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Spring Cleaning for Your Body

Author: Rev. Dr. Lisa Waltz, ND, DD, CNC

Copyright © 2001 by Rev. Dr. Lisa Waltz, ND, DD, CNCof The Herbal Encyclopedia

Information within this article is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose nor treat. Seek guidance from a health care professional.

Spring is that time of year when most of us feel the need to throw open the windows, beat the
rugs, roll up our sleeves and start scrubbing our living space. Fertility rites. Out with the
stale old stuff, in with the fresh new things, bringing with it the promise of new beginnings
and fresh starts in life.

It should also be the time you think about cleaning up the inside of you, too. We've sat
sedentary through the winter, enjoying perhaps a bit too much of those holiday nummies, gaining
a bit of weight we didn't want and packing the garbage into our bodies that might have been
eliminated by normal activity. But we prefer to be warm and dry in the winter, so we tend to
lower our exercise levels and as a result our metabolisms lower and our toxins build.

Think back to when you were a child… the spring, did your grandmother or great-grandmother
pass out a tablespoon of castor oil or some exotic concoction she whipped up and kept in a glass
bottle in the pantry? Did she feed you a salad of fresh or cooked greens from things she
gathered in the woods and the fields? If so, she was doing what used to come quite naturally to
humans - spring cleaning. We somehow got away from that as our society became faster paced, more
focused on work and squeezing more out of our days than paying attention to our health. We
started moving towards those miracle drugs and those junk foods and forgot those simple things
in life that could improve our health and our energy levels.

So this article is about spring tonics - a cleansing for the body, soul, and mind. What better
way to start off the season of gardening, lawn work, outdoor games, beach trips, and all those

There are various things used to cleanse the body. Most often the liver is the target of a
cleansing herbal regimen, since the liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It
processes our hormones, contributes to proper digestion, cleanses the body of toxins, and many
other important duties. A good cleansing regimen, however, will also cleanse and support other
vital organs, such as heart, kidneys, blood, and digestive system. And it will do wonderful
things for your spirit! (If you feel sluggish physically due to body imbalances, your spirit is
going to feel sluggish as well)

You can start with a simple fast. Even if you don't take any herbs, or utilize any special
foods, a fast can give the body a needed rest from the rigors of digestion, clear out toxins,
and rebalance the systems. If you've never fasted before, don't try to do a marathon with it.
Start off with fasting one day a week. No solid foods, plenty of fresh water, and if you can't
get past the hungries, keep food intake to very easily digested items, such as broth or light
vegetable soup. Many people choose a juice fast, ingesting only fruit and vegetable juices for
several days instead of solid foods. Fasting works best if you can avoid food for one whole day,
though. After that, you can try working your way up to two days of fasting. If you are a
diabetic, a heart patient, or have special medical concerns, you'll want to speak to your health
care professional before attempting to fast, to avoid creating problems with your medications.

Many people fast for a day, then utilize fresh wild greens from various medicinal herbs to
cleanse the body. Popular greens include dandelion, chickweed, sorrel, and nettle. If you gather
these yourself, please be sure that you gather them from an area that is free of chemical
sprays, and away from highway and factory pollution. Some people also include with those greens
some roots of popular medicinal herbs, such as dandelion root, burdock root, and sassafras root.
Many of these roots are used as vegetables around the world, so enjoy them as you would any
other root vegetable.

Herbal tonics are a popular way to cleanse. Often used along with a fast, there are as many
herbal tonic recipes as there are people who make them up. It's often a matter of taste and a
matter of what is available in your local area. Most commonly used herbs for spring tonics
include the above mentioned items, as well as yellow dock, sarsaparilla, licorice root, chicory
root, ginger root, and others depending on where you live and what your specific body may need..

One of the best ways to enjoy a spring tonic is to brew a simple tea, combining some of your
favorites from the above. Combine equal parts of the dried herb, and store in a dark glass
container away from heat and light. Use two teaspoons per cup of tea, pour very hot water over,
allow to steep 15 to 20 minutes, strain, and drink. You can add honey to taste if you would
like, just steer clear of using white sugar to sweeten your herbal beverages. Refined sugar is
just empty calories, is really not needed by our bodies, and can alter the activities of some of
the healing herbs. The idea here is to clean and support the body, not add back in things that
we really don't need. Drink one to three cups of the tea you choose per day, usually for one
full week, two if you have had a recent illness.

For those busy people on the go, you can always combine the tinctures of several of the
cleansing herbs, and then take a couple of dropperfuls two to three times per day. You can also
combine the dried powdered herbs into capsules and take those. However, the tea and tincture
forms often work best for cleansing, or in tandem with powdered herbs. If you want to do a
thorough job, you can combine the teas and capsules. If you are unsure of what will do the best
job for your specific body, contact a qualified naturopathic doctor or master herbalist for what
matches up with you best.

This is also a good time to think about cleaning the outside of you very well. A good loofah
sponge and a good long soak in a hot herbal bath will help the skin release the toxins that are
being stirred around by the cleansing actions of the herbs. Our skin is our largest organ, and
needs to be treated with care as well. Try a soak with lavendar oil, eucalyptus oil, and/or
peppermint oil to get your energy levels up and your skin cleansed. Give yourself a healthy soak
every day through your cleanse. This would also be a good time to visit a masseuse (or enlist
the aid of your spouse or partner) for a good massage to help move things around and stimulate
your blood flow.

Here is one of my favorite all-around cleansing tonic teas:

1/2 cup dried Alfalfa leaf
1/4 cup dried Red Clover blossoms
1/4 cup dried Peppermint leaves
1/4 cup dried Sage leaf
1/4 cup dried Cleavers
1/4 cup dried Nettle leaf
1/4 cup dried crushed Rose hips

A capsule regimen that I like for cleansing:

2 capsules of Milk Thistle
2 capsules of Dandelion Root
2 capsules of Turmeric
2 capsules of Yellow Dock
2 capsules of Burdock
2 capsules of Nettle
1 capsule of Kelp

These are taken twice per day for one full week.

A favorite wild greens recipe:
Stir Fried Greens and Roots

Wash and chop fresh young dandelion
roots, dandelion leaves, sheep sorrel leaves, and/or burdock root; together these should be
about one pound. Saute one cup of sliced red onion and one cup of fresh sliced mushrooms
(portabellas and shiitakes are nice!) in 3 to 4 tablespoons of olive oil just until soft. Add 5
cloves of fresh minced garlic and the roots. Cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Add the greens and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1
tablespoon dark sesame oil and 3 tablespoons tamari or a teriyaki sauce. Stir and serve,
preferably on a bed of fresh brown rice.

This would also be a very good time to review your typical daily diet. If you've fallen too far
into the fast food/junk food trap, now would be the time to reverse that trend. It's easier to
make changes when you're cleaning, so make a list of what you would like to change, and
implement those changes. Remember too that the magickal properties of many herbs lend them to
spring tonics as well.

So, while you are cleaning the house and doing those ritual spiritual cleansings, or working on
those fertility spells, don't forget the most important aspect - you and your body. Bring the
whole family into the cleansing, so that all will benefit. Spring tonics are good for the soul!

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