We continue our study with the WOOD season as this begins around the Spring Equinox. The essence of macrobiotic practice is to harmonize ourselves consciously with the rhythms of the earth, simply because this is what the state of health for the human being- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually - is understood to be founded upon. Thus, we need to understand the relationships that pertain the human being and the earth during the course of the year so we can center our eating habits in the course of the seasonal rhythms in harmony with the seasonal changes.

According to the Five Transformation Theory, The Spirit of Spring creates the state of transformation called Wood and it says:

"The EAST creates the WIND; WIND creates WOOD,

The Forces of SPRING create WIND in Heaven and WOOD on Earth.

They create the LIVER organ and The MUSCLES within the body...

And the EYES, and the GREEN color, and the SOUR flavor...

The emotion ANGER and the ability to make a SHOUTING sound."


This is from the Nei Ching (Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine) as reported in Naboru Muramoto's classic, "Healing Ourselves". It goes on to say about the LIVER;

"The liver nourishes the muscles, and the muscles strengthen the heart; the liver governs the eyes."

"Anger is injurious to the liver, but grief counteracts anger."

"Too much pungent flavor in food endangers the kidneys, and 'the muscles become knotty and the fingers and toe nails wither and decay'"


Classification by The Five Transformation Theory:


Yang Organ Liver
Yin Organ Gall Bladder
Tissue Muscles
Indicator Toe Nails
Sense Organ Eyes
Sense Sight
Body Fluid Tears
Direction East
Adverse Climate Wind
Season Spring
Time of Day Morning
Planet Jupiter
Number 8
Emotion Anger
Expression Shout
Manner in Time of Excitement & Change Control
Faculty Spiritual
Taste Sour
Grain Wheat, Barley, Oats
Fruit Plum
Vegetable Leeks
Domestic Animal Fowl

As stated, the Wood Season begins traditionally at the Spring Equinox although I believe this is not the case everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere; the local geography and topology of the place where we live will mean the date when the change takes place will be different for different localities. Thus we each need to be attentive to the changes occurring in nature to find out when the change takes place where we live. What we are attempting to do is harmonize our blood quality with that of the seasonal changes and since the cycle of the red blood cells circulating in the bloodstream is four months (120 days), we need to begin introducing those foods which are strengthening to the liver and gall bladder, (since the gall bladder is the complementary paired organ of the lungs) approximately four months ahead of the date the season changes from the Water Season(Winter; Kidneys and Bladder) to Wood.

The important point to grasp is during the Wood Season(Spring) the atmospheric chi/etheric dynamics are focused (obviously ALL the states of Transformation of chi/etheric forces are active all year round) on the liver and gall bladder and those tissues and senses related to them in such a way that they are being strengthened, cleansed and harmonized in their structure and activities. This means if those organs are toxic and stagnated (which is necessarily the case if we are eating the modern "meat and chemicals" diet) then the strengthening and cleansing of them by the Wood state of Transformation will be manifested as symptoms indicating those organs are being detoxified - sore throats, flu-like symptoms, restlessness and poor sleep (especially between the hours of 12 Midnight-4 AM), anger, irritability and frustration, headaches(especially at the temple and behind the eyes), bilious acid stomach, eye irritation and redness, and nausea.

Of course if we get these symptoms often and throughout the course of the year, this means the liver and gall bladder and related tissues and senses are chronically toxic, which is hardly surprising since most people eat the modern "meat and chemicals" diet all the year round and year in and year out and have done so since they were born.

This of course means there are further symptoms indicating a more chronic condition of Wood Disease and these include poor sight especially to do with the retina and optic nerve, gall stones, cirrhosis, deterioration of the muscles tissue, chronic pain in the upper-middle of the back and big toes, and deterioration of nails of the feet. Also chronic tiredness, hair loss especially at the side-front of head. Obviously, liver diseases like Epstein-Barr, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, jaundice, hepatitis and loss of liver function, gall bladder insufficiency, and in addition liver cancer. Problems of pain, stiffness and weakness in the muscle tissue. Problems of sugar metabolism.

The emotional/psychological symptoms of Wood Disease include anger, irritability and frustration.

Now, all these symptoms can be cleared up by going a macrobiotic dietary program and doing ginger compresses on the abdomen.

The main foods which cause damage to the liver and gall bladder include fruits, milk and milk products like butter, ice cream etc., any food with a high sugar content like sodas, sports drinks as well as those foods which are extreme yang like meat, table salt, dried foods like chips etc. This list is pretty much the same for all the organs but emphasis must be put on spices and other strong tasting foods like garlic, peppers etc. which are particularly harmful to the liver, as are foods with a high fat content. So, necessarily, we need to avoid eating these in order to lessen the stress on the liver/gall bladder.

Summarizing the foods which actively weaken and damage the liver:

refined salt.

animal protein and fats.

foods with simple sugar content- dairy products like milk, ice cream, cream; alcohol; all fruits.

all foods and drinks with refined sugar content- soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks.

all refined, processed foods, including refined flour products.

all cold producing foods like raw food, salads.

all spicy, hot foods.

any alcohol.

It occurred to me while writing this that I have never mentioned the whole realm of drugs, whether they be narcotics, hallucinogens, medications, antibiotics, anthelmintics etc., or vitamin and trace element supplements and the so-called "super foods" like blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella etc. All these without exception are toxic to all the organs, but especially the liver, as well the intestines and kidneys and it is definitely highly recommended that people wean themselves off these at the earliest opportunity. However, since many of these drugs are extremely powerful it is only recommended this is done under the guidance of someone with several years of macrobiotic experience and knowledge.

We also need to start on a macrobiotically oriented and informed dietary practice and one of the fundamental insights derived from the Five Transformation Theory is we begin introducing those foods which are also manifestations of Wood state of transformation. The following is a menu which is specifically designed to strengthen and harmonize the functions of the liver and gall bladder, and therefore also the muscles and the eyes(retina and optic nerve).

Click on the link to go to a MENU for strengthening Wood.

Comments or questions can be sent to the address below as I check this address every few weeks. Please mention Alchemycal Pages in the subject line. Thank you. Patricia


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