Recipes for Nourishing the Liver

The following recipes are nourishing to the wood element, or liver, in five element cooking. The liver is a remarkable organ with tremendous regenerative properties. It stores and nourishes our blood, assists digestion, and carries qi into our muscles and joints. The liver, along with our kidneys, is a major filtration system for toxins. The liver also impacts our hormones, vision, nails, and skin. The Chinese consider the liver to be the “General” of the body, a leader from which much of our health or dis-ease can flow. Modern lifestyles place a tremendous load on the liver, as do fatty foods, drugs of all kinds, alcohol and a diet heavy in animal foods.

Jasmine, purslane, chrysanthemum, nettle, chamomile, cumin, fenugreek peppermint, rosemary, turmeric, dandelion, star anise

  • 01 of 11

    Steel Cut Oats With Flax and Fruit

    Steel oats with apples
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    This whole foods recipe for steel cut oats with flax and fruit is great for busy people because you have the option of soaking them overnight and having breakfast ready for you in the morning. Steel-cut oats are chopped whole oats, less processed than our more familiar oatmeal, and leagues ahead of the instant variety. Many people avoid steel cut oats because of the cooking time required, but with this painless recipe, you can make a big pot and reheat them as needed.

  • 02 of 11

    Ultra Green Smoothie Recipe

    Spinach smoothie
    Olesia Valentain / EyeEm / Getty Images

    This potent green drink smoothie recipe is full of liver cleansing greens, and is guaranteed to give you a pleasant rush of energy and to help move a sluggish digestive system. The banana is an optional addition for those who may not do well with a potent green flavor, as it “softens” the intensity of it. Make sure all of your ingredients are organic please!

  • 03 of 11

    Provencal Carrot Salad

    Provencal Carrot Salad
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    This simple Provencal carrot salad is seen all over southern France. It is at its best when made with sweet, juicy, bunch carrots, but is good any time of year. It is often served alongside bowls of olives and other vegetable salads and is a great palate cleanser when made without the garlic. Carrots are beneficial for the lungs, liver, indigestion, and acidic blood. They are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, as is parsley. In addition, parsley is rich in chlorophyll, vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. It is excellent for kidney and adrenal function. Mint is excellent for digestion and is an anti-bacterial herb.

  • 04 of 11

    Morrocan Carrot Salad

    Carrot salad
    Michael Piazza / Getty Images

    This exotic Morrocan carrot salad recipe is particularly good with tofu or white fish, and bitter greens. Carrots are beneficial for the lungs, liver, indigestion, and acidic blood. Raisins are rich in iron, and cinnamon and mint are excellent for digestion.

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  • 05 of 11

    Cleansing Salad of Spring Greens

    Spring greens salad
    David Marsden / Getty Images

    This light, bright cleansing salad of spring greens is chock full of liver cleansing and boosting ingredients. Lemon juice is not strictly macrobiotic, but is good for the liver and is used for its alkaline properties. This salad helps alkalize our systems and is full of live enzymes. Make sure that all of your veggies are organic.

  • 06 of 11

    Golden Beets With Baby Mustard Greens

    Golden beet salad
    Michael Piazza / Getty Images

    Sweet golden beets pair up with pungent baby mustard greens in this simple cleansing recipe. Baby greens are so tender they don’t need to be cooked, and mustard clears stagnant blood, lung, and intestinal congestion. Beets cleanse the blood and nourish the liver, so this combination is perfect for spring.

  • 07 of 11

    Sauteed Broccoli

    Sauteed broccoli
    Brian Yarvin / Getty Images

    This quick and easy whole foods sauté of broccoli, shallots, garlic and lemon is an excellent side dish for almost any meal, and is so tasty you’ll be going back for seconds. The broccoli is steam sautéed in less than 5 minutes, so this is a perfect side for busy cooks.

  • 08 of 11

    Soba Noodles and Vegetables

    Soba noodles and vegetables
    William Reavell / Getty Images

    This simple soba noodle and vegetable recipe is nourishing for the kidneys and relaxing for the liver and gallbladder. It’s a great picnic dish, as it holds very well and is equally good whether hot, cold, or room temperature.

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  • 09 of 11

    Soba Noodles With Maitake Mushrooms

    Soba Noodles with Maitake Mushrooms
    Jim Franco / Getty Images

    This recipe for soba noodles with maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms is a meeting of great taste with great medicine. Maitake mushrooms are amongst the most popular culinary mushrooms in Japanese cooking and have a rich, earthy, almost meaty flavor. They also happen to be very powerful medicinal mushrooms and are used in oriental medicine as mineral-rich immune enhancers and cancer fighters. If you cannot source maitakes, use shiitake mushrooms instead.

  • 10 of 11

    Oysters Rockefeller Redux

    Oysters Rockefeller
    sbossert / Getty Images

    This recipe for oysters Rockefeller revisits a classic that dates back over 100 years. Oysters are baked with a savory spinach and breadcrumb topping. Oysters and anise (in the Pernod) are 2 powerful aphrodisiac foods, and this dish, with its potent nutrients, is likely to get your energetic juices flowing.

  • 11 of 11

    Thai Crab Salad

    Crab salad
    Brian Hagiwara / Getty Images

    This crab or lobster salad recipe is a simple warm-weather salad that requires good quality fresh or pasteurized crab meat (never canned) to be successful. It makes a stellar sandwich, entrée salad, or stuffing for baby tomatoes or cucumber rounds.