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Emotions and the Liver

What Emotions are Related to the Liver?

According to the Chinese, one of the functions of the liver is to make sure qi moves in harmony throughout the body. Qi can be thought of as energy, vital force or substance. Qi is the essence of life. The liver helps move qi up and down the body and harmonizes it. The flow of qi is also greatly related to the emotions. When the liver works well and qi flows free and unrestrained, then one feels happy, creative, focused with a calm mind.

Liver qi Stagnation:Photo Credit aJ Gazman

Liver Qi Stagnation can result in emotions of heaviness in the chest, depression, obsessive thoughts or sensation of overwhelm. Exercise and movement of the body is always a great way to dissipate any type of stagnation.

Hyperactive Liver Qi:

Hyperactive Liver Qi can result in emotions of anger, frustration, irritability and disturbed sleep. Calming and detoxifying activities are helpful to balance a hyperactive liver qi state. Consult Dr. Emily Chan ND for more specific personalized protocols to support your liver or constitutional imbalances. 

Please See My Previous Blog Article for Herbs that Support the Liver.

The Liver and Mindset Patterns:

Here are some insights based on numerology and spiritual teachers about imbalances involving the liver. Numerology is a study that connects certain themes to numbers. Each English Alphabet is assigned a number, for example, A=1, B=2, C=3 and so forth. The numbers are added up based on alphabets that make up a word and then the numbers are reduced to a single digit. Below are certain themes for some conditions related to the liver. Use these to guide your healing because they may be areas that open up insight to your journey in life and health. 

Alcoholism (44/8 Numerology Number) Alcoholism relates to difficulty standing up for personal beliefs. There may be a tendency to either abusing power or the opposite of that which is fear of using healthy empowerment from within. High expectations can lead to overwhelm which then lead to procrastination often results in internalized or externalized anger towards self or others.

Liver Cancer (56/11/2 Numerology Number) The liver is a place that is a filter for our emotions as well as a garbage collector of emotions. Liver cancer is associated with feelings of inadequacy, lack of emotional intimacy and difficulty releasing or expressing emotions. There is also a tendency to frustration over knowing and seeing what ought to be, but being unable or having no control over making them what ought to be.

Cirrhosis: (55/1 Numerology Number) Cirrhosis is associated with the energy of resistance to change or moving forward which leads to being stuck. The stagnation results in dead liver cells hanging around and hardening. Another reason for the stagnation may be due to loss of direction and bearings of where they are in life, so that they are caught between being frozen and moving forward in life.

Liver Issues in General including Toxicity may be related to a theme of being stagnant and stuck in life, not sure a greater purpose is. There may be a deep sense of loss or depression over not fulfilling something meaningful, which stems from not valuing yourself. When one cannot value and love themselves, it is also difficult to value and truly love others which can result in people pleasing behaviors that often end in frustration and resentment. 

To remedy these patterns:

  1. Start knowing your worth.
  2. Value and Love Yourself
  3. Tap into gifts you already have and how your uniqueness can solve a problem
  4. Focus on doing good out of love and not from a place of need
  5. When you focus on solving a problem or connecting to a greater purpose…and if you can get to a place where solving that problem is greater than your fear, you will move forward with momentum, freedom and joy.

If you are looking for herbs and foods that support the biochemical detoxification of the liver, please see my other blog post here

To Purchase AdvaClear or Ultra Clear Plus by Metagenics, Please Click Here


What Herbs are Good for the Liver?

Many Patients have asked me what foods and herbs are beneficial to the liver or good for detoxification. Most people know about Milk Thistle but here are a few others. You can use these as teas, food, supplements and juice. For example you can use watercress in a chicken broth with poached eggs, or use watercress as part of a salad. Artichokes are great to eat boiled with a dip of your choice. Below are scientific explanations of how various herb and foods help the liver. Photo Credit stereotyp-0815

Milk Thistle: Milk thistle is the plant but silymarin is the active component that does the work in the body, so be sure your supplement tells you how much silymarin is in your milk thistle product. In addition to detoxifying toxins such as alcohol, Tylenol and carbon tetrachloride, silymarin can also bind to the outside of cells blocking toxins from entering cells. If the liver cells are damaged by toxins, alcohol, prescription medications, heavy metal toxicity, or excessive glucose, milk thistle can help in regenerating liver cells and speed up the healing from the damage.

Artichoke: Artichoke supports the liver by keeping the flow of bile moving. The liver manufactures bile, and bile is stored in the gallbladder. Bile helps to digest fats and healthy fats are important for cognitive health, and have anti-inflammatory effects. But unhealthy fat can accumulate in the tissue of the liver from excessive alcohol or carbohydrate intake leading to fatty liver. Artichokes stimulate the production of bile in the liver and then also encourage it’s release keeping the flow of bile moving. Studies show that artichoke helps to decrease fat in the liver, which may help fatty liver disease. Artichoke also protects the liver from damage from toxic exposure and hinders liver cancer growth in human liver cells. 

