Spring is here! As each and every year, we could count on it to abundantly bring its gifts again – our herbal friends, a lot of changes in the warmer, sweet-smelling air, and our chance for a proper spring cleaning.
In the great cycles of life, spring symbolically represents a time when we, as the nature around us, are born anew, young, tender, and full of ideas and potential for the upcoming months.
Many ancient traditions considered spring to be the time of ending/beginning of the year. Easter is a great example of this, with symbols like spring, eggs, and resurrection.
Yet, to be born again, we must first release the old parts that should stay in the old year and walk into the next cycle light and unburdened.
Spring Cleaning Herbal Detox
Spring cleaning is something we all have deeply embedded in our history, tradition, and memories.
Here in the Balkans, our mothers and grandmothers teach us to go through a specific process of spring cleaning. We welcome the golden rays of spring sun by opening all of the windows, washing all the clothes and bedding, blankets, pillows, as well as cleaning all the forgotten corners of the house.
Although this spring energy is beautiful and colorful, it can also be one of the most difficult times of the year.
This rising of energy and the lush vibrant world makes us want to jump to action and do everything at the same time.
Yet, we are still somewhat tired and heavy from the winter. We know all too well that these things take their toll: not moving enough, heavy, spicy, fatty foods that we consumed in an attempt to keep our bodies warm and hopefully make it strong enough to fight various winter viruses.
Especially now, with the additional worry and fears around the worldwide pandemic, this may have been a lot to take in, both physically and mentally.
Our bodies, as much as our minds, need some help to adjust to this new spring energy. We do much better with extra sleep, healthy food, and help from our herbal allies – the 3 best herbs for spring cleaning you will find below.
If we look into the wisdom of our ancestors and nature itself, what we’ll notice is that the herbs that are first to peek their heads in the spring are the ones that serve us best in the spring cleaning!
Spring was a difficult time in many ways, at least for our ancestors in the colder regions. The winter food was coming to an end, and it was still too early for the crops and gardens to yield any nourishment, so people relied on wild greens and foraging.
Isn’t nature amazing in its arrangement of cycles?
These 3 herbs are unparalleled when it comes to spring cleaning, helping you go through a powerful spring detox seamlessly.
They will clean your liver, lymphatic system and blood, and protect you from spring allergies. With their help, you’ll get a lightness in your step, a clear, focused mind and the strength to ride that surge of energy into summer and beyond.
Let’s look at these young green herbs with some amazing health benefits!
Wild Bear Garlic – Strength and Vitality Symbol
There’s a thing or two we could learn from bears, as it seems.
Have you ever wondered how the wild bear garlic herb got its name?
Bears love it!
When these magnificent creatures come off their winter slumber, the first and only thing they eat for a while is exactly bear garlic.
This powerful herb gives them all the necessary nutrients, making them strong and resilient for the next season. This is why wild bear garlic became a synonym for strength and vitality.
For the same reason, wild bear garlic is a perfect spring food for us. By offering a strong protection from colds and viruses, wild bear garlic cleans out our bodies from the stagnant winter build-up, which makes it one of the best spring cleaning herbs.
There are other few reasons why wild bear garlic is a perfect springtime (or any other time) cleanser.
Revered Blood Cleanser, Shaking Off the Winter Build-up
Incredibly high in antioxidants, wild bear garlic is also widely known for its antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiviral properties. It contains vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and copper.
Revered for its blood-cleansing properties, it is one of the oldest and most popular herbal medicines among animals and humans alike.
Wild bear garlic helps reduce blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of stroke, atherosclerosis and heart disease. Interestingly, although all types of garlic have these benefits, wild garlic is thought to be the most effective at lowering blood pressure.
Additionally, wild garlic can lower cholesterol levels, keeping your heart in good shape as you age.
Overall, this amazing spring cleaning herb makes your blood thinner and easier to flow, cleaning it out of excess cholesterol and other build-up that damages your heart and organs, especially after the winter and the strain it leaves on our bodies.
Improving Digestive Health After Heavy Winter Food
Antibacterial and anti-fungal compounds found in this wilder form of garlic can help to re-balance the bacterial flora in your gut, which helps to calm inflammation, bloating, cramping, constipation, and other stomach issues that may arise due to heavy winter food, bad diet or lack of fruit, vegetables, and natural fermented food.
Wild bear garlic is an ideal spring cleaning herb for elderly people, in particular, as it also improves bowel function.
Natural Protection Against Spring Influenza
Apart from the antibacterial effects of bear garlic on the digestive system, this herb also has a broader range.
Wild bear garlic benefits include fighting off bodily infection caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Using the wild bear garlic tincture or drinking it as tea can speed up the recovery from the common cold, which makes it a valuable ally in the springtime flu, colds, and viruses.
Another organ that benefits from bear garlic are the lungs. This herb clears the airways, relieves breathing, and decreases cough.
Violet – Nature’s Perfect Heart-Healing Perfume
Seeing little purple heads popping out of the grass – isn’t that the definition of spring joy?
A whiff of their delicate sweet floral essence – isn’t that a perfect perfume, which only nature could invent?
A wise herbalist grandma once taught me that the best remedy for a broken heart is to lay down in a field of violets.
