One way to move through this time of year is to connect with your body. We have been inside for the winter - physically indoors, yes… but also emotionally turned inwards, reflecting and reworking. Now it is time to get outside of our homes and our minds and get into our bodies and nature. To engage in this process, try WALKING AND MINDFULLY BREATHING. This is a wonderful way to move the body consciously and gently, connecting with the breath, the spring air, the changes around us, and moving through them. It is also helpful to BE CREATIVE during this time – find an outlet for the ideas and energies that are starting to bubble up. Creativity can be found in many places, not just the arts. Working with your hands in any way has a component of creativity, as does working in nature (gardening, planting, starting seedlings), and expressing yourself physically (through stretch, dance, jumping, singing, yoga, Qigong, etc.). In these small ways we grant our bodies the movements and expression they crave during this season.
Another supportive tool through the spring is the use of MEDICINAL PLANTS.
Herbs can connect us with the energy of the earth – by taking them into our bodies (especially in a mindful way) we are literally taking in the essence of EARTH; we are taking in a particular time, a place, a season, and energy. Here are some specific plants that are masters at springtime energy, and why they may benefit your health and optimizing the potential of the season…
All of the following are supportive to either the digestive system and/or a major pathway of elimination in the body (spring typically works through the liver, bowels, or kidneys, rather than skin or lungs which would be more applicable in the winter). Many of the herbs we will discuss also have an affinity for the blood – both the quality and health of our blood. It is through the action of either increasing our ability to receive more nutrients, supporting our ability to utilize it once we have it, or the action of helping us to let go and clear out toxins and unwanted substances that have accumulated over the more sluggish, slower winter months that makes these herbs useful as Spring Tonics.
- AGRIMONY – a wonderful digestive bitter tonic. It supports liver function (hepatic) and kidney function (diuretic). It literally helps the body in processing and assimilating food. Spring is a time that we have increased access to fresh and green foods, making this a powerfully supportive herb for spring energy. Tea Dosage: 1 teaspoon of herb per 1 cup boiling water, drink 2-3 times a day.
- BURDOCK ROOT – the master blood cleanser! Burdock is all about the blood, increasing its quality and health, as well as filtering and cleaning toxins and residue through its action on the lymphatic system, liver, and digestive system. Tincture Dosage: 1 teaspoon 3 times a day.
- DANDELION – both root and leaves/flower. One of the first friendly faces we will see as the weather warms, which is the first sign that Dandelion is a spring tonic herb. Plants have evolved and learned when it is their optimal time to grow. In many cases, it is when they are needed most. In the case of the Dandelion, the roots aid our digestion and get things rolling again after the sluggish winter months – it is a bitter herb that stimulates the secretion of gastric juices and digestive enzymes, as well as a mild laxative which helps to clear away toxins and excess that have accumulated. Not to mention the leaves are a powerful diuretic (increased kidney function to flush the body with water) and the whole plant is a general tonic and detoxifier. Tea Dosage (leaf): 1 teaspoon of herb per 1 cup boiling water, drink 3 times a day. Tincture Dosage (root): 1 teaspoon 2 time a day.
- GREATER CELANDINE – one of the very first plants to spring up, so we know it must be spring-worthy for our systems. Celandine is another liver cleansing herb. It has an affinity for the gallbladder and liver, and offers antispasmodic and pain relieving qualities associated to the upper digestive system. It combines well with dandelion root to clear both pathways (1&2) of the liver. Tea Dosage: 1/4 teaspoon per 1 cup boiling water, drink 2-3 times a day.
- NETTLE – a lovely tonic for the whole body! The deep green of this plant indicates its richness in minerals and vitamins. It is a blood tonic, as well as diuretic and spleen tonic. It is supportive to the immune system and helps to re-mineralize the body. Tea Dosage: 1 teaspoon per 1 cup boiling water, drink 3 times a day.
- PARSLEY – an easy herb to increase in your diet! Parsley moves waste from the body through the kidneys (diuretic), as well as bowels (laxative). It is known as a digestive tonic and helps to eliminate gas and bloating, as well as an anti-microbial and antispasmoic. It is rich in trace minerals and assists in detoxing heavy metals from the body. It is delicious as a tea or added into a fresh vegetable juice or boiled soup stock. Tea Dosage: 1 teaspoon per 1 cup boiling water, drink 3 times a day.
For more tailored advice and customized herbal remedies for spring support and seasonal health, contact us to schedule a one-on-one herbal consultation.
Alexis Coffey, CH