Spring is about cleaning. The April rains wash away the dirt and grime from the winter, people emerge in fresh, light clothing, we tackle the stacks of papers on our desks, sweep out dust and clutter, open the windows to allow fresh air to ventilate our lives and donate old, knobbing winter sweaters to charity. Spring is also the season of the Liver and Gallbladder in Chinese Medicine. This means that our body’s ability to clean revs itself up at this time of year as well. Some wonderful plants also push their way through the ground. Pick some from your garden and start throwing them into everything you eat. Spring is in the air!
1) Dandelion Greens: Taraxicum officinalis, or dandelion, as it’s affectionately called, is more than just some weed to pull up from your yard. Dandelion leaves contain urinary tonifying properities, helping to rid the body of excess fluids and increase the health of the bladder and kidneys. Dandelion root is a powerful liver detoxifier and the bitter properties of both the root and leaves aid digestion. Add some dandelion to your smoothies and salads or use the leaves to make a digestion-enhancing tea.
2) Cilantro: This Latin American favourite helps bind heavy metals and other toxins in the body. A powerful blood-cleanser, it’s clean and spicy taste reminds me of happy days dining in the South American sun. Add some to smoothies, garnish your salad and soups or add to rice dishes.
3) Red Clover: Trifolium pratense is another common herb that can be found growing in fields. This herb has lymphatic properties, improving circulation and is a depurative, containing blood-cleansing properties. It also balances female hormones and purifies the skin. Boil some of the flower for tea, add to your smoothie or create a salve and apply it topically to skin to treat conditions like acne or eczema.
4) Nettle: Urtica dioica is rich in iron and other nutrients. It helps heal the urinary tract and encourages detoxification through the urine and skin. Consume as a tea, or create an infusion by steeping in hot water and allowing to cool overnight, to create a refreshing green drink to sip throughout the day.
5) Artichoke: Cynara scolymus, or globe artichoke, is more than just a mediterranean food staple, it can help cleanse the liver. It also helps digestion by improving bile flow in the gallbladder. Add some artichoke hearts to salads, drizzle some in olive oil and add it to your favourite Italian dishes.
Want more on cleansing? For a personalized detoxification plan, book an appointment with your naturopathic doctor for a combination of herbs, detox treatments and dietary practices to help your body feel balanced again.