Spring Fasts and Bitter Herbs
It springtime and I'm doing some cleaning, hoeing out piles of stuff I should have dealt with over winter and otherwise making "the nest" fresh and new in the spirit of spring! At the same time I'm thinking about cleaning the house, I am thinking about a whole body cleaning, too.
I've gained that extra 5 pounds of insulation over winter and thinking lighter in anticipation of hiking and biking and breaking out of the 4 walls of inside living and more sedentary work. There are a number of strategies I can use for priming the system as we approach the warmer weather. Mine will be combining some spring fasting with cleansing foods and herbs. It's a natural cycle that I use spring and fall, to do some internal housekeeping and maintain a healthy immunity.
Lemon & Olive Oil has always been a good one for me. This is a 3-day effort starting on Day 1 with a half fresh lemon squeezed into a tablespoon of olive oil, whipped to combine and drunk down. (You can use a little honey or maple syrup if you absolutely cannot deal with the sourness of the lemon); but the sourness is part of the effect of stimulating the taste cells of the tongue to activate liver, gallbladder and kidneys to release built up matter in their tubes and portals for elimination. Do this first thing in the morning and then drink good, clean liquids for the rest of the day, like water with or without cleansing veggie slices like cucumber or celery, cilantro or arugala, and herbal teas or vegetable broths. Herbal teas are excellent; especially one of the liver cleansing teas that have bitter herbs like dandelion, yellow dock, and burdock which continue over the day to cleanse the liver and kidneys. Staying away from coffee and caffeinated tea is a good idea. Do this for two days and on Day 3 wait an hour after the lemon/olive oil cleanse and begin eating good, simple, raw or steamed vegetables; millet, quinoa, buckwheat or kasha perhaps with some herbal butter for flavor or a mix of salad greens and fresh raw veggies with a vinagerette dressing. On Day 4 you can begin eating normally again but focus on redesigning your meals away from the heavier winter fare to the lighter summer fare of grass fed meats, nuts, good fresh fruits & veggies and lighter on the carbs. You will find your energy level is improved; as what you have essentially done is strengthened the organs that filter toxic waste and allowed them to rest from strenuous duty. Some people like to do this fast 4x a year - every 3 months.
A 3-Day Water Fast is another simple fast and one that most people can do easily. Drink good water in which you can also put some cucumber or celery or cilantro in for flavor and additional cleansing. The good thing about a more complete fast for 3 days is that it helps your body recycle old, decaying cells. Your body will look for these old cells to "ingest" for whatever protein there is to replace the lack of food during this time, and eliminate whatever cannot be used in the waste stream. This actually triggers your body's stem cells to produce new cells to replace them so that you get a cleanout at the cellular level. Good way to keep ahead of any cell mutations that can cause disease.
Once the fasting is complete look for the bitter herb teas and cleansing herbs that you can add to your spring dishes, salads and sauces. The following list is NOT all inclusive but are some of the common ones. Interestingly enough, a lot of these are the culinary herbs that you have in your kitchen. If you grow your own, keep them and dry them through the winter, their viability in the spring should still be excellent.
Nutritive: Parsley, alfalfa, cilantro, radiccio, radish, celery,
Cleansing: Hyssop, Horseradish, nettles
Liver: Milk Thistle, dandelion, yellow dock, burdock
Kidneys: Asparagus, parsle, pippsisewa, spring violets
Immunity: Sage, tumeric, ginger, basil, cinnamon, red pepper
If you are a wildcrafter and like to look for the herbs growing around you, springtime is the time when the bitters are poking their heads out of the ground. If you watched where they were growing the prior summer, you will be able to go looking for them before the foliage really begins to hide them. Adding spring leaves to salad greens makes a nice change, while adding healing nutrition as well.
Dandelion greens, Burdock root from 2nd year plants, violet leaves and flowers, plantain, dogtooth violet leaves and flowers are a few common ones here in the Northeast that are easy to identify and find. If you don't fertilize and herbicide your lawn, you may just find a lot of these right out your front door.
Be well and happy cleansing!!
3/15/2022 06:06:08 am
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Over 40 years of Herbal and nutritional experience.