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Herbal Practices for Spring

At the end of winter here in California, the countryside is covered with fresh, medicinal herbs like cleavers, chickweed, dandelion, nettles and an array of other edible spring greens—a gift from our rainy winters and a symbol of transition into spring. It’s no accident that these health-supporting herbs are a part of spring’s bounty, as our bodies are meant to be nourished in harmony with the Earth’s seasons.

Known as “the season of renewal,” spring is the perfect time to support our liver, kidneys, and lymphatic systems, as these systems tend to have less flow and more stagnation over the winter season. While spring feels full of opportunity in growth, it can also be curtailed by congestion, seasonal allergies, and other seasonal stressors. When crafting any herbal and self-care protocol, it’s important to keep in mind the season’s elements and their effect on your body. Below are some simple and effective herbal practices to prepare and support you this spring, brought to you by our herbalists at Traditional Medicinals.

Love your liver. Dandelion is a robust bitter that supports the kidneys, liver, and the digestive system as a whole.* The leaves make a wonderful herbal diuretic, helping to relieve occasional water retention by supporting the kidneys and their flushing of excess waste. Try it in our Dandelion Leaf & Root and EveryDay Detox® Dandelion teas, or create your own Citrus Spiced Dandelion Bitters.

Craft simple and lighter meals. As we move from the cold and damp to longer and warmer days, our diets should honor the seasonal shift. Try infusing spring greens like dandelion into your juice ritual and swapping your heartier fare with lighter, simple dishes like Astragalus Miso Immunity Soup, herbal congee, or kitchari.

Support your lymphatic system. This often overlooked highway system of the body is fundamental to immune function and the absorption of nutrients. Our lymphatic system works hard to cleanse the body as well, which is why supporting it with lymphagogues—herbs that support lymph flow—is fundamental during the springtime. Consider using herbs like cleavers and burdock, featured in our Every Day Detox® Lemon tea.

Invest in body work. Winter dormancy can promote stagnation and a lack of flow, particularly in regards to our lymphatic system. Try investing some time into self-care massage routines at home to move your lymph, or by going to a local body worker. Enhance the ritual with herbal oils, like calendula to promote a healthy glow or arnica for musculoskeletal health.*

Spend time planning your garden. Create herbal medicines from the ground up by growing plants from cuttings. Or if it’s still too cold where you’re living, try bringing the green inside in preparation for warmer days ahead.

Learn how to identify spring greens. Make your hike more interesting by bringing along an herbal field guide. This season you may find spring greens and wildflowers, but eventually you’ll notice the ebb and flow of each season and fall into alignment with your local ecosystem.

Celebrate the shift in the seasons. Usher in the return of light, creativity, and abundance by cleaning your home, nurturing seedlings, or painting eggs—an ancient symbol of fertility. Find out why the Romans considered the spring equinox the beginning of the New Year.

Adopt a healthy view on detox. Your body isn’t toxic. While everyone seems to have their version of “the” detox diet, we don’t. We believe our bodies are powerful and fundamentally self-healing, sometimes we just need help from the plants.

And finally, “When in doubt, use nettle.” That’s what our Chief Formulator, Medical Herbalist David Hoffman always says. Nettle is an earthy spring tonic that’s been used for over 2,000 years to support joint health and promote whole body wellness.*

Wishing you all a happy spring!

Posted in Plants on March 22, 2017