It can feel like night and day: the slower winter mode of short, cozy days suddenly shifts into an energized spring rush of opportunity. Making the transition from winter to spring is pleasant but can also be an adjustment for your body. Including herbs in your daily routine may support seasonal change and make the most of this passage.*
The use of alterative herbs, whose plant actions have historically been thought to support and awaken the body’s elimination channels, eases the natural shift from winter’s sleepy hibernation to one of new growth, life, and fortitude.* Adopting a cycle of herbal “spring cleaning” as we transition to warmer, brighter, longer days may support seasonal wellness and help maintain overall well-being.*
Season Shifts: Plants & People
As winter nears, leaves and above ground plant parts wither away, sending nutrition to roots for storage, allowing plants to survive a harsh winter. When spring comes, that stored root energy propels new growth, allowing for another season of life. When people use herbal roots in the springtime, they may be tapping into this natural cycle of renewal. There are many examples of this in traditional herbalism practices:
In Russia, people traditionally combine Rhodiola rosea root and Rhaponticum carthamoides root as spring detoxification support.* These roots are typically taken in decoction (the liquid resulting from concentrating the essence of a substance by heating or boiling) form for several weeks during the spring.*
Here in the U.S., Eclectic Physicians, physicians considered eclectic in the sense that they promoted whatever worked best for their patients including plant-based herbal supplements and homeopathy, often used roots like Dandelion, Burdock, Yellow Dock and Iris for spring cleansing support.* Traditionally, Dandelion roots are thought to support healthy detoxification, healthy elimination, and digestive function.* Burdock root is a traditional alterative herb believed to support springtime renewal and help maintain liver, lymph, and skin health.* Yellow Dock, naturally high in plant-based iron, is a very traditional spring cleansing herb, thought to have an action on healthy digestive function and gut motility.*
In traditional Ayurveda, Turmeric has been thought to support the body’s natural detoxification pathways.* As a functional food, it is easy to work versatile Turmeric into a smoothie, juice, tea, Golden Milk or food.* Historically, herbalists have considered Turmeric to be a bitter herb, and as such believe it supports healthy bile production, thus supporting healthy digestion and elimination.*
Why Cleanse & Detox?
Detox is more than going on a cleanse, because your body should be supporting a healthy detoxification process all the time. Benefits of a healthy detoxification process may include a well-balanced mood, optimized energy levels, overall resilience, and a healthy digestion process.
Herbal detoxification support may also be complemented by the following activities:
- Adding ½ to 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to water before meals or a detox supporting tea, such as Cleanse & Detox tea from Gaia Herbs. Speaking of tea, Walter Crinnion, ND, who spent much of his professional career supporting individuals through the cleanse and detox process, also looks to Green Tea for its everyday wellness benefits.*
- Oil pulling first thing in the morning. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing oil in your mouth to remove bacteria and maintain oral health.
- Daily skin brushing, which involves brushing the skin with a soft but firm brush, to help exfoliate dead skin and support overall skin health is a popular detox practice.
- Ending a shower with cold water. Yes, cold water does more than make hair shiny. Cold water is believed to support recovery and help skin from losing natural oils.
Enjoy these weeks as the cold weather gives way to warmer air and sunnier days, and consider supporting your body with traditional herbalism to make the most of this seasonal shift.