Hello Beautiful One. Happy Spring Equinox to you. I delivered a turkey carcass to the wild animals last night and stood in my garden, that has two feet of snow. Thank you for the water! It's my time to whisper to the sleeping but stirring roots and seeds of plants I'm longing pretty deeply for this time of year. Our beloved wood stove, considered a family member here, is still blazing away and such a blessing. My beautiful southern friends are posting Magnolia and daffodil flowers and my whole body wants to crawl through the pic to just peer into the flowers and sit in the sun with them in receptive pose. It's coming, I know. Our bodies know this too and stir as the roots and seeds do. Tiny shimmies and shakes are happening. Can you feel it?
So what is your body saying?
Maybe all is great. Or maybe you've noticed yourself struggling with frequent colds or flus this late in the season, digestive discomfort and GI system trouble, skin outbreaks or mysterious rashes, deep fatigue that comes over you rapidly, cobra dancing with feeling depressed, anxious, or angry with mood swings, sleep trouble, or maybe menstrual irregularity for us women? Our bodies begin the spring cleaning now on the metabolic level and we can join in and help with a few simple remedies from your new or expanding home apothecary. Here's a few herbal and food-as-medicine ideas to support the full swing of Spring.
Medicinal Roots Still Rule
While we need the roots to prepare for winter, we also lean on them for leaving winter and preparing for spring. The following formula is an old favorite of mine but working with any one of these root medicines will do. The body needs a medicine that can dig down deeper into not only our tissues, but also our complicated physiology and psyche, which may also be a bit complicated these days. Taking this 'Hepatic Holy Trinity' formula is a beautiful yet simple master plan for us folks learning to slow down more so we can work and play our lives in a different way. Finding a new rhythm, yes, can look like listening to the cycles of Nature. We all welcome the grounding medicine of the roots too as we release what is no longer needed and strengthen our readiness for the increased activity of the season ahead. Preparation and deep rest with supportive plants is part of the medicine. There are many activities in life that require similar care 'before and after'. Working with winter on many levels and the medicine of the North on the medicine wheel is included in this. Keep this formula in your medicine bag for support down the road.
Hepatic Holy Trinity Formula
This simple formula supports eliminations, digestion, liver and gall bladder health, renal function, and the recycling of hormones for the endocrine system to support sleep and hormonal shifts that are synchronized and smooth. I have found this to be particularly helpful with eliminating excessive systemic estrogen as well, an epidemic in our culture due to many causes that are more than 'menopause'. It's not just for women anymore.
1 part each of Dandelion root, Yellowdock Root, and Burdock root.
-Tincture fresh or died fall dug roots are perfect and these three are usually found growing near each other. Dried root is fine to tincture as well if that is all you have access to. Since a tincture takes at least 2 months to get ready, see the next option.
- If you don't have these in house then purchase a 1 ounce tincture of each and mix them together and take until the bottle is gone.
- Making a decoction with dried roots is easy and may be more cost effective. Purchase 2 ounces of each and mix together in a glass jar and label. Add 2-3 tablespoons to a quart of simmering water and simmer with lid ajar for 20 minutes. Cool a bit and enjoy. Continue for a few weeks until the herbs are gone. Store the decoction in the refrigerator and warm on stove each day for your dosing.
- Try making a spring tonic syrup with the dried herbs. (link below on how)
Dosages: as a tonic take two droppersful (60 drops or ¼ tsp) tincture 1-3x/day; 6-8oz. root decoction per day; 1-2 tablespoons syrup per day. I take the higher doses. Take at night a few hours after food intake. Go to bed early.
Food as Medicine
This formula and variations of it are well known and very easy and efficient for supporting the Liver and Gall Bladder, particularly during seasonal shifts. The recipe is basically a delicious salad dressing and has a wonderful refreshing effect upon the Liver and Gall Bladder. One can drink it periodically as a Liver/Gall Bladder tonic or taken every day for a week as part of a Liver & Gall Bladder flush prior to or after fasting or for tuning up through the seasonal changes. When I prepare for plant dieting and spiritual retreat I will enjoy this for about a week prior. Plan to drink it in the evening or when you’re settling in for the night as this is “rest and digest” food. I make sure I have an empty stomach or haven’t eaten in at least 4 hours. I absolutely love this formula and have enjoyed this for decades now. Not all medicine has to be horrible tasting.
Liver & Gall Bladder Flush
A Short Laundry List
Other supportive ideas for embracing what 'appears' to be a slow spring:
Now lists are just that, lists. This one does not require that we do everything, which could be quite enjoyable but yes, hard to execute. Choose one edible support idea and one pleasurable external idea if that seems easier to embark upon. You can always pick more as long as the stress factor is reduced. You get it.
What else works for you? I love hearing about other delicious ways to support this seasonal shift we crave. We're in this together. Thank you for sharing.
May your journey be safe and beautiful. xo-Jen
Is this your year to engage your inner herbalist?
Take a leap just for you. I did and I'm venturing into a new part of the music world and it's hard and sometimes I find myself shying away from my study time. Getting back on path is a regular practice for us all, right? Here's to trusting you and putting your whole self into it!
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Jennifer Costa, Herbalist-RN, Teacher, BS, EM-CST, and Founder of ElderMoon School of Herbs & Earth Medicine