Their humble, close-to-earth flowers are still one of the most beautiful and delicate. Their color vibrant, their smell divine, and their heart-shaped leaves hold the secret to heart healing.
In the old books of European herbalists, violet was praised for “relieving the sadness that collects in the lungs”.
So, how does that work?
Old European recipes use violet leaves for anything to do with the lungs, throat, respiratory system, heart, breasts, and lymphatic system.
Violet Benefits The Lungs
This lovely herb is very high in Vitamins C and A and has powerful antibacterial properties.
Both flowers and leaves of Sweet Violet have mild demulcent and expectorant properties. It means they are slightly slimy, like your lungs and your mouth.
It contains phytochemicals that help thin mucous and break up chest congestion, making it easier to cough up.
Sweet Violet Leaf tea reduces pulmonary inflammation, improving the breath and easing the tedious dry cough.
It’s especially helpful to people suffering from asthma since it benefits and eases respiration.
Violet is, therefore, used to treat a myriad of breathing problems ranging from bronchitis, asthma, cold and flu symptoms, cough, hoarseness, and chest congestion.
Many of these health-related symptoms appear in spring, so violet is one of the best herbs for your spring cleaning.
Violet Boosts Mood and Heart Health
Violets have been used in herbal medicine for ages to treat depression, headaches, to ease pain and emotional upset, as well as treat insomnia.
Violet was a symbol of ancient Athens believed to strengthen and comfort the heart, moderate anger, and promote refreshing sleep.
Apart from being famous for soothing the emotional heart, Violet is also good for our physical heart.
The compound bioflavonoid rutin helps blood circulation, strengthens and increases the flexibility of blood vessels.
Research also says that rutin can help in the prevention of blood clots, which strengthens the heart and lowers the chances of strokes and heart attacks.
Violet has vasodilating effects, which means that the blood vessels are relaxed and blood tends to flow easier. This is beneficial for decreasing blood pressure.
In the same way, our emotional heart relaxes and flows easier, and we are more open to life. The burden comes off of our shoulders and we can breathe easier (plus, the effect on the lungs doubles that!).
Violet Eases Pain
With considerable amounts of rutin and salicylic acid (that have similar effects as aspirin), Sweet Violet Leaf Tea is very helpful in relieving pain, inflammation, and body aches, which makes this a wonderful herb to manage flu symptoms, plus it helps lower a fever.
Because of these same compounds, Violet is a natural painkiller effective against rheumatic pain and the pain in the joints, arthritis.
In the same way, it helps us relieve the pain we feel in our minds and hearts, opening us up to new experiences and spring surprises!
Lymphatic and Breast Health Helper
Violet is a gentle lymphatic cleanser, an expert in the lymphatic system of the chest.
Our lymph can get “heavy” from the toxic build-up if our body can’t clean fast enough, especially during winter.
This creates a dis-ease in the whole body, as the lymph is one of the great filters in the body, along with the kidneys and liver.
Violet helps clean the lymphatic system, which means it helps us release what is no longer good for us. What a perfect way to step into spring!
Also, this springtime cleanser herb has a special affinity for female breast health – massage oil with violet leaf is a great way to nurture the health of your breasts (more on this in one of the next blog posts).
Nettle – Herbal Nutritional Bomb
We cannot end this little story of springtime herbal stars without mentioning the glorious nettle.
All the wild foragers run to the hills as soon as nettle peeks its fuzzy head, as it is such a versatile herb you can use all of its parts in so many ways.
Nettle seeds are the most nutritious part of nettle. They keep your energy levels high, help soothe PMS symptoms and keep your nails, skin, kidneys, and lungs healthy.
Nettle leaf tea benefits the whole body by acting as a powerful detoxifier, which is why it made to our list of the best spring cleaning herbs.
As a diuretic, it can also ensure that those toxins being neutralized in the body are then eliminated quickly. It helps improve the nutrient uptake efficiency of the gut and ensures that the digestive processes run smoothly, preventing the accumulation of dangerous toxins.
It also stimulates the lymphatic system, helping rid the body of excess toxins in the kidneys as well (if you combine it with violet, that’s the full package!).
Nutritional Bomb Fighting Spring Exhaustion
Nettle herb is a full-loaded nutritional bomb, with the combination of high vitamin C and iron content.
Adding nettle to your diet will give you a lot of the vitamins you need daily.
This makes it ideal for stimulating red blood cell production, which we especially need in spring.
Vitamin C optimizes iron uptake in the gut, and this combination boosts your energy levels, relieves fatigue or anemia, which is why in the spring we often feel general muscle weakness, exhaustion, cognitive difficulties, and headaches.
Seasonal Allergies – Begone!
Another common spring ailment is hay fever, asthma, and other seasonal allergies.
Nettle can significantly reduce allergic reactions, with regular consumption of all of its parts.
Nettle root is what is most commonly used to treat osteoarthritis, allergies, and hay fever.
Spring Cleaning Detox: Challenge Accepted?
These are our 3 best herbs for spring cleaning, which we believe can help start this wonderful new season in juuust the right way.
Combine these medicinal herbs to get a gentle, yet powerful detox and prepare yourself to step into spring with an open heart, clear mind, and enough energy to achieve whatever you want!