Chinese Medicine – Five Elements – Wood Element

woodYin Organ:Liver     Hours: 1-3 am

Yang Organ: Gall Bladder     Hours: 11 pm-1 am


In the Chinese system, the Wood Element corresponds to the Liver and Gall Bladder energies in the human body. Anatomically, the liver organ is located in the upper right part of the abdomen, behind the lower part of the rib cage. In Chinese medicine, the main functions of the Liver concern filtering, storing and regulating blood and regulating Qi. The quality of Liver energy is specifically reflected in the quality of the tendons, ligaments, sinews, nails and eyes.

In Chinese medicine, the Liver is often compared to trees, as both tend to “spread out freely”. The Liver’s function is to spread Qi throughout the body. It accomplishes this in three ways: regulating mind and mood, promoting digestion and absorption, and keeping Qi and blood moving normally. In Chinese medicine, the Heart and Liver regulate the flow of vital energy and blood, which results in an even temper, feelings of happiness, and relaxation. But when the Liver does not function well, it results in anxiety, irritability, anger and resentment. Modern society places particular stress on the Liver, both in the type of food we eat and the stresses inherent in daily life. Road rage is a typical example of Liver Qi stagnation, in a Chinese doctor’s terms.

The Liver’s function of regulating the flow of energy in the body also specifically aids the Spleen in distributing nutrients and water in the body, and therefore, contributes to good digestion. An unhealthy Liver can affect the Spleen negatively, resulting in poor appetite, belching, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The Liver’s function of regulating the flow of energy directly affects the flow of blood. Erratic blood flow can result in symptoms throughout the lower abdomen, in particular for women, affecting the menstrual blood.

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