Liver in Eastern medicine is widely associated with stress. High levels of stress directly affect our liver qi and can cause the qi flow to become stagnant. The liver is viewed as an important factor in our health as it is in charge of the smooth flow of qi in our body. Therefore, untreated or constant stress can have a detrimental effect on our overall health. Stress is one of the main causes of liver qi stagnation, however, there are also other factors that can affect the liver just as negatively. Some examples include poor diet, trauma, illness or genetic factors. Common symptoms of liver qi stagnation include anger, tension headaches, migraines, irritability and irregular menstrual cycles.
One solution to fixing the liver qi stagnation is Chinese herbs. Specific herbs can help in promoting qi flow that is stuck in the liver and therefore, reduce a variety of symptoms. Herbs are usually prescribed as a mixture of more than one herb as liver qi stagnation is most often treated by also targeting supportive energy systems.
There are four different types of herbs that can be used to promote a healthier liver qi.
Chai Hu (Bupleurum): Chai Hu is a herb that can help regulate liver qi flow and prevent qi stagnation. This herb has the function of unifying the liver and spleen’s energy systems, and can as a result, treat several conditions such as indigestion and bloating.
Xiang Fu (Cyperus Rhizome): Xiang Fu is effective in spreading and regulating liver qi throughout the body. Conditions associated with liver qi stagnation that can be treated with Xiang Fu include menstrual pain, irregular periods and stress.
Bo He (Field Mint): Bo He’s main function is to release exterior heat which can help in fighting infections. However, Bo He is also highly useful for soothing the liver qi and is an effective supportive herb for liver qi stagnation.
Fo Shou (Finger Citron Fruit): Fo Shou is a great herb for regulating liver qi. Symptoms such as rib pain or belching can specifically be targeted with this herb. Fo Shou also works to strengthen the spleen and stomach and improve digestive functions.
Liver qi is responsible for a large task which is promoting qi movement throughout the entire body. With a blocked or stagnant liver qi, a wide variety of issues can arise. Stress and anxiety being the most common causes of liver qi stagnation, it is important to regularly reflect on emotional pain and maintain a balanced lifestyle.