Ying Yang Xue

"If something is cold, heat it. If something is hot, cool it." –Huangdi Neijing

Archive for the tag “lv qi”

Delicious Liver “Soup”port

MD is going through a soup phase right now (hey, who hasn’t been there,  am I right?  Hello?) and we are ALL the beneficiaries of that!   I would like to think that the mere act of preparing (slicing and dicing) the vegetables for these delicious soups would be therapeutic in its own right, alleviating some on the irritability and stress that is Liver Qi Stagnation’s hallmark.  Alas, even better is having this soup made for you.  Better still is having two soups made for you–thanks, MD!   (I got word later in the week that other students were already making the Szechuan carrot soup to rave reviews!)

Liver Qi Stagnation

Western correlations for liver qi stagnation include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure (in the case of liver yang rising), liver disorders (hepatitis), PMS, and headaches.

TCM clinical manifestations for liver qi stagnation –   irritability, anger, depression, rib side pain and/or discomfort, headaches (vertex), PMS and other gynecological disorders, frequent sighing, gastritis, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic cholecystitis, chest pain, and inability to handle stress.

Tongue – normal (pink)

Pulse – Wiry

Foods that help liver qi stagnation – Onions, Garlic, Celery, Mustard Greens, Turmeric, Basil, Bay Leaf, Cardamom, Cumin, Fennel Marjoram, Dill, Black Pepper, Horse Radish, Cherry, Rosemary, Pickled Vegetables, Cabbage, Beets, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Plums, potato, tomato, lemon, lime, spinach, kale, raspberry, wheat, rye, spelt, pine cut, lima bean, pea, black sesame seed, pork, saltwater fish, crab, cow milk cheese, yogurt, goat and sheep milk cheese, anise seed, brown sugar, rice vinegar, wine, grape, lychee fruit

Foods to avoid – Alcohol, Caffeinated Coffee, Fatty or Fried Foods, Highly Processed or Refined Foods, Very Spicy or Hot Foods, Heavy Red Meats, Sweet and Sugary Foods, raw foods, frozen foods, greasy foods

Helpful cooking methods – steaming, boiling for shorter period, blanching, and cooking with alcohol,  stews, soup, baking


“Beet” the Stagnation Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 medium beets, peeled and chopped

2 cups beef stock

salt and freshly ground pepper

heavy cream (we used Silk soy creamer)

Warm olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic; cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in beets, and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in stock, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, and simmer until the beets are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.

In batches, add soup to a food processor, and pulse until liquefied. Return soup to saucepan, and gently heat through. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with a swirl of cream.


Szechuan Carrot Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped,

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp grated ginger

2 cups veggie stock

1 cup water

1/3 cup Szechuan peanut sauce

1 cup plain soy milk

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, and garlic and sauté for 4 minutes.  Stir in ginger and cook for 2 minutes longer.  Add carrots, stock, and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Puree soup in the saucepan using an immersion blender, or transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, then return soup to the saucepan.  Add peanut sauce and milk and simmer until heated.  Do not boil.

JK got clever and mixed the soups together! Tie dye that’s good for what ails ya.

Celery smiles & Snowballs in Florida

KH came at Liver Qi Stagnation from two angles: nourishing the liver and calming the shen, and using the sour taste to move liver qi.   He absolutely hit it out of the park on both counts!   KH attained the ever-elusive perfect amount of sweetness in the cherry date balls (I wasn’t sure with the first one, so I had to have 16 more).  His pickled carrots, however, were an unexpected hit.  They came with a warning that they would, in fact, move our qi in a big way; I think it’s fair to say that they lived up to that promise in the most delicious, healthy way.  They woke up our tastebuds and got that liver qi zingin’.

OH!  I almost forgot the best part! Be sure to pay attention to KH’s instruction for the pickled carrots–he instructs us to cut the celery into 1/2 “smiles.”  You know your dish is going to be good when “smile” is used as a unit of measurement.

TCM DOS:  Liver Qi Stagnation

TCM SS:  Chest Distention, Hypochondriac Pain and or Distention, Sighing, Nausea, Vomiting, Poor Appetite, Diarrhea, Depression, Irritability Moodiness, Plum Pit Qi, PMS, Breast Tenderness, Painful and or Irregular Menstruation.  Tongue:  Light Red with Thin White Coat.  Pulse:  Wiry

Western Correlations:  Amenorrhea, Chest Pain, Chronic Cholecystitis, Depression, Dysmenorrhea, Gastritis, Headache, Hypochondriac Pain, Indigestion, Irregular menstruation, Irritable Bowle Syndrome.

Foods that Help: Onions, Garlic, Celery, Mustard Greens, Turmeric, Basil, Bay Leaf, Cardamom, Cumin, Fennel Marjoram, Dill, Black Pepper, Horse Raddish, Cerry, Rosemary, Pickeled Vegetables, Cabbage, Beets, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Plums,

Foods to Avoid: Alcohol, Caffinated Coffee, Fatty or Fried Foods, Highly Processed or Refined Foods, Very Spicy or Hot Foods, Heavy Red Meats, Sweet and Sugary Foods.

Lifestyle:  If you feel the symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation: Disengage for a while from the internet, video games and email, including your phone.    Light exercise such as walking can help to move your qi and Tai Chi or Yoga can provide both exercise and relaxation.  Don’t forget to receive regular acupuncture treatments to be your best.

Helpful Cooking Methods: lightly cooked, steamed or boiled

Easy Peasy Cherry Date Balls

This recipe is a variation of “No Bake Cherry Date Balls” from www.dishbytrish.com

This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan.  They will keep in the refrigator for 5-7 days or you can freeze them.  This recipe should make about 15 one inch balls.


1/3 cup each of Pine nuts, sunflower seeds and Pumpkin seeds

Pinch of fine sea salt

2/3 cup Medjool dates, pitted

1/3 cup dried cherries, unsweetened

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

¼ cup flaked coconut, unsweetened


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place seeds and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until fine.  Add dates and cherries and pulse until incorporated.  Add vanilla and water and pulse for a few seconds or until the mixture is sticky.  Shape mixture into 1-inch smooth balls.  Mix seeds and coconut together.  Dip date balls into coconut flakes. Place on baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour.  Serve cool.

The dates calm the spirt and have a sedative effect.  The cherries nourish the liver.  Pine nuts are good for the Liver and treats vertigo and dizziness.

Sunflower seeds subdues the liver and pumkin seeds are green which is the 5E color of the liver.

Zanahorias en escabeche: Pickled Carrots, Mexican Style

From www.foodfromeast.com


1-2 quarts apple cider vinegar

8 large carrots, well scrubbed and sliced into ½ inch pieces

4 celery stalks cut into ½ inch smiles

6 large bay leaves

4 allspice berries

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds ( I had to substituted ¾ Tablespoon ground cumin)

2 tsp sea salt


Place carrots in large steel pot, add the seasonings and cover with vinegar, bring all ingredients to a boil, then turn off heat.  Pour into a large glass jar and let cool to room temperture.  Add celery smiles and refrigerate over night.  Other vegetables such as jicama or cucumbers may be added.

The Vinegar strongly moves liver qi as it is warm, pungent and slightly bitter.  The carrots are sweet, neutral and improve liver function. Celery calms the liver as well as reduces hypertension.  The bay leaves, allspice and cumin are acrid and move qi and promote digestion.

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