As we leap into spring and I continue with my studies on Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy, I become more aware of how rich the hedgerows are. How packed they are with energy and natural healing. Taking a stroll in the countryside at this time of year, firstly what can you find? Secondly what can it do for you and your wellbeing?
Cleavers or Goose grass (Galium aparine) this straggling plant that sticks to everything and name refers to its ability to cling/cleave to clothing or animals that brush past it. Growing frantically at this time of year it is full of polyphenolic acids, flavonoids and tannins. These constituents are valuable as a diuretic, for general detoxification of the body and to aid with swollen lymph glands. Pick the plant creeping stems and drink as a tea.
Nettle (Urtica doica) – of course we steer clear of any nettles due to the sting they readily administer to those who dare to touch them. Romans used Urtica as a method of beating the body to bring blood to the surface in order to keep warm. Known as “urtification”. Nettle leaves are rich in flavonoids, amines, including histamine, acetylcholine and serotonin as well as minerals. Nettle is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb with diuretic action, aiding the elimination of waste from the body. Nettle is also an antiallergenic and can be used for treating hay fever, asthma and itchy skin conditions. The juice from the nettle can be used to treat nettle stings themselves! Pick the nettle tops and leaves and drink as tea.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) also rampant at this time of year. The beautiful yellow flowers visible from a distance when scanning the countryside, turn into the white dandelion “clocks” ready for blowing into the wind. The dandelion leaf and root is rich in constituents. The leaf contains courmarins, carotenoids and minerals especially potassium, whilst also being rich in vitamins A, B, C and D. Dandelion (leaf), like Cleavers and Nettle is also a diuretic which can be used to treat blood pressure by reducing the fluid in the body. If using the root this is a powerful detoxifying remedy working principally on the liver and gall bladder to aid elimination of waste products. Beneficial for many conditions including an array of skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and eczema, as well as for constipation. Enjoy as a tea or put the young leaves into a salad.
I have only talked about three wild plants in our hedgerows at this time of year. All three are bursting with energy and life and all are detoxifiers. Perhaps nature is trying to tell us something? As you spring clean your house, why not give your body a bit of a spring clean with some of these wonderful gifts of nature?
Detoxifying, especially in the spring has many benefits including raising energy levels through effective waste elimination, increasing and improving blood circulation, supporting the main body organs by assisting them to breakdown toxins accumulated and harbored in the body due to air and water pollution, food additives, herbicides and pesticides to name a few, and then eliminate these harmful toxins more effectively through the body’s elimination channels – the skin, liver, kidneys, lungs and bowel.