Prepare for Spring with the Wood Element

In Chinese medicine, we use nature’s five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood) to guide us in diagnosis, treatment, food and herbal therapy, and lifestyle suggestions. The five elements also represent relationships and interaction.

The more harmonized we are with each element, the more we live a life of ease. As with any relationship, the more we resist, or force, the more discomfort we may experience. 

While I write this, we are inching towards Spring, nature’s wood element. This element resembles growth and expansion. In life, this element aids us in carrying out our plans, ideas, and creations. It takes us from where we are now to where we want to go. 

It is a wood boat that we ride while floating down the river of life.

In northern Ohio, the air is still chilly, yet the wood element begins to sprout while buds pop up persistently. This persistence parallels those who resemble the wood element. A seedling, similar to an idea, must push through its hard shell to sprout new beginnings. It is its persistence that allows for it to reach through to the other side. The sunny side.

The wood element embodies perseverance. They are also hard-working, goal-oriented, confident, diplomatic, and possess leadership skills. They nurture their life’s desires with consistency, attention, and motivation. They often have many projects going on, yet too much work can leave them feeling overworked, burnt out, and prone to depression.

Physically a wood-type person will have strong muscles (sinews in Chinese medicine), broad shoulders, and stand tall with a straight spine. Their hair, skin, and nails are full and lustrous, when not plagued by disharmony. Full eyebrows resemble a strong liver. 

The wood-type person is active both physically and mentally. They like to exercise and stretch regularly. They likely played sports as a young child. 

Similar to a tree’s stable trunk, those with a wood personality are strong in their foundation and rooted in their beliefs, principles, values, and morals. They are often flexible and easy-going like branches flowing in the wind.

In Spring we often have higher winds than any other season. Wind facilities change and offer flexibility in movement, thinking, and decision-making. When the wind is stuck or stagnated between a narrow corridor, we too may feel stuck, stagnated, or unstable. When the wind is flowing with ease, we too may feel at ease.

The characteristic of wind is granted to the Liver, which moves Qi and energy in the body. When the Liver’s Qi and energy are smooth, we flow and move with grace and ease. When Liver Qi is stagnated, we may feel tension, pain, anger, frustration, and irritability. 

Qi that has been stagnated for long periods can build up in the body creating inflammation, chronic pain, and long-term illness. 

Can you feel and see the wood element in you?


The wood element is represented by the color green. The green color is all around us in Spring. It also supports us while we move through the season. 

Now is the time to eat your green fruits and vegetables. 

Perhaps consider bringing the color green into your wardrobe or plants into your home. 

Those who find themselves green with envy, anger, or frustration may want to consider practices for releasing and softening this emotion during spring.

It is the Liver and Gallbladder that are represented by the Wood element and Spring season. This is due to the renewal and purification process that the liver and gallbladder process. 

Similar to Western physiology, Eastern physiology knows that the liver stores, filters, and regulates the blood supply, produces proteins, metabolizes hormones, and rids the blood of anything that is not useful.

While spring rains wash away winter’s dust and water new life, the wood spring season tells us that it is the time to purify, eat less, drink plenty of water, get some sun, and nurture your life creations!


Element: Wood

Color: Green

Flavor: Sour

Season: Spring

Body: Eyes, tendons, ligaments

Organ: Liver & Gallbladder

Emotion: Anger, hate, kindness, compassion

Personality Characteristics

Persistent, attentive and motivated


Confidence, diplomatic, leader

Strong, stable, flexible, easy-going

Tall, straight spine, strong shoulders, hair & nails

Likes movement and exercise

Want to know more about why the sour flavor is good for the liver? Read my post, Why You Need the Sour Flavor

Need to release liver’s anger? Check out my video to Release Anger with Me,

Give your liver the food it loves! Learn more about my liver renewal offered each spring and Renew your Liver with me.

I hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a reply down below.

As always, stay curious!


Disclaimer: This information is intended for general reference only. It is not a replacement for professional health advice. The content in this post intentionally does not provide dosage information or possible interactions with prescription drugs or other medications. Please contact a certified health practitioner such as a physician of Oriental Medicine or Herbalist before considering use. To schedule an appointment with Malerie, visit the services page.