Spring is the air and so are the seasonal changes in our bodies. In winter–especially in cold regions of the world–we are often consuming heavier, richer foods, less fresh fruits and vegetables, and participating in less movement overall. This can lead to stagnation within our digestive tracts and other pathways of elimination. Without proper elimination we can experience digestive upset, lethargy, skin issues, hormonal imbalances, and much more. Spring is a great time to support your body’s natural detoxification pathways to help flush out unwanted “debris”, increase energy levels, and give your body the deep nutrition it needs.
Stepping outside, one of the first herbal signs of spring are the pop of vibrant spring nettles, feathery yarrow leaves, or wild onions like ramps. Spring herbs are an incredible ally to support the liver in doing its job to remove unwanted toxins, break down nutrients so they can be utilized by the body, or one of the other almost 300 key functions your liver performs.
Beyond herbs, including more sour and bitter flavors into your diet further supports moving waste along and out of the body. Some of my favorite sour foods include citrus fruits (lemon, grapefruit, tangerine), ACV (apple cider vinegar), and naturally fermented sauerkraut or kimchi. Notable bitter foods include dandelion greens, radicchio, kale, arugula, broccoli raab, and even dark chocolate.
Key Herbs for “Spring Cleaning”
Herbs are key to supporting the body’s natural detoxification systems and helping to bring us back to balance. Spring is one of my favorite times for a “detox” reset so I can meet the energizing buzz that comes with the weather changes.
Chlorella is nutrient dense algae that contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals. Particularly, it contains Vitamin D and B12 which are essential vitamins often absent in plants. In addition to their incredible nutrient content, seaweeds assist our detoxification pathways through heavy toxin removal. Modern society comes with its fair share of heavy metal toxins exposure which can lead to an array of health risks – so better out than in!
Burdock + Dandelion Root
Two nutritive roots that are considered excellent spring tonics are burdock and dandelion roots. The roots were used traditionally as detoxification aids, digestive tonics, and liver restoratives. They are both considered alternative herbs–alterative herbs improve our processes of elimination through the blood and other pathways like urination, skin, and bowels. Burdock and dandelion contain the prebiotic fiber inulin which feeds our good gut bacteria to help get our digestive system back on track. Dandelion leaves grow readily in yards in the springtime and are often available at local supermarkets. They are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and thiamine as well as calcium, copper, manganese, and iron!
Schisandra berry is an adaptogen that offers unique detoxification benefits beyond that of most adaptogenic herbs. Its sour and bitter properties help aid digestion and overall liver function. In traditional Chinese medicine, it has been considered a hepatoprotective herb for nearly 2,000 years. Recent studies have also shown its potential for supporting the liver from damage. The berries' high antioxidant content can help to improve skin moisture and tone, aid in wound healing, and soothe irritations. In addition, the high vitamin C content of the berries can help to stimulate collagen production in the body. So whether your liver needs a little extra love from alcohol use, hormone imbalances, improper diet (like too much sugar) schisandra berries have your back.
If you are looking for a blend for detoxification support, Clean Sweep is packed with plants that help support all the body's detoxification systems. It was formulated to be used daily and contains most of the plants above that have been shown to optimize liver function and support healthy metabolism. Otherwise, single herbs and other blends containing these herbs can take you where you want to be.