Liver Blood: nourishes and stabilises

Photo by David Klein on Unsplash

Liver Blood is the Blood that your Liver stores and regulates. (This page is really just a summary of its actions. I’ll expand it more in due course.)

What does it do? It –

  • helps keep us stable
  • nourishes our tendons
  • feeds and moistens our eyes
  • provides for menstruation
  • helps with movement and
  • is the theoretical place where and when our Mind lies down to sleep.


This is all rather different from how Western medicine describes your liver!


Chinese medicine has a concept called the Hun or ‘Ethereal Soul’ which ‘explores’ and, when we die has a continuing existence after death. However, this is not really the same as the Christian idea of the Soul. This aspect of our Mind is the part that dreams both when asleep and awake, and with healthy Liver Blood, is steady and stable.

When Liver Blood is deficient, our dreams may be excessive, and those during sleep may be either too vivid or seem that we are leaving our body.

When Liver Blood is stable and healthy, our Minds rest easy and comfortably during sleep.

Good Sleep for Healthy Liver Blood
Sound Sleep – Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash

We then awake in the morning refreshed and alert. The Hun has given vitality and verve to the Blood, and the Blood has given nourishment and rest to the Hun.

Crazy thinking that exceeds reality, tending towards being manic, suggests that the Liver’s Blood cannot restrain the Ethereal Soul.

Movement and Tendons

Chinese medicine regards the tendons as being the origin of movement of the limbs. (The Spleen looks after the muscles.) Steady, controlled, well-directed movements indicate healthy Blood from the Liver.

Conversely, cramps, spasms, disjointed motions and tremors point to deficiency. If you use a computer a lot, and hence use a computer ‘mouse’ frequently, you may find some fingers, usually your index finger, go into spasm from time to time, and not necessarily when you are at your computer!

Deficient Liver Blood – see why you get it further down – can also lead to cramps in legs, feet and even arms when you are trying to get to sleep. Or they may wake you, disrupting your sleep patterns.

Given that the Liver’s time of year is Spring, one might expect cramps and spasms to occur more in the presence of anger, frustration … and wind! (Why do I say this? Because of the health and other predictions about our behaviour suggested by 5-Elements theory.) So if you suffer from cramps at night, try closing the window if it’s windy! And don’t argue before bed.

Eyes and Liver Blood

Healthy Liver Blood for Healthy Eyes
Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

Although other zangfu also feed into the eyes, eye problems including poor vision, dryness, sensitivity to glare and red eye are usually due to this kind of Blood problems.

We use this kind of Blood intensively when working at computers, and to a lesser extent when watching television. It really helps our eyes and our Blood if we can look out of a window at something green in the distance, otherwise our Liver and its Blood eventually becomes deficient.

Deficiency produces a range of symptoms. Read more here.

Sjogren’s syndrome, with dry eyes and often, dry mouth, suggests problems with the Liver’s Blood. Also, perhaps with Spleen, which governs our saliva.

Liver and the volume of Blood in your Body

At rest, Blood returns to your Liver. During movement the Liver directs or sends its Blood to nourish and support movement.

Sleep is the main process for repairing this essential form of Blood. After a good night’s sleep we bound from our beds like lions, eyes bright for the new day!


Photo by Ivan Diaz on Unsplash


If the Liver’s Blood is deficient in either quality or quantity, our movements become jerky and poorly controlled.

The other way of looking at this is that if motion is too intense, it uses up the this vital form of Blood. Then the body cannot repair itself properly and the limbs are not nourished so become weaker and more susceptible to damage. Some athletes, under intense training schedules, may find themselves with tremors or spasms and failing to repair their bodies during sleep.

They need to pull back a bit from training, to give their bodies time to catch up. If female, over-training may jeopardise periods, due to shortage of this kind of Blood.

Another form of overuse is when our body suffers from’repetitive strain’ from recurring use: tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger are examples.

Healthy well-formed musculature provides strength and resistance to damage and to illness.


Your Liver controls the regularity and health of your menses.

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

Deficient Blood can mean amenorrhoea or very scant menses, with less likelihood of pregnancy.

  • Painful periods may be due to Liver Blood stasis
  • Heavy periods are usually from Heat, often Heat in the Liver’s Blood
  • Scanty periods come from Liver Blood deficiency
  • Childbirth leads to blood loss from the womb, and indeed since the baby came from the mother’s Blood, ejecting the baby is indeed a major Blood loss! The result can be Liver Blood deficiency which often causes Heart Blood deficiency. (Read more under Heart Blood.) The result is that the woman’s Shen-Mind cannot find its ‘home’ or ‘anchor’, leading to low spirits, worry, poor sleep and even palpitations: what medicine calls post-natal depression. (For post-natal depression of this kind, Chinese medicine has some pretty good solutions, including via acupuncture.)

Liver Blood and Emotions

  • Without sufficient Liver Blood, there may be a block on the flow of Liver Qi, leading to stress and Liver Qi stagnation.
  • Alternatively, since the Liver, through its management of Qi and Blood, leads to the healthy expression of feelings and emotions, when Liver Blood is deficient you sometimes get a lack of emotions, the main one being a lack of anger. If so, the individual appears to feel no anger, or doesn’t recognise or accept that they can feel anger. As their Liver Blood returns to health, the appearance of emotions such as anger can be confusing if not disorientating.


Symptoms of Liver Blood Deficiency

For a description of this, and why you get it, go to Liver Blood deficiency.

Building Healthy Liver Blood

  • Read our page on Liver Blood deficiency for ideas about what to do and what NOT to do
  • Read our page on Nutrition – very important!
  • Read our page on Blood-building foods. However, do please realise that some of the foods mentioned there were appreciated in a different era, when few vegans and vegetarians existed. These days, we look for alternatives.
  • Live a ‘balanced’ life – never too much of anything but enough sleep, exercise, rest, food, sunlight and friends, with something fulfilling to do, someone to love and something to look forward to … !
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