The liver is one of the most important organs in the human body, being responsible for the processing of nutrients, cholesterol, iron, and protein in the body.
It’s also vital for processing many of the toxins that we ingest, in minute quantities, throughout our lives. If it starts to fail at this, then you know quickly start to deteriorate in health.
Needless to say, keeping this organ in top condition and health is a cornerstone of living a healthy life.
So, if you’re looking for ways to help stay on top of your liver health, you may be looking at different ways to keep this organ in the best condition possible. Even if that means turning to sources or ideas that might seem a little different, at a glance.
One of the most popular ways that people have turned to over the years is Traditional Chinese Medicine (see also: Western Medicine Vs Traditional Chinese Medicine – What’s The Difference?)(also known as TCM). This somewhat controversial system of medicine and health has a lot to offer people’s health, especially when used in appropriate ways.
So, what does TCM have to say about the liver? And, perhaps more importantly, what can it do to encourage a liver to stay healthy?
We’ll cover all that and more in this guide!
Basics Behind Traditional Chinese Medicine
So, before we get into the details around TCM and the liver, we should probably first outline what TCM is. Or rather, the theory behind TCM, and how it differs from a lot of traditional Western medical practices.
The best way to understand these different approaches is to look at how they both approach the issue of treatment around the body.
Most forms of Western medicine will treat the body as if it is a connected machine, with various segments to it, and treat the problems as they are identified.
This makes it a very effective method for understanding where pain is coming from, and going through treatments and solutions to the problem.
However, it is also an incredibly reactive form of medicine that can only treat issues and pain as they are discovered, rather than preventing them from developing in the first place.
After all, how are you supposed to find and recognize a disease or issue that hasn’t visibly appeared to find and recognize yet?
Traditional Chinese Medicine
By contrast, TCM has a much more holistic approach to treating health and ailments. The body is viewed as not just different parts, but an interconnected web of energies (known in TCM as Qi), that balanced positive and negative energy as it flows around the body.
When these energies are disrupted, symptoms and ailments start plaguing the body.
These can be caused by several factors, from overexerting the body, to stress, to other outside maladies. Whatever the cause, it disrupts the flow of Qi. and has to be addressed.
Remedies and solutions to health problems in TCM are also incredibly varied, from acupuncture to herbal remedies, to tai chi and other physical therapies.
It’s an approach that recognizes the interconnectivity of different parts of the body, even without the element of Qi being understood, understanding that an issue in one part can have consequences for the rest of the body.
It’s also an approach that encourages lifestyle and long-term health choices, making it a great way of preventing ailments too.
The main downside is that it doesn’t tend to identify specific causes for ailments like Western medicine does, so it makes knowing the specific cause of an issue more difficult.
The Liver In Traditional Chinese Medicine
So, with all that being said, where exactly does the liver factor into the TCM framework?
Well, that’s quite simple. It’s a point where Qi comes from!
Well, that’s not quite true. It’s a focal or major point of the body where Qi flows from and through, which is a slightly different concept, but still makes it instrumental in the flow of energy.
Think of it as less of a Qi production centre, and more the Qi leader of a team or army, that directs the energy to flow through other parts of the body.
The Liver, The Spleen, And The Stomach
The organs that do control the production of Qi are the spleen and stomach. The energy that they create is then directed to the liver, which is then directed across the body to maintain a healthy balance.
These three organs are the source of the energy that the body and mind need to function, and any change to them can have major consequences.
In a way, this is also a reflection of how Western medicine understands the importance of these three organs. They are some of the most important for healthy living, after all.
And while other major organs have more obvious dramatic symptoms of when something is wrong, such as the heart, lungs or brain, the former is just as vital in their way.
Traditional Chinese Medicine For Liver Health
So, now that we understand what role the liver plays in TCM theory, you may be interested to learn about ways that TCM treats liver health. Perhaps to try the health benefits yourself or someone else, or just out of plain curiosity.
Well, we have some of the most popular ways that TCM treats liver issues and aids in its health.
Liver TCM Acupuncture Treatment
One of the most popular and well-known aspects of TCM, acupuncture has been known to help treat and aid many aspects of your health when applied properly.
So we shouldn’t be too surprised when some of those treatments get used for promoting good liver health.
The most important acupuncture point for liver health is located in the foot, in between the webbing of the first and second toe of the foot, also known as the Tai Chong point (liver 3).
Rubbing this point in the foot help unlock the Qi of the liver, promoting better health and greater activity in the liver. The point is supposed to be pressed on both feet for maximum effectiveness.
Herbal Remedies For Liver Health
Aside from acupuncture, herbal remedies are some of the most famous treatments that you’ll find in the world of TCM.
If you’re looking for herbs in particular, make sure that you keep an eye out for angelica root-based remedies, as these are known to be particularly good for the liver in TCM.
We also recommend finding products or remedies that use ginger or mint as well, which are also known to help aid the flow of Qi energy around the body.
The only note that we would ask people to consider is that you should make sure that the source that you’re getting your TCM herbal remedies from is legitimate and reliable. Poor-quality ingredients have been known to contain trace elements of toxic chemicals.
Tai Chi Routine
For the final avenue of promoting liver health, we wholeheartedly recommend Tai Chi.
Physical activity is a very popular aspect of TCM, as it allows Qi energy to flow throughout the body.
The movement of the waist and lower torso is particularly good for promoting the spreading of energy from the liver.
So, on the whole, it’s clear to see that the liver doesn’t just play a big role in Western medicine, but in Traditional Chinese Medicine too.
So, make sure to respect your liver, and its health too!