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It's officially spring, and we know that while some of you are enjoying blossoms and warming temperatures, some of you are still deep in snow!
Whether your region is blooming or you need some inspiration to get you through the last weeks of a long winter, we thought you'd enjoy a list of spring tonic herbs and suggestions on how to work them into your diet.
What does spring tonic mean?
Spring tonic herbs are plants that help revive your body, especially after a sedentary winter of less-than-optimal eating. These herbs are among the first to arrive on the spring scene, and are very helpful in cleansing the body of toxins and in shedding excess water. They contain key vitamins, and can be a versatile and healthy addition to your diet. Think of it as spring cleaning for your system!
What are some spring tonic herbs?Dandelions: This unfairly maligned herb is a nutritional powerhouse and remedy for many ailments. The root can be used to eliminate toxins, treat liver congestion, increase bile production, and help weak digestion. As a tea or tincture, dandelion can be used for jaundice, anemia, and skin blemishes; and as a poultice for breast tenderness, cysts, or plugged milk ducts. The entire dandelion plant is edible, and higher in vitamins and minerals (especially Vitamin A) than most foods. Motherlove founder, Kathryn Higgins, writes in her Pocket Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants, “This recognizable plant is so beneficial that I don’t understand where it got its bad reputation. Instead of eradicating this useful plant we should all be enjoying its beauty and many uses.”
Nettle: As a rich source of iron, calcium, folic acid, and Vitamin K, this spring tonic is loaded with nutrition and strengthens many body systems including the kidneys and adrenals. It can be used as a treatment for arthritis, anemia, skin problems, urinary tract infections, small kidney stones, hay fever symptoms, and even as a hair rinse to control dandruff and make hair more glossy. As a tea (see photo above), nettle blends well with other herbs like mint and lemon balm. Always cook nettles before eating them, as this removes the sting from the plant. We use this versatile herb in a number of our products to support your milk supply, including More Milk Plus and More Milk Special Blend.
Chickweed: Like the dandelion, chickweed is considered by some to be a nuisance but is in fact, a nutritional gem. It has been used to treat many ailments including constipation, stomach and bowel problems, blood disorders, psoriasis, itching, and muscle and joint pain. Chickweed is rich in B vitamins and iron, and thought to cool inflammation. As a delicious spring tonic herb, chickweed is easy to serve in salads and smoothies, or as a cooked green side dish.
Burdock: Used for centuries as a “blood purifier” to clear the bloodstream of toxins, burdock is a diuretic – helping the body to shed excess water. It has relatively strong antioxidant activity, and even has prebiotic properties that support the good bacteria in your digestive system. Used topically, burdock is excellent for easing skin problems. We've written about its uses for plugged ducts, engorgement, and iron deficiency.How can I consume these spring tonic herbs?
There are many ways to work spring tonic herbs into your diet. Try consuming* them:
*Always cook nettles before consuming them.