Popping with excitement and eager to share, we are feeling like the herb exploding out from the seed, impatient to experience the first days of spring! This is our first article in the blog and we are so happy to finally be “in action”.
The idea of this blog being to share inspiration and knowledge about everything between plants, gardening techniques, nutrition and personal growth, we wanted to start of with something combining several of these areas. Hope you will enjoy the reading, this time, and many more times to come!
Far before the first vegetables and herbs have started to grow in the garden at spring, the freshly budding wild plants wakes up around us. From stinging nettles, dandelions, hogweed, or just-opened birch leaves, one can prepare excellent dishes or make revitalizing spring-infusions. These wild plants are all bursting with vitamins, minerals and trace elements – the very same things that are so important for us humans to refill our bodies with in this particular season.
Since wild vegetables contain considerably more vital substances than the cultivated ones, it is not hard to understand how valuable they can be to us. While the cultivated plants must be content with the nutriments that the soil in the garden offers them, the wild plants only grows where the earth contains exactly what they need to thrive, often making them a powerful concentrate of vitamins and minerals.
In the old days, this knowledge of what nature has to offer was intuitive, and therefor it was common to fast or do cleanses during the spring. One wouldn’t eat any meat for several weeks, and people would pay attention to eating lightly during these periods. In these kind of cleanses it was important to have a vitamin dense diet, but without animal or diary products, and excluding any processed or transformed products. Instead one was advised to drink a lot and do herbal infusions on a regular basis. These advices are still as true today for anyone who wants to detox their body, and the spring cleanse itself may be even more important since the lifestyle of our society makes many have more food of poor nutritional value in the wintertime.
If this speaks to you, and if you feel like giving yourself an opportunity to start the new season bursting with the same energy as the fresh greens shooting up from the ground, here are five useful plants to take a closer look at:
The Stinging Nettle is given to be included in a spring cleanse. It is filled with many important vitamins and minerals, and it has the ability to help the body to get rid of its waste products. Besides iron, it contains quite a lot of potassium and silicon, and also a good amount of chlorophyll, which increases the transport of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. It acts as preventive drainage of the body and generally helps rebalance its functions.
Stinging Nettle is diuretic, depurative, antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiulcer, antianemic, hepatoprotective (protecting the liver in aggressions, especially in the case of hepatitis), antioxidant, hypoglycemic, antiallergic , immunostimulating, hypotensive and body tonic.
The birch tree is the very symbol of the spring, and it has been used in spring cleanses in traditional cures for centuries. Its buds, leaves, sap and even the bark can all be used in different ways.
A tincture of the buds can be very useful to support the body and to strengthen the immune defence. It acts as a diuretic, which helps drain the urinary tract in case of inflammations or bacteria. It also prevents engorgement of the lymph nodes, which helps the immune defence to work more effectively. On its list of virtues’ we can also add anti-rheumatic abilities and being an overall anti-infectious.
The Ash tree is in some native traditions seen as the link between heaven and earth. Its young leaves come out quite early in the spring and they have several interesting properties, which can be used for various purposes.
In general use, ash acts as a diuretic and light laxative, helping to accelerate the body’s elimination. It is specially recommended in parallel of a period of diet or detox, to facilitate the excretion of waste and because of its action against cellulite.
Besides these virtues it is also useful in soothing arthritis or rheumatism since it has an anti-inflammatory effect on these conditions.
The Dandelion is another commonly spread plant with powerful virtues. Its leaves are known to contain minerals and vitamins in large quantities, and it is perfect in a spring cure since it stimulates and soothes the liver, acting against engorgements.
It also prevents gall bladder problems and stimulates the body in case of urinary or hepatic insufficiency. Furthermore, it acts against excess cholesterol and helps the digestion. A perfect start to your detox!
Elderflowers have long been used as a spring cure, taken in infusions. Possessing sudorific and diuretic actions, which promote perspiration and urine secretion, it is a depurative that forces the organism to eliminate its toxins. It also has a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids, essential oils and minerals.
The Elder is indicated against problems of overweight since its depurative properties helps to clean and purify the organism. Its medicinal properties are also used against rheumatism, arthritis and osteoarthritis, to relieve joint pain.
Furthermore it has an anti-allergic action, which can help to restore the health of the mucous membranes in case of abundant secretions due to hay fever.
All of the above plants have the ability to help our bodies in the process of self-healing, but it is important to be aware of how the choice of what we include in our diet, in our lives, has the ability to affect us far beyond a one-time spring cleanse.
For nature it is all about balance, and out to the smallest cell, our fantastic body is always trying to develop the most favourable environment within itself and around it. Healing and repairing is an innate mechanism in all living organism, and it goes on in a continual, everlasting process. Our bodies’ repairs, removes, replaces and builds new material constantly. In 24 hours we produce about 50 millions new skin cells, and the mucosa of the intestines’ is replaced in one week. A lot of material is recycled but we have to supply things that can raise the energy for this perpetual process to keep working.
When our over-all energy is low, the communication between cells doesn’t work well, but by raising the energy and removing blockings, the mind and the body will heal itself. This is why it is not possible to rest yourself into health. Of course it is important to include time for mental and physical recovery, but becoming healthy requires action. Staying quiet but not changing your current situation will not help. By deciding to give yourself the right building blocks to feel great, the body will make it happen!
It has been proved by molecular biology research that the environment has a much greater influence on the genes than earlier thought. Our biology is not predicted at our birth, but it is largely affected by how we choose to live. Influence from our environment, like the stress we are under, our emotions, our way of acting and even our diet can change the genetic code. The sole fact of living an isolated life for example, will actually physically change the genes of the body! This also indicates that developing your spiritual forces, will strengthen the self healing abilities of your body. And according to this way of thinking we can look upon the food we are eating as direct information given to our genes. The food we choose will unconditionally decide which genes will be activated. Junk food will activate junk genes – the ones who develop inflammation, less circulation and accumulation of waste products; while fresh, nutritious dense food will activate the healthy and energetic healing powers we all possess.
And going further, it means that physical blockings, like having a low blood flow or kidneys that struggles with a lot of waste products, will have a great impact of our mental energy. It means that negative, low energy thoughts will affect even the most well oiled physical body by slowing it down and obstructing its over-all balance. The good news on the other hand is that we all have great power over this development. Let’s strengthen the great abilities of our own system!
Sannas matbok – för den självläkande människan, Sanna Ehdin
Gröna apoteket – att bruka och bereda terapeutiska örter, Marie-Louise Eklöf
Naturläkarbok för barn och föräldrar, Sabine Schwabenthan and Vivian Weigrt