while doing the liver cleanse, but try to make this, too, a lifelong habit.)
- Follow this liver flush for a week:
- Upon waking, drink the juice of 2-3 fresh squeezed oranges and 1/2 lemon blended with one clove garlic, 1 Tbsp olive oil and a sprinkle of cayenne.
- Follow that with a cleansing tea of flax, fenugreek, fennel, comfrey or nettles and mint, which can be enjoyed throughout the day.
- For lunch and dinner have fresh fruit or vegetable salad.
- Herbs such as milk thistle and dandelion are beneficial for the liver. Milk thistle is often taken in capsule or tincture form, while dandelion root is often drunk as tea or taken as a tincture. Fresh dandelion leaves can be added to salads.
Balch, Phyllis, A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Avery Trade. 2006
Maciocia, Giovanni. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists. Second Edition. Churchill Livingstone. 2005.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books. 2002.
Xinnong, Cheng. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Foreign Languages Press. Beijing. 1990.
About the authorMelissa Sokulski is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and founder of the website Food Under Foot, a website devoted entirely to wild edible plants. The website offers plant descriptions, photographs, videos, recipes and more. Her new workbook, Wild Plant Ally, offers an exciting, hands-on way to learn about wild edible plants.
Melissa also runs The Birch Center for Health in Pittsburgh, PA, providing the best in complementary health care: acupuncture, therapeutic massage and herbal medicine.
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