The Wood Element

The wood element governs the muscles and tendons and is associated with the liver and gallbladder. The gallbladder is most active between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. and the liver between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. People who have issues with these organs will often find themselves more fatigued than usual during these hours, or unable to fall into a deep, restful sleep.

The color for this element is green, so green foods—particularly leafy green vegetables—are nourishing to these organs. The taste relating to this element is sour. Sour fruits, such as lemons and limes, are cleansing to the liver and gallbladder and keep things running smoothly.

Being out in nature, around trees and in wooded areas, is very healing and supportive to the wood element. However, anger is the emotion associated with the liver and gallbladder. A person who has stagnation in these organs may find himself easily irritated and may be quick to anger. Anger is a natural emotion when appropriately expressed, but repressed anger can be damaging to the liver and gallbladder. From my observation, people with liver issues can be quick to express anger, whereas "gallbladder types" can have a tendency to repress the expression of their emotions.

The Liver

The liver, located under the right rib cage, is one of the largest organs of the body. Among its numerous functions is the production of bile to emulsify and digest fats.

The liver is one of the most important organs in the body for storing blood and influences the circulation of blood and nutrients throughout the body. In this respect, it is also very much connected to women's menstrual cycles. A healthy liver will ensure a regular menstrual cycle with little discomfort.

The liver is also responsible for detoxifying the body by metabolizing and/or secreting drugs, alcohol, pesticide residue from foods and environmental toxins.

In Chinese medicine, the liver is associated with the eyes, so people with liver issues will often experience eye problems. When the liver is healthy, the eyes will be moist and the vision good.

The Gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that is connected to the liver via the hepatic duct. The bile produced in the liver is concentrated and stored in the gallbladder to be released into the duodenum (part of the small intestine) along with digestive enzymes from the pancreas to prepare foods for the next stage of digestion.

A healthy liver and gallbladder is essential to overall health, vitality and disease prevention. When these organs are bombarded with toxins from the foods we eat and environmental contaminants, they can't do their job effectively. The organs then begin to function less efficiently and, over time, many serious health conditions can occur.

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