Ah Spring! The season for new beginnings. With everything going on in the world right now, it seems like a good time to clean body and home. We have spent most of the winter storing and building to stay warm and healthy. But now it's time to let go of things we have been holding onto and start anew. Cleansing can be rejuvenating for physical, mental and spiritual well being.
Some good reasons for cleansing include improved immune system, clear skin, slow aging, energy, weight loss, vitality and enhanced consciousness. Almost everyone can benefit from cleansing, and it may be time for you if you have fatigue, headaches, sluggishness, allergies, acne, anger or depression.
It's helpful to plan ahead of time and make an individualized program for yourself. Plan ahead foods that are fuel for your body and that you actually enjoy. Incorporate time for exercise and deep breathing. Drink lots of water with lemon and plan time for self care, rest, sleep, mediation, journaling, outdoors etc. If it feels overwhelming to add all of these things just start simple and go from there. Making time for you will have a huge impact on a how you feel and can help you create and get things done with ease.
Spring is the season to focus on the Liver as it is the largest and metabolically diversified organ in the body. One of its primary functions is cleaning toxins and waste from our blood. The blood that runs through our bodies is like the rivers and streams that nourish the Earth. When the Liver is overloaded it cannot detox the blood appropriately and it becomes polluted with toxins. Clean healthy blood is essential for supplying oxygen, food, hormones and immune defense cells to the body. Overeating, drugs, alcohol, can all effect how well the liver functions. Fasting, intermittent fasting, juice cleanses are some just some ways to improve the quality of the Liver. Here is a simple liver flush I do every spring since studying at the Dandelion Herbal Center.
1/2 cup fresh orange juice 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup water 1-2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp olive oil.
Mix all ingredients in blender, drink first thing in the morning, follow with 1-2 cups tea (equal parts fennel, flax, and fenugreek) wait at least one hour before eating. Repeat for 5-10 consecutive days.
Good foods for the liver: Beets, parsley, nettle, dandelion, seaweeds, miso, sprouts, carrots, lemon water, dark leafy greens, lemons, apples, cherries (alkalizing foods)
Avoid: sugar, alcohol, coffee, fried foods, additives, preservatives, smoking, drugs, stress, anger, overeating.
Formulas for the Liver
Liver Tonic: 1 pt dandelion root and leaf, 1 pt burdock root, 1 pt yellow dock root, 1 pt chickweed herb, 1/2 pt garlic.
Nutritive Liver Tonic: 2 pts Red clover blossoms, 2 pts Nettle, 1 pt alfalfa leaf, 3 pts peppermint, 2 pts lemon balm, 1/2 part parsley.
Spring Liver Tonic 3: 8 oz dandelion root tea, 1 medium beet, 1 carrot, 1 inch ginger, 1/2 lemon. Prepare tea and allow to cool. Juice remaining ingredients and mix with chilled tea.
Liver Tonic Stimulant: Hot or cold lemonade sweetens with maple syrup, pinch of Cayenne.
Bitters: 2 tbsp dandelion, 2 tbsp chamomile, 2 tbsp orange, 1 tbsp burdock, 1 cup vodka or brandy. Macerate for 4-6 weeks. Strain. 3-5 drops directly on tongue 10 min before meals to stimulate digestion.
Healthy Liver Salad : Organic greens, chickweed, dandelion greens, grated beets, grated burdock root. finely chopped raw garlic. toss with fresh lime juice and extra virgin olive oil or herb infused ACV.
Herbal support with alteratives and hepatics
Yellow dock, burdock, dandelion, oregon grape, chicory, wild yam. sassafras, golden seal, artichokes. gentian. mugwort, milk thistle, beets, turmeric, calendula, garlic, fennel, red clover, plantain, nettle, chickweed.
Caution: Pregnancy or weakened states do not cleanse. These states would be a time for building not eliminating. When consuming bitters use caution in pregnancy, kidney stones, gallbladder disease, dysmenorrhea, hernia, ulcers, gastritis.
The Science and Art of Herbalism by Rosemary Gladstar
Dandelion Herbal Center by Jane Bothwell
Staying Healthy with the Seasons by Elson M. Haas
Alchemical Herbalism by Sajah Popham
Herbal Support for Spring by Herbal Academy