HERBS FOR SPRING RENEWAL
Spring is the natural time to cleanse, detox, and refresh after a long winter season of extra hours inside, less movement, and heavier foods. Winter’s quiet hibernation time is a reflection of the cycle of the seasons and has many benefits of its own. However, as winter draws to a close, we may feel sluggish, stagnant, and congested.
Spring awakens the longing for new beginnings, refreshment, and the feeling of lightness and energy embodied in the budding flowers and blossoming trees. Natural cleansing and detoxification do not need to involve harsh protocols. It embraces lifestyle practices and herbal allies that will support the body’s natural detoxification organs and processes as it wakes up after a season of quiet. Nurturing and supporting these channels of cleansing and detoxification encourages the removal of toxins and waste products, which may help cleanse and re-energize the body, boosting overall wellbeing.
The liver is the body’s primary detoxification pathway. It is constantly filtering toxins and metabolic wastes out of the blood before it enters the rest of the body. Alterative herbs such as alfalfa leaf, burdock root, dandelion root, nettle leaf, and yellow dock root support detox and tonify body tissues. Bitter herbs such as angelica and gentian stimulate digestive secretions and support the liver’s natural detoxification function. Hepatic herbs such as barberry root, milk thistle seed, Oregon grape root, and schizandra berry, increase bile flow and protects overall function. Consuming warming herbs and spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne, and ginger rids the body of excess dampness and encourages body balance.
Liver-Loving Spring Salad with Nettle Vinaigrette Recipe
- 1 handful dandelion leaves
- 1 handful chickweed aerial parts
- 1 handful violet leaves
- 10 violet flowers
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground milk thistle seed
- dried nettle
- apple cider vinegar with the mother like Bragg
- 3 parts cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
- 1 part nettle vinegar
- fresh herbs of choice, minced 2-4 tablespoons per cup of dressing
- Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Fill a clean, dry glass jar ¼ full of dried nettle leaf. Pour enough apple cider vinegar to fill the jar, ensuring nettle leaf is covered by a couple of inches. Cover the jar with a small piece of parchment paper and cap with a lid. Let this mixture sit in a cool, dark location for 3-6 weeks and shake occasionally. Check the jar occasionally and add extra vinegar as needed. Strain and reserve the nettle-infused vinegar to use in the vinaigrette dressing. If stored properly in a cool, dark cabinet, the Nettle Vinegar should last a year.
Nettle Vinaigrette Ingredients
- Combine all ingredients in a clean, glass jar. Shake well, label, and store in the fridge. Add olives, nuts, citrus, garlic, celery, or shallots. The options are unlimited!
~~ Ginger Winn