If you have been bitten by the spring cleaning bug, you are not alone! As soon as the signs of spring start appearing, everyone around you gets the urge to rid their homes of dirt and clutter, pack up the winter clothes, and welcome the light, fresh, clean energy of spring.
Why limit this rejuvenation to just your home? After a long winter, your body and mind are in need of some serious spring cleaning as well! Just like your home, your body is cluttered and weighed down by winter, and requires some airing out. Herbs are, as always, the perfect solution.
With certain herbs, you can help your body rid itself of built-up metabolic wastes, toxins, and excess fat.
These beauties grow right in your front yard, and as long as you live away from heavy traffic and the plants haven’t been sprayed by pesticides or fertilizers, you can pick yourself some dandelion leaves. Small, young leaves are less bitter, and go great in a smoothie or salad. If you can’t stand the taste, you can also find dandelion root or leaf tea or capsules.
Dandelion is a diuretic, so it quickly removes wastes from the body. Because it is a bitter herb, it stimulates the digestive system, causing it to digest food more efficiently. Your liver and kidneys will breathe a sigh of relief! Dandelion leaves are also chock-full of minerals and vitamins.
Nettles are a great source of vitamins, trace minerals, and iron. They have stores of calcium and magnesium, and can also clean metabolic waste from the blood and act as a diuretic, helping the kidneys and urinary system filter and cleanse. Nettles are best consumed in a tea or capsule.
Be sure to wear gloves while collecting nettles, and steep, steam, or dry leaves before use. They are called “stinging nettles” for a reason, and this will remove the sting.
The flowers (not the leaves) of red clover help support the liver, cleanse the blood, and can act as an immune system booster. It can help prevent illness and infection, help boost fertility, reduce symptoms of menopause, and act as a remedy for coughs and respiratory system congestion.
Red clover flowers are a nice addition to salads or can be taken as a tincture.
Alfalfa is one of the most nutrient-dense herbs due to its far-reaching roots. The roots grow deeper in the soil than most plant roots, allowing it to access nutrients that other plants can’t reach. Aside from the nutrients, alfalfa is also used as a tonic for the liver and digestive system.
You can eat the sprouts in a salad or brew the leaves in tea.
Last but not least, burdock is a great herb for general, overall cleansing. Burdock helps the body detox; it cleans the blood, strengthens the immune system, and helps clear congestion in the skin, liver, and joints.
Burdock can be taken as a tea or the roots can be added to soups or sauted with other veggies. It can also be found in capsule form.