Functions of the Liver Meridian

by HCHC on April 5, 2013

by Chris Hammond M.Ac.,L.Ac.

In Chinese Medicine, each meridian has a broad range of correspondences, much broader than the physiological function of the associated organs.  For instance, the liver meridian corresponds with the spring time, anger, a shouting voice quality, a rancid scent, sour taste, green complexion, and it relates to the tendons, the quality of the nails, the eyes and vision. The liver meridian also is responsible for ensuring the smooth flow of chi in the body. When we are angry or frustrated, we inhibit this liver function and experience tension or pain. In health the chi is free flowing, we have good range of motion, and an even flow with thoughts and emotions.  In addition the liver is responsible for holding the blood.  The blood absorbs deep into the body during sleep and flows into the muscles and skin during activity. We can look at the quality of blood by looking at the nails, skin quality, the tendons, and the eyes. When the blood isn’t nourishing we will have brittle nails, a lusterless complexion, tight tendons, and poor eyesight.

You can tell the relative health of the liver meridian by looking at these correspondences. If someone has a green complexion, is shouting and angry, has tight tendons, and complains of a headache, the liver meridian will be asking for some TLC. If someone is having severe cramps, has a pale compexion, thin nails, and a lack of shout, this would point to blood deficiency and the livers inability to nourish the tissues with blood. Often with blood deficiency herbs and a diet of blood building foods are a necessary compliment to acupuncture.

When these correspondences are understood we can observe them both in ourselves and others.  This gives us a window inside to see what’s going on and to know how to help. I would suggest a book that elaboarates more on this subject called ” Between Heaven and Earth”, by Harriet Beinfield.


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