Watercress: Watercress increases phase II liver detoxification pathways. In the human body, we have 2 series of liver detoxification pathways, I and II. The toxin goes into the liver and enters phase I liver detox. What comes out of phase I is usually more toxic than the original toxin itself. Thus the toxic intermediate needs to enter phase II liver detox pathways. What comes out of phase II is safer to excrete and taken to the bowels, urine or sweat to be excreted. The problem is most of us have a deficient phase II detoxification system and therefore have a backup of toxic intermediates. Watercress, NAC, Indole-3-Carbonol are among some supplements that boost phase II liver detoxification. Watercress is great at supporting the body in excreting cancer causing toxins. 

Pomegranate: Pomegranate supports both the liver and kidneys in getting rid of toxins efficiently. It also helps to regenerate the liver, connective tissue/cartilage and skin. The medicinal ingredient in pomegranate is called ellagic acid that has anti-proliferative (anticancer) and antioxidant properties. It prevents toxins from binding to DNA, reducing carcinogenic activity of toxins on the DNA of cells. Some of the toxins ellagic acid prevents from binding are nitrosamines (found in cured meats, salted fish and beer), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (found in wild fires, burning of garbage, tobacco, eating grilled foods). It is a good idea however to avoid these toxins. 

What Supplement Contains These Herbs and Foods?

Adva Clear by Metagenics contains all 4 of the herbs and foods mentioned above, Milk Thistle, Artichoke, Watercress, and Pomegranate. In addition to what we mentioned above, Adva Clear also contains vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy balance of both Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification pathways. 

I generally use 1-2 capsules per day for liver support and 4 capsules per day for a mild liver detoxification. For those who want to do a more comprehensive liver cleanse such as a 10 or 21 day program, there are a few Ultra Clear formulas from Metagenics depending on your specific needs and Adva Clear is very helpful in minimizing and detoxification symptoms by giving more support to the body and liver in clearing the toxins that are pulled out of the cells by Ultra Clear. Click here to purchase Adva Clear and Ultra Clear. 

For a more specific detoxification protocol, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Emily Chan. In general, do not go through an intense cleanse if you are physically very weak, have blood albumin levels under 3.9, or in the middle of severely cold weather. Otherwise being proactive in keeping your body clean, protects not only your liver but also your cells and other organs from the aging process. 


Dealing with Family Stress During the Holidays

Here's a Video I made for you with 3 Tips on how to interact with family to create the most peace, and you own personal enjoyment during the gathering. 

We will talk about different personalities and how to approach people strategically for minimal stress.

We also talk about a great solution for money stress during the holidays. Check out

Find out how to apply these 3 magic strategies so that tension is decreased, people are on your side and you can have a good time. Happy Thanksgiving!



Ebola and How to Boost Your Immune System

Recently there have been cases of outbreaks of Ebola that have been reported all over the news and I've seen some people more concerned about this hitting home. I wanted to give you some information about Ebola as well as information on how to boost your immune system. There are many immune boosting natural supplements and I will talk about which ones are specifically anti-viral. 

Ebola is a virus similar to HIV because they are both RNA viruses. But unlike HIV, ebola is not a retrovirus. How does Ebola work? Ebola hijacks the host cells and uses your DNA to make more copies of Ebola. After there are enough copies of the virus, people start experiencing symptoms. Initial symptoms of Ebola include flu like symptoms and bruising, but the danger of this infection is bleeding from eyes, ears, nose and rectum.

There isn’t a specific drug against Ebola. The good news is that it is not that easy to contract so do not spend the stress worrying about it. Again good hygiene and hand washing after traveling or public places is a good idea. Anti-bacterial hand sanitizers are filled with chemicals and strip the normal flora your body produces that is protective to your skin. I would go with the old-fashioned warm water and soap.

In our modern era, we focus on germs and have the notion that if germs are around we get sick. However, there are many viruses and bacteria all around us. So why do we not get sick? When the immune system functions optimally, there is usually not a problem. So when I talk to patients, there are 2 things that are important. The first is to keep clean, but unless we live in a bubble, germs are inevitable. With Ebola, it is unlikely you and I will be exposed to it in the US anyway. The second is to keep your body less susceptible to succumbing to infection. This is very important and often ignored. Think about the earth and soil. There are different vegetation and plants that grow in various climates. A cactus cannot grow in an evergreen forest. There are certain conditions you can create in your body that would make it harder for the germs to infect you.

