Symbol of the Tao
Health Through the Seasons
by Joseph Odom

The Chinese calendar is calculated on a lunar system. There are 24 festivals with approximately 14 days between each. February fourth or fifth is "Li Chun," the first day of spring. The last festival, "Da Han," the great cold, on January 21, has given way to the beginning of rebirth. I know that in many parts of the northern hemisphere it is difficult to think of the first week of February as "spring." Keep in mind that it has been a month and a half since winter solstice and the sun is definitely higher in the sky.

In the traditional five-element system spring is associated with the element wood. In the human body, it is the liver. The function of the liver in traditional oriental medicine is the smooth flow of energy in our bodies. When energy is not flowing in us, the result is anger and frustration. These emotions, anger and frustration, are the traditional ones associated with the liver.

February is the time when those things which cause us anger and frustration will begin to rise. They will find ways of getting our attention. Because the introspective time of the winter still is with us to some extent, February offers a unique opportunity to go within our psyches and find new relation with the things which make us angry and frustrated. Finding new relationships and peace-making are qualities traditionally associated with February's zodiac sign Aquarius.

It is the job of the liver to make most metabolic conversions in our bodies. In this way it deals with those things which we find poisonous or polluting. To assist our livers in this function the herb Milk Thistle, also known as Silymarin, is very useful. I often have people take the amino acid Phosphatidyl Choline along with the Silymarin as they work well together in restoring the cells of the liver. Any time of the year is a good time to add these helpers to our arsenal but now is an especially good time.

Finding new ways of relating to the sources of our anger and frustration while using supplements to help heal our livers is a good way to use the energies of this month.

Dr. Joseph Odom, O.M.D., L.Ac., Dip. NCCA has been practicing acupuncture and herbal medicine since 1986. He can be reached at (415) 258-9551.