Successful Herbs to Move Liver Qi

We often say in Chinese Medicine (CM) that the liver is the system most easily susceptible to stress. Stress knots the Qi (energy) and makes its flow stagnate – this happens most quickly in the liver energy system. The liver, in CM, is in charge of the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. This means that if Qi flow is impaired (ie, by stress), the liver system will suffer. Likewise, if the liver energy system is weak or stagnant (from lifestyle choices, diet, trauma, emotional stress, illness or genetic factors), Qi flow throughout the body may be impaired.

Common symptoms of liver Qi stagnation include irritability, anger, tension headaches, migraines, trouble sleeping, PMS, irregular menstrual cycles and just a general stagnation of feeling stuck or blocked.

Chinese botanical medicines can be a very useful treatment for moving stuck liver Qi and helping it to flow smoothly, to reduce these sorts of symptoms. Chinese botanical medicines are safe and effective when prescribed by a licensed practitioner. To effectively treat liver Qi stagnation, other supportive energy systems must also be moved or nourished, depending on the person. For this reason, these herbs are almost never taken alone, but rather as part of a formula targeting liver Qi stagnation as well as the backdrop on which is occurs.

Chai Hu (Bupleurum): Chai Hu is one of the most commonly used botanical to regulate the liver Qi and treat Qi stagnation, so it can be used in formulas targeting depression, stress, tension headaches and menstrual pain. It also has a function of harmonizing the liver and the spleen energy systems, for treating indigestion, bloating and flank pain. It has a rising action, so needs to be used cautiously in patients with high blood pressure, but making it ideal for patients with sinking energy causing issues such as prolapse or hemorrhoids.

Xiang Fu (Cyperus Rhizome): Xiang Fu directly spreads and regulates liver Qi, for treating symptoms such as hypochondriac pain, menstrual pain, irregular periods, epigastric pain and stress. Xiang Fu moves the Qi but is said to “move the blood within the Qi,” meaning it can move stuck blood by moving the Qi, and that it is a powerful Qi mover. It is an excellent botanical for gynecological issues stemming from liver Qi stagnation.

Bo He (Field Mint): Bo He is a botanical medicine for “releasing exterior heat,” which means fighting off acute infection with symptoms such as sore throat, fever, cough and headache. However, it has a secondary function of mildly soothing the liver Qi. As such, it can be a great supportive herb for liver Qi stagnation. It can therefore be used to treat menstrual issues, emotional issues, PMS, temporal headaches or pain along the sides of the body.

Yu Jin (Turmeric Tuber): Yu Jin is an herb used to move stuck blood. It is therefore frequently used in formulas to treat pain following traumatic injury to an area. However, it also has the function of moving liver Qi, so it can be added to formulas for symptoms such as chest and flank pain, muscle pain or menstrual pain.

Fo Shou (Finger Citron Fruit, “Buddha’s Hand”): Fo Shou is another botanical that directly regulates the liver Qi, specifically for symptoms such as rib pain or belching. It also strengthens the digestive system through tonifying the spleen and stomach, as well as drying dampness and transforming phlegm to treat chronic wet coughs.

For the most effective and safe treatment, consult a practitioner of Chinese Medicine. Safe home treatments for liver Qi stagnation include mint tea, turmeric tea and exercise.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Acupuncture and Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are a collective group of disorders that plague nearly 50 million people in the United States today. When a person suffers from an autoimmune disease it means their own immune system is attacking the body and...

CM and Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that disrupts normal function of the epithelial cells in the body. Epithelial cells line the passageways of many of our vital organs, including the lungs, liver, kidneys, reproductive system and the skin.

Healthy Foods for Fall

The season of fall brings cooler weather and shorter days. As with any season, the world adjusts accordingly. Plants begin to go dormant, animals begin scrounging for food to store to get them through the upcoming winter months and...

Five Self Care Tips for Fall

Fall is a favorite season for many people. The weather starts getting a little cooler, things are beginning to slow down and preparations for the holidays are in full swing. For many others, fall is not so festive.

3 Reasons Acupuncture Supports Couples Facing Infertility

When you consider all the changes in our agricultural practices, the increased number of medications we take, as well as our dependence on plastic and technology that is constantly emitting low-grade radiation, it’s no surprise more couples are ...

Acupuncture for Kids

Most kids, as well as a lot of adults, are afraid of needles. So the pairing of acupuncture and kids might not be an obvious one. However, more and more parents are seeking alternative methods of treatment for their children ...