How the health of your liver can affect your menstruation cycle (aka: PMS).
The Liver is an important organ, especially as it processes excess oestrogen that can lead to PMS symptoms. So the more overloaded your Liver is, the more likely you are to experience PMS related issues.
In Chinese Medicine, one of the Liver’s function is to regulate the Qi. This means to controls the flow of Qi throughout the body. Qi is not flowing smoothly in PMS, and so results in problems of stagnation in the body.
Working with your Liver system will help a lot of these symptoms. You can start your liver healing with whole fresh fruit and vegetables, which reduces the toxic load on our Livers. Eat things as close to nature as possible, and avoid all refined foods.
Unfortunately, most processed foods contain preservatives, colouring and flavouring, as well as unhealthy oils, excess sugar and salt. Even in whole foods nowadays, we are exposed to a litany of pesticides and environmental toxins. However, the aim is to reduce our exposure to them. The closer to nature your food source is, the less defiled and contaminated your food is.
From a holistic Chinese Medicine perspective, the colour green is associated with the Liver organ. Thus eating “green” foods supports the function of the Liver. Included although not exhaustive are broccoli, kale, lettuce, spinach, as well as microalgae, barley and wheatgrass.
Exercise is another good way to activate the Qi, although we generally want to activate and not exhaust Qi. Therefore it is not advisable to over-exert yourself beyond your body’s capacity. We want to mix the ingredients, not furiously beat it so that the essence of the mixture has dissipated.
Crudely speaking, ours bodies are like a bank of energy. Every time we do something, energy is expended, when we eat, sleep, breathe and rest, it is charged. Ideally our lives should as much as possible be about nurturing and refining our energy bank. The Daoists amongst others have developed intricate practises to cultivate this for health, spiritual training and longevity.
Our emotions may cause toxic load on our Liver as well. As our Liver is responsible for moving and regulating Qi, frustrations and deep-seated anger may suppress the Liver ‘s function causing stagnation. Long-term stagnation transmutes to heat issues. Have you ever noticed that when we are angry, that we feel hot in the face or head?
Living with long-term anger or unexpressed emotions will tax the body. The body cannot be deceived. These energies will manifest in the body as rising heat in one form or another, which impedes the smooth flow of Qi. In terms of PMS and the menstrual cycle, repressed Qi may show as irritability, or emotional sensitivity, tender breasts, bloating, acne or low generally feeling flat.
Learning to regulate our emotions, or removing ourselves from stressful situations is important for our mental and physical health. There are many ways to become skilful in dealing with our emotions, or being able to channel them into more constructive pursuits.
I urge those who are interested to start some “mindfulness” meditation practises. As the mind is wildly changeable, due to its insubstantial nature, meditation may be hard. If this is you, you may want to start with directing the mind to work with the breath. This way there is some sort of focus to reign in the mind.