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Gentle Spring Cleanse

Spring is a season of pure genesis. As the earth warms, the landscape exalts in a profusion of fresh greens, pastel blossoms, and joyous birdsong - have you notice? The energy is fecund, yet undeniably gentle. Like eggs in a nest, creation is having a grand moment of CREATION— but there’s a distinct softness and tenderness about it all.

This is how I approach the yearly tradition of spring cleansing: a ritual centered around restoring VITALITY and coaching our bodies back into BALANCE after a long winter.

Are you ready for an internal clean sweep? Let me first say a few words about cleansing and FASTING. There are plenty of protocols out there, and some can be harder on the body than others. I’ve noticed a general tendency to approach cleansing with a go hard or go home attitude. And sometimes, an aggressive strategy can yield desired results if we don't carefully listen to our inner intuition and if we take on fasts without guidance. So if you’re wanting to experiment with a rigorous cleanse, I recommend consulting with an experienced holistic healthcare practitioner. This will help you to cleanse SAFELY, and to make the most of an appropriate protocol.

But cleansing actually can be ever so gentle.

Spring cleansing is traditionally a simple and natural invocation of the wild green plants that appear as the days grow warm—and it can be as sweet and soft on the body as tulip petals on new grass. Done right, it can leave us feeling RESTORED and renewed.

Life is attuned to this renewal. Every spring, a plenitude of cleansing, detoxifying, and mineral-rich herbs abound across the temperate landscape. These plants have a signature exuberance—they are generous and VIBRANT with green life force energy. Herbs like borage, dandelion, and nettles are innately possessed with the cleansing properties and minerals needed by the body after a winter of hibernation and heavier foods. Incorporating them into meals and teas is often all the body needs for a revitalized sense of health.

Borago Officinalis - Borage

Borage flushes out in the spring with an entourage of other alterative DETOXIFYING HERBS. In truth, it’s no mistake that these plants burst forth in a glorious unity!—they’re meant to work together. Consider integrating any of the following herbs into your gentle spring cleansing protocol:

  • Violet, leaf and flowers (Viola spp.)

  • Dandelion, leaf and flowers (Taraxacum officinale)

  • Nettles, leaf (Urtica dioica)

  • Cleavers, leaf and stem (Galium aparine)

  • Chickweed, leaf and stem (Stellaria media)

  • Burdock, root (Arctium lappa, A. minus)

  • Plantain, leaf (Plantago spp.)

  • Borage, leaf and flowers (Borago officinalis)

  • Mint, leaf (Mentha spp.)

Borage and Nettles are growing on my land so they became my most beloved spring cleansing herbs—just the sight of this star-shaped bright blue flowers and the spicks of the nettles fill me with hope. The leaves are a classic alterative herb, stimulating the release of wastes from the body by optimizing liver, kidney, lymphatic, and digestive functions. They are also sky-high in minerals and soluble fiber, which encourages healthy populations of beneficial intestinal flora. The pleasant mucilage in the leaves can soothe inflammation in the digestive tract and impart dew-fresh moisture to our tissues.

Planning Your Gentle Spring Cleanse

1) Eat Herbally. Eating your herbs is an easy way to bring them into your spring cleansing practice—and it’s such a tasty one. Violet, chickweed, and dandelion greens are all delicious additions to spring SALADS and pestos. For salads, try combining them with lettuce, arugula, and radicchio in generous quantities (bitter salads are your gut friends!) For pesto, you can substitute wild greens into any recipe that you enjoy.

Some spring greens are DELICIOUSLY COOKED, and here stinging nettles steal my heart. NETTLES are fantastically rich in vitamins and minerals, and add a dark, leafy appeal to sautées and stir-fries. You can prepare them as you would kale or spinach, but note that they must be well-cooked to disarm the fine stinging hairs that cover the stems and leaves. Handling nettles requires some care (and perhaps gloves), but their flavor and nutrition are worth it!

2) Enjoy Juice. Freshly pressed juices are a popular and delicious way to get your cleanse on. I love adding handfuls of kitchen herbs like parsley or mints that are still wet with morning dew to juice blends, and relish a tip I read from Rosemary Gladstar: add fresh pineapple to your juice—it’s phenomenal! Other additions can include fresh carrots, apples, ginger, turmeric, lemon, celery, and beets. I prefer to make juices first thing in the morning, and to drink them about half an hour before having breakfast. You can also opt to drink them between meals. 3) Steep A Cup of Tea. Tea employs one of our most ancient channels for medicine and healing: the fluid element of water. WATER is vital to cleansing the body at any time, and the more you can integrate it into your practice, the better. All of the herbs mentioned in this article can be steeped into tea. I personally favor stinging nettle, borage, dandelion, lemon balm and mint. Make sure that you are following the guidelines for making medicinal-strength teas!

4) Infuse Herbal Vinegars. Vinegar is a classic solvent for extracting MINERALS from herbs, and is a traditional preparation for capturing the vitality and nutritional blessings of spring greens. Herbal vinegars can be taken by the spoonful with meals, or, more pleasantly, can be integrated into salad dressings, condiments, and marinades. See our Folk Fire Cider for a gut health powerhouse remedy!

Orange label: our Gut Health remedies!

MamaSeed's Folk Fire Cider is a delicious, go-to tonic to support overall wellbeing by feeding and strenghtening your microbiome during the cold months or any season of the year.

I use it daily by the spoonful or even a small shot glass full!

Whatever ways you choose to gently cleanse with spring herbs, try your best to stick to a regular routine or plan, and to set attainable goals. For instance, if you decide to drink 3 cups a day (medicinal recommendation) of dandelion root and nettle tea every day for 2 weeks, help yourself out by preparing 2 days’ worth at a time and storing the tea in quart-sized jars in the fridge. If you favor salads, gather enough greens and blossoms for several meals at one time.

Take Your Gentle Spring Cleanse to the Next Level

Tending to our health is a multi-faceted and LIVING RITUAL. If we cleanse periodically AND fine-tune other dimensions of our lives and lifestyles, we can create real change in our present and long-term well-being. At the same time, it’s certainly worth noting that taking our medicine—whatever it may be—in small doses can be helpful. In this light, you can support gentle cleansing with as many, or as few, of SELF-LOVE practices:

  • Hydrate

  • Engage in joyful movement

  • Eat a fresh and whole foods diet

  • Rest, deeply

Vibrant souls, Our bodies are exposed to more toxins now than ever before, whether it be air pollution, pesticides in our food, or chemicals in our cleaning products -- our organs are being overwhelmed.

Why is this a problem? Because toxin overload is one of the leading causes of disease.

The good news is that a proper herbal detox can purify your system of these unwanted chemicals (and also helps you shed extra weight, boosts your energy and refreshes your mind.)

If you want to feel light, healthy, and filled with renewed youth, follow these guidelines! Stay curious! with Joy, Jaya

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