The days are filled now with birdsong and the pitter-patter of melting snow dripping off the roofs, and the warming sun graces our evening skies making us dream of the summer nights to come. Spring is here!
Spring is the time of new beginnings and possibilities for projects, relationships, thought patterns, and of course our gardens. We have been resting, dreaming, and waiting and are eager for this new season. It is important though to enter this time of renewal and gentle growth at a steady pace, staying grounded and nourishing our roots as we move into action and expand our energy. Even young seedlings, as they sprout and reach for the sunlight, remain firmly rooted in the Earth’s nourishing soil.
Nourishing and grounding herbs, such as roots and food like herbs are very helpful in keeping us grounded, so we don’t fly off too quickly and burn ourselves out, and at giving our body the nourishment it needs during this time of change and adaptation from one season to another. Some of my favorite herbs for early spring are nettle, dandelion, and burdock.
Stinging Nettle: the incredibly rich and nourishing leaves of nettle contain much needed minerals (calcium, magnesium, and iron to name a few), protein, and vitamins A, C, and D. Nettle feels strengthening and reminds us of the richness that is to be found in the Earth. It strengthens the immune system and supports most body systems in their function. The best ways to have nettle are fresh from the garden as a food, dried in infusions (such as the Earth Goddess tea), or extracted in vinegar, and can be taken daily.
Dandelion Root: like so many roots, dandelion is grounding and helping us to drop down into our own root, feeling our connection to the Earth. It is very nourishing (vitamins A to E and many minerals) and is probably best known for its liver supporting and cleansing properties, making it an excellent springtime tonic. Dandelion root can be decocted in water, had as an herbal vinegar or taken in tincture form.
Burdock Root: this is another grounding, nourishing, and detoxifying root that can help our body systems through springtime. Burdock supports the liver and digestion, is soothing and moistening (as opposed to nettle and dandelion, both of which are astringent and drying) and feeds healthy gut bacteria. It also promotes better lymph flow and is known as a blood cleanser. Burdock root can be had daily as an overnight infusion (add 2 tsp dried burdock root to 1 liter freshly boiled water, let infuse overnight, and drink through the day; gradually work your way up from 2 tsp, depending on how it feels in your body, to 2 tbsp per liter) or can be taken as an herbal vinegar added to salads, cooked meals, or water (it is very tasty!).
So, be like a seedling, stay firmly rooted in the Earth, and let her nourish you, as you open your fresh, tender, and pretty new leaves and gracefully grow towards the sun.
Happy Spring Equinox!