Gentle Spring Detox Herbs


Nettles

Nettles

By Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) & Author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians.

After a harsh winter, signs of spring are finally appearing as the earth turns green again and life seems to burst with new possibilities. Herbs known as spring tonics are used now to cleanse the body and help us move from the contraction of winter into the expansion and growth of spring. Many of the best spring tonics just happen to also be the first wild greens, or weeds, that pop up everywhere. You may have already noticed violet, dandelion, chickweed, yellow dock, nettles and others that herald the arrival of spring.

What these plants have in common is that they gently simulate all of the organs of detoxification: the lymph glands; liver; kidneys; and skin. Think of spring tonics as seasonal house cleaners that scour away toxins and waste from every nook and cranny in the body, making everything fresh and new.

Some people embark on a juice fast in the spring as a way to eliminate toxins, but since fasting isn’t appropriate for everyone, tonic herbs are a good alternative. If you’ve been ill recently, have been or are taking medications, or are not able to devote the time needed each day to prepare special foods, you can still reap significant benefits this spring using herbal spring tonics.

Spring tonics should be made into a tea, or infusion daily. To prepare a therapeutic infusion, steep one ounce (by weight) of dried herb, or 2 ounces of fresh herb (gently crushed with a wooden spoon), in 32 ounces (by volume) of freshly boiled water for at least an hour, covered. Strain out the herb and discard. Try to drink 1 quart each day. A one-quart canning jar is perfect for preparing tonic infusions.

Here are a two common spring tonics for you to consider. If you can gather them from an unpolluted place, the wild herbs are the best, but both of the herbs described here are also readily available from herb shops and on-line herb suppliers.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioca) strengthens and supports the entire body. It gently detoxifies all tissues. Considered a blood-cooling herb, it is a specific for anyone with eczema, acne, boils or other hot, eruptive skin conditions. Stinging nettle is a delicious wild green (when cooked) that is rich in chlorophyll, vitamin C, and other vitamins. Use the leaves in place of spinach.

Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) is a general tonic that relieves liver congestion. Symptoms associated with liver congestion include migraine headaches, pre-menstrual syndrome, breast tenderness, breast cysts, and chronic constipation. The leaves are also a wonderful spring tonic when eaten raw in salads.

Patricia HowellPatricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) is a clinical herbalist with more than 20 years experience and the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. A member of the Governing Council of the American Herbalists Guild, she is founder and director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies, located in the mountains of northeast Georgia.

Learn more at www.wildhealingherbs.com.

 

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