Herbal spring tonics

Haven't these last few days been wonderful? The sun feels warm and the air has that distinctive scent of spring. This is the time of year when many of us begin to think of spring housecleaning or spring yardwork -- anything to get us outside, or the outside inside. Nothing smells sweeter than sheets or curtains that have been aired or dried on the line outside, or to come inside after a day's worth of yard work all tingly and invigorated from the physical work in the fresh air.

Okay, so much for the house and the yard, what about some spring cleaning for our bodies? We've had a couple of seasons of eating heavier foods, meats, grains, sweet things from all the holidays, and the pounds that sometimes go with it -- time to clean house here too!

Nature has a wonderful way of handing us what we need just when we need it. As an example, many of our prolific springtime weeds make perfect spring tonics that cleanse and flush the liver and blood of excesses.

Dandelion is one of the best spring tonics for cleansing the blood and the liver. Fresh young dandelion greens in salads, steamed, or in light soups not only cleanse, they taste good! Dandelion is also good for the digestion, helps rid the body of excess salt and water, and is good for iron-deficiency anemia. The root is also effective especially for balancing blood sugar.

Some other good springtime herbs are:

Burdock: Revered as nature's best blood purifier. Today, herbalists still recommend this herb for its diuretic action -- increasing the flow of urine and promotes sweating. Also relieves the soreness of arthritis and rheumatism.

Plantain: Useful for flushing the kidneys and helps the secretion of urine acid. Its phytochemicals have antiinflammatory and anti allergic properties.

Parsley: claimed to be the third most nourishing plant on the planet. Parsley is a course in vitamin therapy all by itself, containing vitamin A, more vitamin C per volume than an orange, several B vitamins, calcium and iron. Use this herb in very small amounts only.

Red Clover: Traditionally, the blossoms from this plant were used as a tonic taken in the spring to promote good health and peace of mind. Currently, traditional medicine is looking at red clover for its use in treatment of tumors and cancers when combined with other indigenous north American herbs like slippery elm and sheep sorrel.

So this spring, when you're cleaning up the house and the yard, remember not to overlook your body's needs for house cleaning. Herbs always work best when combined with a cleaner diet and pure water. Also, and very importantly, do not to use plants that have been chemically sprayed.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online April 3, 2001

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