As we move into season Spring a new organ becomes the topic of our discussions and new color foods become more predominant in our kitchen. The organ is Liver and the foods that have stimulating, nurturing and cleansing effect on the Liver are green color foods.


Image result for chinese paintings of spring


Whenever air and water move in nature the environment is healthy. When the river flows continuously and uninterruptedly its water is fresh and safe to drink. When wind blows through our city the air is cleansed. The same pertains to our body – whenever blood and Qi move continually and uninterruptedly the body is balanced, the mood is good, the emotions are harmonious.

In Chinese medicine the Liver is responsible for the proper movement of Qi in the body. As Qi and blood are interconnected a proper movement of Qi will ensure ceasless movement of blood. Vice versa if the Qi ceases to move the blood will eventually stagnate as well. On a physical level Qi stagnation manifests in distention, while blood stagnation manifests in pain. On a mental level Qi stagnation manifests in mood changes, lack of patience and unstable behavior. Liver Qi stagnation also brings about anger (with all its varieties) as anger is the emotion that manifests with an unbalanced Liver. Long term suppressed anger will eventually transform into depression. Thus anger and depression are also signs of Liver Qi stagnation. A typical sign of Liver Qi stagnation in women is PMS. If the Qi stagnation is chronic the blood will stagnate too leading to painful menstruation (in TCM the Liver governs the women’s cycle).

Image result for chinese paintings of women



The time during which the Liver is most active is spring. Thus if there is Liver disharmony it will be during spring season when it will manifest the most. People with unbalanced/stagnated livers will experience spring depression or feel more irritable than usual. They may also feel tired and/or have variety of digestive issues (when the Liver stagnates it overacts the Spleen causing digestive problems and lack of energy). The best thing we could do to help ourselves in this situation is to cater to the Liver with moving/anti-stagnant and cleansing foods and herbs which will break the stagnation and clear heavy emotions. We could do that also if we do not experience the above symptoms – simply to cleanse our body after the rather fatty winter diet making sure the Qi of the Liver flows uninterruptedly. So the next couple of months we will use green color, pungent and anti-stagnant foods to prepare our meals. As Qi and blood are interconnected a blood deficient person will especially be prone to Liver Qi stagnation (not enough blood to move the Qi). Thus we will also include blood tonifying foods and herbs during spring season. Stay tuned!


Fear and anxiety - two disturbing emotions that bring about the anticipation that something dreadful is going to happen to us. Two emotions very similar yet quite different.

Anxiety appears to be a rather "general feeling", which is often felt without a specific cause. Everything in our lives might be just perfectly fine yet we would still wake up with unexplained feeling of anxiety. Or we could become anxious at certain point of the day without any specific reason or change in our immediate or extended environment. Fear on the other hand seems to be more particular and better defined. We are afraid of certain things that can be objectified - heights, closed spaces, crowds, flying, death... We feel fear not generally like we feel anxiety but rather when we are close to or in the circumstances that make us feel threatened.


  Black Shrimp For Kidney


In any case what both emotions have in common is that they both feel as there is something out there that will destroy or diminish what is most meaningful to us – health, love, happiness, life (ours and this of the ones we love).

According to traditional Chinese medicine anxiety manifests when some aspects of the Heart are not in balance. Fear is experienced when the Kidney is deficient. But how are they connected? Here we need to talk briefly about the Five Elements theory.

The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Besides being nature substances the elements also own qualities - the wood ascends, the water moistens, the fire flares, the metal cuts, the earth contains growth. Within these qualities the elements form different types of relationships with one another. For example the fire needs wood to burn, the ash from the fire creates earth, the earth contains metal, etc. In this type of relationship every element generates, and is generated by an element. Thus this relationship is called a “generating relationship”.  In another type of relationship, each element is controlled by and controls another element – metal cuts  wood, water extinguishes fire, fire melts metal, etc. Thus this type of relationship is called a “controlling relationship”

Each organ corresponds to a certain element. The Liver and its partner organ the Gall Bladder correspond to the element Wood; the Heart and its partner organ the Small Intestine correspond to the element Fire; the Spleen and its partner organ the Stomach correspond to the element Earth; the Lung and its partner organ the Large Intestine correspond to Metal; the Kidney and its partner organ the Urinary Bladder correspond to Water.

As the Five Elements are in a relationship with one another the organs that correspond to the Five Elements also form a relationship with one another. For example  Wood generates Fire, thus the Liver (Wood element) and the Heart (Fire element) are in "generating relationship", in which the vitality of the Liver maintains and supports the Heart and its functions. On the other hand Water extinguishes Fire, thus the Kidney (Water element) and the Heart (Fire element) are in "controlling relationship", in which the Kidney "controls" and restricts the Heart, etc. In the case of fear and anxiety it is this very relationship between the Heart and the Kidney that is not working properly.


Kidney Heart Relationship


If the Kidney water ceases to “control” the fire of the Heart the latter will incite leading to excessive uncontrolled Heart fire. In Chinese medicine the Heart houses the mind thus Heart fire manifests in “heated” mental disharmony with symptoms such as mental restlessness and insomnia. Anxiety – emotion associated with the excess or deficiency of some aspects of the Heart – manifests. Meanwhile, the incited up-flaring Heart fire cannot turn downwards to reach and harmonize the Kidney water, which if chronic will lead to the manifestation of coldness in the lower part of the body (unrestrained water) and the emotion felt when the Kidney is in disharmony – fear.

