Liver Qi Stagnation – What Is It and What Do I Do About It?


Liver qi stagnation is one of the most common issues that patients come in with at my clinic. The combination of busy day-to-day life, the consumption of processed foods, environmental toxins and bottled up emotions cause the perfect storm for stagnation of the liver qi. In TCM the liver controls the free flowing of qi and the blood. Unexpressed emotions, stress and overwhelms can all effect the liver energy and the movement of qi and blood in the body. This build up, or “stagnation” causes a blockage, or feeling of being stuck. This can manifest itself emotionally with feelings of anger, frustration, depression, or physically with pain, irregular cycles, headaches, acne, and pain at ovulation.


What To Do:


Change Your Diet

Avoid sugars, caffeine, alcohol, processed and fatty foods.

Instead add in leafy greens, dandelion, lemon, and cruciferous vegetables. To help detoxify the liver add in fresh herbs like mint, parsley, basil and cilantro.

If you’re looking for a nice and easy meal idea, try my recipe for this liver nourishing omelette.


Get Better Sleep

Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Make sure you’re getting quality sleep. That means no scrolling through your phone at bedtime! Put your electronics away, use some essential oils in your space, and make sure you don’t have any distractions.


Express Your Emotions

Keeping your emotions bottled up can be second nature, but it’s beneficial to learn how to express yourself to lower your stress.

In traditional Chinese medicine we say there is no such thing as a bad emotion, feel it and let it pass. When you choose to ignore your emotions that is when they cause problems.


Reduce Environmental Toxins

Not many people think about the negative effects that toxins around us have on our hormonal health.  Plastic food containers (especially those with BPA), household cleaners, make up, body products, even your dryer sheets all have negative repercussions on our longterm health. Switching these items out with natural alternatives will benefit you, your hormones and the planet!


Have Regular Bowel Movements

Regular bowel movements help to detoxify the liver and keep qi and blood moving.



Having regular acupuncture treatments help to calm the central nervous system, helping to decrease stress and allow qi and blood to flow freely.  With acupuncture the brain releases dopamine and serotonin, improving your mood and making you feel relaxed.


Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbs like chai hu (bupleurum), he huan pi (albizia), bo he (mint), and xiang fu (cyperus) are all used to get the qi and blood moving.

The most common herbal formula I recommend to my patients is Xiao Yao San. It moves the liver qi, nourishes the blood and the spleen qi, helping to improve mood, boost the blood, regulate menstruation, alleviate PMS and improve digestion.


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