Fertility Boosting Spring Cleanse
Updated: Jun 2
Spring has sprung! The long days of winter are finally behind us, buds are showing on the trees, crocuses and daffodils have sprouted, and the pull to get outside is strong. In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are five seasons: Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Fall and Winter. Each season brings with it a unique set of attributes as it guides the movements of nature. Each can also guide the way our bodies respond to these seasonal shifts when we live more in harmony with them.
Spring brings new growth and regeneration, which makes it a great time to refresh our systems and to focus on the liver, our major cleansing organ. When it comes to fertility and Chinese medicine, we look at much more than the egg meeting the sperm, forming an embryo and implanting in the uterus. Ensuring both parents are in the best possible health prior to conception optimizes the chance of conception. That can start with the liver.
Why focus on the liver in spring?
In Chinese medicine, our liver is often referred to as an army general because it regulates the overall planning of the body’s functions by ensuring smooth flow of energy or Qi throughout the entire body. The liver is also the most important organ for storing blood and is closely related to the physiology and pathology of menstruation. When our body is active, blood flows to the muscles so we can perform physical activity without strain or injury. When we are at rest the blood flows back to the liver. These two mechanisms of the liver qi and blood play a huge role in our mobility, energy, emotional state, reproductive cycles and fertility.
A poorly functioning liver can limit our capacity for recovering energy, increase the chance of injury to our muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and affect our menstrual cycles. The liver is also connected to emotions like anger, resentment, frustration, irritability, and bitterness, all of which can affect our desire to try to conceive and our ability to do so.
A healthy liver plays a role in our reproductive cycles and fertility by clearing toxins from the body and hormone metabolism. A healthy liver means proper hormone balance, resulting in a healthy cycle length, no PMS symptoms, healthy menstrual flow, ovulation and uterine lining for implantation. Cortisol, our body’s main stress hormone, is also a sex hormone and can interfere with the proper balance of estrogen and progesterone. Consequently, when stress is low, we have a better chance of overall hormonal balance and conception.
Lifestyle choices such as workload, diet, stress, lack of sleep and unbalanced emotions can deplete liver blood and stagnate proper flow of Qi to the body especially to the uterine cavity. When the liver is not functioning as well as it could, changes to the reproductive cycle and menstruation can occur resulting in irregular cycles, heavy, scanty or absent menstruation. Some signs of a liver blood deficiency include: anemia, general bodily dryness, muscle/tendon/ligament issues, and pale nail beds. A longstanding liver stagnation can lead to liver heat. This is most often caused by emotional stress, or a diet that is high in fats, meat, cheese, eggs, or alcohol.
As you can see, the liver plays a huge role in our body’s ability to conceive. In our next post we’ll explore what you can do from diet to movement to herbs to keep your liver healthy and increase your chances of pregnancy.