Wake up sleepy bear. The sun is beckoning you outside, the birds are chittering their morning greeting, and the spring greens are softening your steps as you emerge from your winter lair. It is time to shed the cold, dank quiet of winter, and take in the sensations of this seasonal shift: the scent of flowers blooming, bees buzzily beginning spring honey production, the taste of fresh mints and bitter spring greens on your tongue, and the warming sun filling your heart with happiness and hope.
We are entering the sweet season of spring, a time of awakening, renewal, growth, birth, movement, and detoxification. As with every season, herbal traditions abound in the spring. Liver and gallbladder support are the focus of this season as we awaken our digestive system with bitter and sour herb blends and replenish our minerals with nutrient-dense spring greens.*
Here’s what we’re stocking our apothecary shelves with this spring to do just that!
Stock your Kitchen with these Key Herbs
Whether you are watching the snow or rain absorb into the landscape, this winter water and the returning sun has welcomed our hearty, mineral-filled herbs to sprout. These edible spring greens are loaded with the flavors and nutrients our bodies need to rebuild and return to balance after a long winter. You can bring them into the kitchen and fold them into salad, pesto, garnishes and soup stocks, or preserve them for your apothecary.
Spring Greens and Edible Flowers
Here on the West Coast, herbs like wild onion (3 quarter leek), miner’s lettuce, cleavers, and chickweed are all scrumptious spring herbs with a short life cycle. Due to their short season, we herbalists like to harvest and preserve these herbs to ensure that we can enjoy their mineralizing tonic benefits all year long.* You can infuse them into vinegar, dry them for tea, or freeze their juice in ice cube trays. Also be sure to enjoy those longer-lasting edible spring herbs like dandelion, violet, nasturtium, nettle, spearmint, lemon balm, and plantain – all wonderful additions to a vibrant spring pesto! Missed harvesting them yourself? We’ve got you covered with organic spring teas like Nettle Leaf, Red Clover, Dandelion Leaf & Root, and Roasted Dandelion Root teas. You can also infuse many of these springtime herbs into oil for topical use!
Digestion-Stimulating Bitter Herbs
After a winter season of reduced flavor, fiber, and exercise, we can support the awakening of our digestion with bitter herbs. The bitter flavor has a powerful effect on digestion, igniting a fire throughout the digestive tract. A fun herbal challenge is to incorporate the bitter flavor via bitter greens like dandelion leaf, chicory, arugula, and endive into your diet! Check out our article Herbs & The Digestive System to see all of the benefits of using bitters, and incorporate bitters into your daily routine with Urban Moonshine’s Original, Calm Tummy & Maple digestive bitters.*
Lipid-Targeting Sour Flavors
Much like bitter, the sour flavor stimulates digestive juices that assist in the breakdown of fats. Try snacking on sour herbs like redwood and sheep sorrel, citrus peel, rose hips, schisandra berry, and hibiscus. You can also make herbal vinegars by infusing mineral-rich spring herbs into apple cider vinegar, and use them as a garnish for salads, or take them by the spoonful.
Spring sunshine and fresh air enliven the spirit and motivate many to do an annual spring cleaning. This spring, as you organize and clear those external spaces, don’t forget to also support your internal “housekeeping” organs. Bitter, sour, and fibrous herbs are wonderful to incorporate into a spring protocol. Allow our EveryDay Detox® teas to support you. EveryDay Detox® Dandelion stimulates the liver, EveryDay Detox® Schisandra Berry, promotes healthy liver function, and EveryDay Detox® Lemon promotes healthy skin, liver and kidney function.* Another great support product is Urban Moonshine’s Healthy Liver Bitters. Learn more about how herbs can support your spring detox by reading our article Herbs For Natural Detox.
With the blooming of fresh flowers and the dust clouds you’ll encounter with all that spring cleaning, you may need a little extra support. The combination of wellness benefits from nettles, immune support from reishi, drying astringency of elderflower, and bitter flavor from artichoke make Urban Moonshine’s Aller-Blast a great spring support blend to add to your apothecary.*
Build a Seasonal Herbal Library
Every herbalist has a well-stocked herbal library. Our books keep us inspired when creating medicinal meals and new herbal formulas. Each season we like to rotate books out to make room for seasonal classics. This way, the best practices for each season stay within arm’s reach. Here are some of our seasonal favorites to keep you feeling wild, well-fed, and well-read.
If there ever was a season for bitters, it’s spring! In this beautiful book, herbalists Guido Masé and Jovial King teach you how to get hands-on with nature and whip up your very own bitters creations from the plants around you. Keep it traditional with classic bitters recipes such as Angostura and Chamomile or step on the wild side with Rose Bitter and Vermont Maple bitters.
A colorful and insightful book that combines culinary herbalism with traditional herbal medicine making. This book empowers the individual to better know themselves through identifying their constitution, while also inspiring them to create healing rituals to achieve a balance every day. Loaded with delightful herbal treats for every season, you will find many enticing recipes to support you through this bountiful spring season.
A one-of-a-kind plant identification guide meets cookbook, with beautifully illustrated botanical identification pages, and herbal recipes that are useful for plugging in whichever wild spring edibles grow near you. Use these pages to hone your skills at basic traditional herbal practices like plant identification, and techniques for harvesting, storing, and drying your herbs.
As we awaken to spring, we awaken our senses to the ecology that surrounds us. Robin Wall Kimmerer, a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, writes of the interconnectedness we share with the natural world through the eyes of a scientist, mother, and woman. Allow her poignant perspective to breathe new life into your interaction with the natural world, as she reminds us of the ancient teachings of plants and animals.