One of the ways to keep your body in an environment that is harder for germs to take hold of you is to make sure your body is alkaline rather than acidic. So if you buy pH paper from the drug store to test your saliva, your saliva pH should be right above 7 and the test strip should look dark green. If you test yourself and the pH test strip shows yellow or light green, your body is too acidic.

How to alkalize your body? Drink fresh lemon juice in water and keep drinking that until your saliva pH is right above 7. You can also consume more fruits and vegetables which tend to produce an alkaline reaction in your body. Eating lots of carbohydrates and sugars create an acid environment in your body, which is not good because you will be more susceptible to infection as well as inflammation.

Vegetable juice can also be alkalizing to the body and I recently started doing some juicing and have felt great having this everyday. I’ve been more energetic, focused and generally feel great and lost some fat around my belly. Carrots are high in vitamin A, which is a vitamin often overlooked for immunity. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and Lemon is high in vitamin C. Here’s my recipe:

3 lbs of carrots

2 bunches of celery

2 apples

2 inches of ginger

1-2 whole lemon including rind

Juice the above, which produces about 6 cups of juice.

Now I’ll share a few anti-viral remedies with you.

The following natural herbs and remedies have anti-viral properties, they are not necessarily specific to Ebola prevention, since we have not tested that, however, by principle helpful.


Andrographis is an herb used in India and China often used to rid the body of heat such as fevers. It is a great remedy and works very well to dispel colds especially when taken when the cold is first coming on. The leaves contain the highest component of its medicinal component andrographolide which is a diterpene lactone and tastes very bitter. This herb is anti-viral and works by stimulating anti-body production, which is part of the antigen specific immune system. Andrographis also works on the non-specific immune response by stimulating macrophages. Andrographis is helpful for defense against colds. Studies also show positive effects for cancer and HIV with use of andrographis. There is a product ANDROGRAPHIS PLUS by Metagenics and you can get it here. I’ve found andrographis working well for my patients who feel they are about to get sick and have prevented a full blown illness using this.


Elderberries are beautiful plants and the berry is a dark purple color containing many anti-oxidants and medicinal properties including anti-viral properties. Elderberries are highly effective for colds, flus and the herpes virus and works better than Echinacea for many people. The US national library of medicine showed that elderberry relieved the symptoms of the flu 4 days earlier than placebo. Another study showed that elderberries killed the H1N1 virus. It is thought that the medicinal component of elderberry extract coats a virus and prevents it from being able to penetrate and infect the host cells. There is a product called PRO BERRY LIQUID by North American Pharmacal (D’adamo) that tastes great and kid friendly and you can get some here.

Vitamin C

You need a lot more than 100mg, the RDA of Vitamin C for clinical effects such as its effect on the immune system. 100mg is just enough to prevent scurvy, a disease where sailors bled because they did not get vitamin C from fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet while at sea for a long time. For maintenance, 500-1000mg of vitamin C per day is good. However if you are coming down with a virus, Vitamin C to bowel tolerance is a dosage that will be much more effective. This is approximately 8000-12,000mg of vitamin C per day in divided doses, but different for each person. So taking 1000mg per hour is the way to go and I’ve prevented myself from getting sick numerous times by doing this. I like ULTRA POTENT C by Metagenics and it’s available here.

So remember to first and foremost make sure your body is in a position that is less susceptible to infection by keeping it alkaline, and we discussed how to do that above. Then also make sure you keep your stress levels down and get enough sleep. If you feel you need some extra support, the remedies mentioned above have anti-viral properties. Take care and be well.





Dr. Emily Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I am very grateful and honored to be nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I accepted the challenge and will donate. Please check out the's pretty funny especially at the end!

ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease is a degenerative disease of the motor neurons and patients suffer a slow death as they slowly get paralyzed when motor neurons and brain fail to communicate resulting in decreased muscle function or complete loss. The diaphragm can also be paralyzed leading to death by suffocation. Although still many unknowns, it is thought that there is an auto-immune component to ALS, where the immune system attacks the motor neurons.

With naturopathic medicine, we work to get to the root cause of why the body is attacking the motor neurons and use natural methods decrease the auto-immunity with a goal of slowing the progression of the disease. There is hope for this condition and please feel free to contact me. 

Since the Ice bucket challenge started in the beginning of August 2014, It has raised $79.7 million as of today, Aug 25th, 2014. This campaign has gone viral over facebook and other social media. Once you are nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge, you can either accept or donate $100. However by accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge we still encourage you to donate. 

I personally nominate Dominic Chan Nick Unsworth Satomi Hinata Sarika Arora Carreiro and Corina Gill to take up the Ice Bucket Challenge and carry it forward.

For more information on donating check out:

For more information on Dr. Emily Chan ND check out:

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