As the flowers awake after the cold days of winter, we often feel a nudge to embrace new growth and shed our winter coats. Spring is the natural time to cleanse, detox, and refresh after a long winter season of extra hours inside, less movement, and heavier foods. Spring’s arrival seems to awaken our longing for new beginnings and refreshment, and we crave the feeling of lightness and energy embodied in the budding flowers and blossoming trees.
In our newest FREE ebook, Herbal Support for Spring: How to Cleanse, Detox, and Refresh, we dive into the topic of spring cleansing and detoxing and how herbs can assist us during this seasonal renewal. We will look deeply at the custom of spring cleansing and examine how herbal and lifestyle practices can assist during this time. We’ll also look closely at 6 key herbs you can use to support your body during the spring season, and we offer 9 recipes that incorporate these herbs and help you refresh during the inspiring days of spring.
You can download this ebook for FREE right here: https://theherbalacademy.com/get-herbal-support-spring-ebook-herbal-academy/
While spring cleanses and detoxes may seem like a popular trend these days, this practice actually has its origins in a variety of ancient herbal traditions, two of which we’ll explore below.
Ancient Teachings on Spring Cleansing
Ayurveda teaches that spring is a time often dominated by kapha dosha. Kapha is comprised of earth and water and, thus, reflects the qualities of those elements, such as heavy, dense, moist, cool, and slow (Kent-Stoll, 2017). Even those who do not generally identify with kapha dosha may naturally accumulate more kapha over the course of the winter and into the beginning of spring. This is due to the nature of the season and the accompanying foods and activities that are often typical. Too much kapha can lead to imbalance, which may result in unpleasant, kapha-dominant symptoms. If you find yourself showing signs of kapha dominance (as listed below), a spring cleanse may be beneficial.
Concerns stemming from excess kapha include:
- Poor circulation
- Water retention
- Slow metabolism
- Sluggish digestion
- Excess mucus
Another reason for a spring cleanse or detox is the increase in seasonal allergies common at this time of year. Seasonal allergies often arise as flowers begin to bloom, causing many people to experience runny noses, congested sinuses, itchy and watery eyes, scratchy throats, and an abundance of sneezing. Thankfully, our herbal allies are here to provide support and ease this discomfort. Proper liver function can benefit these issues as well.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring brings focus to the liver. Spring is traditionally a time of release and renewal. The liver becomes more active during this season, filtering out stagnant waste and readying the body for the active season of summer. This hardworking organ removes toxins (e.g., pharmaceutical drugs, environmental contaminants), excess hormones, and metabolic waste products from the blood. Extra liver support during the transition from winter to spring may help improve the efficiency of the liver, improving the health and function of the body and feelings of wellbeing. A few herbs may even protect an overburdened liver from damage.
A Word on “Cleansing and Detoxing”
We should quickly mention that when we say “cleanse and detox,” we aren’t referring to harsh protocols or gimmicky quick-fix programs but rather embracing lifestyle practices and herbal allies that will support the body’s natural detoxification organs and processes as it wakes up after a season of quiet. Nurturing and supporting these channels of detoxification encourages the removal of toxins and waste products, which may help cleanse and re-energize the body, boosting our overall wellbeing.
One of the gentlest ways to “cleanse and detox” in the spring is by incorporating healthy dietary practices, like those mentioned below, into your daily life.
Dietary Practices for Spring Cleansing
Many dietary practices help take a load off the liver and support the organs of detoxification. These practices are a valuable part of cleansing and are extremely important for rejuvenation and refreshment. They pair well with helpful botanicals and form the foundation of an effective spring wellness routine.
Adding liver-loving foods and herbs to your diet on a daily basis is a wonderful way to support overall wellness while encouraging gentle cleansing and detoxification. The foods you consume throughout the spring season will impact your digestion, energy levels, skin health, and wellbeing in general. When it comes to detoxification and health, food is the foundation.
Bitter foods and herbs are especially supportive for the liver. Most people would benefit from consuming bitter herbs at each meal. Tasting bitters kick-starts a cascade of responses throughout the body that encourage healthy digestion.
In addition to consuming bitter foods and herbs, incorporate lighter foods into the diet and avoid heavy, oily foods. This is one way to move toward counterbalancing the heaviness of kapha. Lighter foods give the liver and digestive system a break, allow them to work on improving function and removing waste instead of breaking down heavy meals. Light foods include salads, sauteed greens, soups, daal, and kitchari.
With this in mind, we’d like to give you a sneak peek at one of 9 recipes inside of our free ebook, Herbal Support for Spring: How to Cleanse, Detox, and Refresh. Each of these recipes is designed to help you use herbal allies for spring cleansing and detoxing, and this is a great one to start with.
Milk Thistle Gomasio
One of the most well known hepatic herbs of spring is milk thistle (Silybum marianum). Milk thistle is a well-respected liver protector, milk thistle is considered useful in stoking the digestive fire of the liver, which is key in overall digestive function (Dass, 2013; Kent-Stoll, 2019b).
A simple way to add liver-loving herbs, such as milk thistle, to meals is to combine ground herbs and salt into a delicious flavoring for all kinds of food. You can use this blend in place of salt in all of your favorite recipes. Since milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seeds are best absorbed in ground form, this is a wonderful way to include them in your diet on a regular basis.
Milk Thistle Gomasio
225 g (8 oz) sesame (Sesamum indicum) seed
30 g (1 oz) milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seed
20 g (0.7 oz) dulse (Palmaria palmata) flakes or kelp
2 g (0.07 oz) calendula (Calendula officinalis) flower
4 g (0.1 oz) nettle (Urtica dioica) leaf
20 g (0.7 oz) sea salt (or other minimally refined salt)
- Carefully toast the sesame seeds on low-medium heat until they become fragrant.
- Grind everything together with a spice grinder, food processor, mortar and pestle, or suribachi.
- Bottle, label, and enjoy a teaspoonful at a time sprinkled on food!
The way we eat has a great impact on digestion and is sometimes the missing piece to feeling our best. We hope the information in this article has inspired you to incorporate herbs into your spring wellness regimen in an effort to lighten the body’s load from winter and to maximize the increased energy that accompanies the spring season.
Herbal Support for Spring: How to Cleanse, Detox, and Refresh
If you would like to learn more about the tradition of spring cleansing and detoxing, herbs that can be supportive during the spring season, and get your hands on some lovely herbal recipes to help you live well during spring, be sure to download our free ebook, Herbal Support for Spring: How to Cleanse, Detox, and Refresh!
This 64-page ebook is full of helpful herbal information, beautiful photos, and practical lifestyle tips to help you live your best life during spring. Enjoy!
You can download Herbal Support for Spring: How to Cleanse, Detox, and Refresh for free here: https://theherbalacademy.com/get-herbal-support-spring-ebook-herbal-academy/
Dass, V. (2013). Ayurvedic herbology East and West: A practical guide to ayurvedic herbal medicine. Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press.
Kent-Stoll, G. (2019b). Liver care 101: Key wellness practices for liver support. Retrieved from https://theherbalacademy.com/liver-care-101/