Drink to Your Health? In Moderation Of Course.
There are three patterns that come to mind when I talk about alcohol. One is “Liver Qi Stagnation”. This means stressed or irritable, therefore your qi is stuck instead of flowing freely. Since alcohol “moves qi”, it would be medicinal for a person experiencing Liver Qi Stagnation. I know most of you can relate to the joy the first beer brings after a long day at work. If you have no negative symptoms with a drink, and it relaxes you, it’s a good fit.
But another pattern is “Liver Yang Rising”, and that’s severe Liver Qi Stagnation that created a lot of heat with anger. Someone experiencing this would become confrontational or violent from alcohol, due to the heat already in alcohol. Now there’s too much heat. That person should stay away from alcohol until the Liver Yang is sedated.
A third concern is a pattern called “Damp-Heat in the Lower Jiao”. These symptoms include a tendency towards urinary tract infections, swollen legs or feet in hot weather, yeast infections. This patient may notice these same symptoms becoming more prevalent in damp-heat conditions such as humid hot weather, and when drinking alcohol. If they don’t have liver yang rising, they should just reduce the alcohol amount. Even easier, though, is adding bitters to their drink. Bitters have a medicinal act of clearing heat. They may find that a bitter cocktail (a little Campari?) creates fewer symptoms than beer or wine.