Spring Clean: 4 herbs to help you detox

The days are getting longer, the air is warming and spring is here. I love this time of year as it always feels like the world is starting to speed up. There is a sense of excitement and I find myself more productive than ever. The Spring equinox will be on March 21st, marking the peak of Spring and the equalising of day and night, if only briefly. The equinoxes are excellent times for setting our intentions on balance. Looking to how we balance our lives between unhealthy and healthy. 

I associate Spring with the element of Water and the easy movement of flow. Water governs the urinary system (for obvious reasons) and as such has an affinity to cleansing the body. Not only through the bladders excretory faculties but also spiritually. We have a long tradition of healing wells in the UK, the most famous being Chalice Wells in Glastonbury. Water has been recognised as a way to cleanse ourselves spiritually and also heal us. In Glastonbury there is a foot bathing area for this purpose. It is believed that washing yourself in the waters could heal anything and has been used for spiritual rebirths too. 

The herbs available at this time of year also have an affinity for water and cleansing. If you’re out foraging you might see Chickweed, Cleavers, Nettle, or Dandelion. 

  • Chickweed is associated with the Moon and the element of Water. It helps put out the fire of inflammation and helps cleanse us of the “toxins” which may cause skin problems such as eczema. 
  • Nettle leaf has an affinity for the urinary system, known to be a diuretic. This means it increases the frequency with which you urinate. It helps to reduce inflammation in the case of cystitis as well as flushing the bacteria from the bladder while it’s at it. Nettle is associated with Mars and the element of fire on account of it’s sting I would imagine. 
  • Dandelion leaf is another diuretic. Dandelion is associated with Jupiter and the element of Air. It will help alleviate cystitis and may reduce blood pressure as it acts on the kidneys. As a gentle bitter it will also help the digestive system if it’s a bit sluggish. It may also increase the appetite slightly.  
  • Cleavers is another herb associated with the Moon and the element of Water. It’s a lymphatic, helping to clear through the lymphatic system and increase the recovery time after an infection. The lymphatic system runs along side our circulatory system and clears away anything the white blood cells chuck out. It’s our lymphatic system that swells when we have an infection as cells rush to the area to combat the virus or bacteria. Cleavers helps to reduce swellings and cystic growths too. I’d recommend juicing your cleavers; recipe here

I’m going to juice the whole lot together! I’m also making myself a herbal vinegar to be had once a day, 1 tbsp in a glass of warm water each morning. To make your vinegar just cram a jar with as much of the 4 herbs as you can and then cover with apple cider vinegar. But it’s important the herbs are dried in the case of vinegars to avoid bacterial growth. This is an experiment for me this year so I’m going to taste it every day till I feel it’s ready. I’m estimating it’ll take 2 weeks! Would love to hear your experiences and experiments in the comments!

By Natasha Richardson

Disclaimer: Please don’t use any herbs featured on this website for medicinal reasons without contacting your health practitioner first.