As the Kidney is the root organ of the body it is always most beneficial to treat Kidney-Heart disharmony by tonifying the Kidney and empowering the water (to learn how please review the posts in the Blog that belong to the Season Winter/Organ Kidney topic and the materials in the Physiology chapter of the Project which review the Kidney - it’s pathologies, and the foods and acupressure points that benefit them)

The Heart fire should also be subdued. How - will be discussed in future posts.


After a Kidney desert and a Kidney salad it is time to have a black-food-Kidney-nurturing main dish. Simple and easy to make as the other two our base for that dish will be black rice.

We are simply going to put the rice in the rice cooker (or pot with water) and cook it until it is done. Notice the rich black color of the water the rice is cooked in! The richer the color of the food the more nutrients the foods has. Always go for the substances with the richest most vibrant color when you buy your foods! Try to have at least five different colors of foods in your kitchen! Each color has its own important nutrients and nourishes the body in a specific way.

The other ingredients are pork, celery (gives great aroma to the dish), carrots, and onion. Feel free to throw in some yellow and red peppers to add more color and nutrition to your meal.


Black Rice Ingredients


Cut The Ingredients


Add Red And Yellow Pepper




Simply cut all ingredients in small pieces and stir-fry them. Add some soy sauce (another black substance) to make it salty. When the veggies and the meat are soft and well done pour them over the already cooked black rice and enjoy!


Black Rice Dish


Staying true to the Kidney and the black foods that nurture it, we continue our culinary escapade this time with a salad.

The base for the salad are black beans. Soak them for couple of hours,throw the water away, add fresh water and boil them until they are soft. If you have pressure cooker this should take no more than 15-20 min, a rice cooker will also do the job, but it will take a little longer. If beans make you bloated you could let them sprout before you cook them. Wash the beans, put them in a colander and cover the colander with a towel. Depending on the temperature in your home they should sprout between 12 and 24 hours. Once you see a small sprout they are ready to be cooked.


Black Bean


The other ingredients are sprouts, fresh onion and garlic, and mushrooms – I chose black tree mushroom because of its color and its salad friendly texture. You can choose any mushroom you like but it would be more beneficial it were black or dark color - the goal here is to gather as many black colored foods as we can to benefit the Kidney. You can add parsley or cilantro for their aroma and health benefits – parsley is Kidney tonic and tonifies Kidney Qi. Cilantro cleans the blood and benefits the Liver.




Bean Salad


Black Bean Salad


Chop up the above listed ingredients and mix them together with the already boiled beans (besides the sprouts – those you simply add whole to the ready mixture). Add some salt, flax seed or olive oil, and squeeze a good amount of lemon in the salad. I always like to add a little bit of vinegar together with the lemon to take away the sharp sour taste that the lemon sometimes leaves.

If you prefer moisture and feel that the black beans make the dish a little dry you can cut a tomato or two in small pieces and add it in. I also suggest to leave the salad for an hour or two in the refrigerator to allow the different aromas and juices to blend in nicely.




Here is a 15-minute simple and delicious Kidney booster dessert for you and the people you love. 

Ingredients – black sesame seeds, walnuts, wolfberry (goji berry), brown sugar (feel free to use white sugar if you feel that the taste of brown sugar is too rich and heavy).


Ingredients For Kidney Dessert


Before I move on to the preparation I would like to say couple of words about the ingredients.

All ingredients are Chinese medicine herbs. Black sesame – Hei Zhi Matonifies Kidney Yin. It is a longevity herb and according to numerous sources it tonifies the Kidney so powerfully that after regular consumption for a year or two gray hair will go back to its original color regardless the age (the Kidney manifests in the hair). A source claims that lost teeth will grow back after 3 years of regular consumption of black sesame seeds (the Kidney governs the bones and teeth), after 4 years one will be completely free of disease, and after 5 – one will enjoy a long life.

Walnut – Tao Ren - tonifies Kidney Yang. Its warm energy is especially beneficial for vegans and vegetarians who largely consume plant source foods, which in their big part are cooling, eventually leading to internal cold or Yang deficiency.

In Chinese Materia Medica goji berry – Gou Ji Zi – is an herb in the “tonify blood" class, but it also tonifies the Essence. Considered “super food” in the West and longevity food in the East it has already made a good name for itself around the world and there is no need to talk about it more here.

These three nurturing foods combined in one healthy dessert or afternoon snack address/tonify all aspects of the Kidney – Kidney Yin, Kidney Yang, and Kidney Essence, and additionally tonify blood. Wonderful way to boost the Kidney and the whole body during winter (the season the Kidney relates to), and at any time.


Preparation: we crush the walnuts, cut the goji berry in small pieces, and mix the two together with the black sesame seeds. We heat up the sugar until it becomes liquid and put in the other ingredients. We keep stirring until everything mixes together nicely and then pour the mixture in whatever cookie forms we find in our house. We put the filled forms in the refrigerator and when the mixture cools down we can take the already hardened dessert out and put it on a plate.



Crushed Walnuts


Kidney Mix


Heated Brown Sugar


Kidney Candy



You can pack this nutritious snack for your kids for school, you can take some with you to work, or simply leave it on a plate on your kitchen table and let anyone who craves something sweet to have a bite.



Kidney Snack