This is a vegetable juice I have been making every morning since the beginning of the spring season to cleanse, nourish, and stimulate the Liver (please check the previous posts on how the spring and the Liver are related).
Drinking fresh juice first thing in the morning (whether it is from fruits or vegetables) is completely against Chinese medicine concepts because the cold nature of fruits and vegetables cools off, respectively slows down the digestion and the whole body. Morning juicing and morning consumption of fruits and vegetables on empty stomach in the long run will end up with manifesting cold signs of various kinds (feeling colder than usual, lack of strength/stamina/mood/energy) which is something that eventually will become predominant and burdening. So to stay true to the TCM principle of always warming up the Spleen/digestion at the beginning of the day we should consider eating or drinking something with warming quality before we have our juice and also not do morning juicing for too long. What I do - I simply drink a cup of hot ginger water with some honey before I have the juice – it helps to additionally hydrate and detoxify the body while it also warms up and tonifies the Spleen. Another thing that can be done is to add fresh ginger directly to the juice, which will warm up and balance out its cooling property.
Here are the ingredients: bitter melon, spinach, celery and lemon.
There is a copious amount of information about the wonders of bitter melon on the internet therefore we do not need to discuss it more here. From Chinese medicine perspective it strongly drains heat toxins from the Liver (bitter taste cools and drains/green color enters the Liver thus brings the bitter property to the Liver). The fact that it also strongly benefits the eyes points again that it is an amazing Liver tonic (the Liver opens into the eyes). I have also seen people lose weight for as short as one week with “bitter melon diet” – they eat what they like until noon, they have fruit in the afternoon and for dinner they have bitter melon juice and nothing else. They do this for a week and loose quite a lot of weight while looking and feeling healthy. In Chinese cuisine bitter melon is also widely used. You can find it in dishes chopped with meat or stuffed with ground pork. It is a very special vegetable that definitely deserves your attention.
The second ingredient is spinach. Spinach is a powerful Liver blood tonic and as we know is great source of iron.
Celery – one of the most alkalizing vegetables - is used here as a healthy green diluter – besides its various health benefits it reduces the bitter taste of the melon and gives the juice a fresh and delicious taste.
Last but not least 1/3 of a lemon (throw it in together with the peel!) additionally freshens up the juice. Its sour taste enters the Liver and cleanses and nourishes it (sour is the taste of the Liver). Vitamin C is additionally essential to absorb iron thus the lemon here also compliments the spinach in supplementing the body with iron.
Here you have it – a bitter-sour green delight to flush the Liver, cleanse and energize. Enjoy!