Ready for Spring?

DRINK YOUR SUPER FOOD FOR SUPPORT THIS SEASON

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I barely want to say it in fear of jinxing it, but…the snow has seemed to melt for the last time, days are not so grey, and I don’t have to pile on a million layers before going outside anymore. FINALLY, a glimpse of spring! And I am ready for it! Just like nature prepares to change seasons, so do our physical bodies, making necessary adjustments. As a practicing Foot Reflexologist, I inevitably observe the areas within the body that require additional care. As summer moves to fall and winter to spring, the need for seasonal support shows up year after year like clockwork. This got me thinking…as an herbalist, with 95 bulk herbs on hand; perhaps herbal infusions made specifically for each season would be in order. Hello!!!

Similar to my thinking, it is well known in traditional Chinese medicine that it is important to focus on organ systems by season. With this idea in mind, I began making herbal tea blends targeted to support the organs most vulnerable in the different months of the year. Spring is a time when the liver and gallbladder need support. During winter we tend to be less active and crave warming and usually richer, comforting foods. You know what I’m talking about- that creamy mac and cheese you want to eat while lying in bed, watching a movie? Yup, that’s your body syncing with what is happening around us. The digestive system seems to slow down as we hibernate and require more rest and down time. Everything in nature dies back too. We are not separate from this and can take our queues by following the earth’s rhythm and our natural instincts.

So when we consider springtime, everything is emerging and coming to life. Our bodies want to do that too. The liver, being the organ of focus for spring, performs over 500 functions, many of which include digestion and elimination. One can imagine why it may need some perking up! For this, I like to focus on fresh seasonal foods and herbs to achieve optimum results. Some examples would include leafy greens, asparagus and artichokes. There are many wild weeds that support us as well, like dandelion greens, chickweed and violet leaves. The liver and gallbladder love bitter flavors to get things moving. All that’s needed is a mouthful everyday to perk up and make the cells dance! What would be easier than putting all those helpful herbs together in your favorite cup of tea? In our Spring Herbal Tea, herbs such as red clover blossoms, nettle leaf and burdock root are used, all of which gently cleanse the blood. This allows the liver to become more efficient in doing its job of eliminating toxic overload. Basically, it’s the perfect way to cleanse your body this spring season, by drinking the super foods your body needs most right now.

As spring approached (and I waited..and waited…and waited), I introduced the Spring Blend to my routine by alternating with the Winter Blend a few days a week. I’ve discovered through experience, that drinking the tea 2-3 weeks prior to and throughout the season helps the body to adjust more efficiently. Another huge benefit and maybe most importantly, is that after consuming a blend for 5-6 weeks, a tonic or long lasting effect can be experienced. The uptake of vitamins and minerals that are quickly absorbed by the body, as well as the specific herbs focusing on specific results, makes this a very effective healing choice. This is why I like to think of the herbal infusions as a super food that is economical and enjoyable to consume.

Drinking an herbal blend on a daily basis has become my family’s go-to ritual. You may not see results immediately, but over time, the results are undeniable. You just feel the difference every time. There are even visual differences you can notice in your hair, nails, and skin. Your body will thank you, so give it a try! There’s nothing to lose and only to gain. Enjoy!

Light & Love,

Kimberly

Healing is Only a Cup Away

Regarded for thousands of years by Native Americans to be a key to good health, medicinal herbal teas can assist us in a myriad of ways. Whether it’s treating an acute ailment such as the common cold or long-term benefits such as toning and strengthening the organ systems, it’s a gentle yet effective way to boost overall health and well-being. Consider creating a daily ritual of drinking an herbal tea blend. Toronto based herbalist Marcia Dixon supports this idea. “If you drink tea everyday, you can make all sorts of significant changes to your mood, your skin, your sense of well-being and energy.” Herbal teas are rich in nutrients, particularly minerals that are readily absorbed by the body without stressing the digestive system. It’s much like a super food that can heal the body gently because of the uptake of nutrients. “In a lot of ways, we might get more benefit from a good organic tea than from a vitamin pill,” says herbalist Marianne Beacon of Elderberry Herbals in Peterborough, ON. A great benefit of this is that when you consume a particular blend over time, it can strengthen and tone organ systems creating long-lasting benefits. When an herbal blend is targeting a particular outcome and is prepared properly, a medicinal effect can be achieved. It is important to have a proper method of infusion to achieve medicinal effects. After 25 years of formulating and drinking herbal teas, this is the method I value and have found most effective in achieving a potent brew. Youneed a proper steeping vessel like a French press or a tea maker that allows the herbs to steep loose while staying covered. I find it’s essential to cover your brew right away so the volatile oils from the herbs, so valuable toward effectiveness, do not escape into the air. That’s why Dixon says, “otherwise, your room smells nice but you’re not retaining the medicinal properties.” So begin by measuring 1 tbsp. herb per cup of water into the steeping vessel. To fill an average 16 oz. mug it usually ends up to be 2 tbsp. herb for 2 cups water. Pour just boiled water over herbs and cover to steep 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and enjoy! The tea will still be nice and hot and the herbs will have had a sufficient time to steep. You might be thinking a loose-leaf tea spares convenience, but when you have this down it’s a snap. Plus you have a high quality drink while getting more value for your buck. You’ll get 2 to 3 times more loose-leaf tea for the value of 1 tea bag. As we approach the cooler months of the year when Mother Nature is dying back and preparing to rest, our bodies seem to need extra support. Drinking a medicinal tea can do just that, while also tasting good. It is a little known fact that certain organ systems are more vulnerable in each season of the year. During the winter months we want to boost our kidneys and bladder by drinking a blend of herbs such as, nettle leaf, alfalfa, chamomile, marshmallow root and oat straw. Stress is also a given during the holiday season, so targeting herbs to tone your nervous system and to keep you calm can be so important and helpful. Some suggestions would be to blend herbs such as lemon balm, chamomile, skullcap, spearmint, lavender and passionflower. Incorporating a tea ritual as part of your day gives you a message to pause, reflect and restore your balance and well-being. It’s an incredible way to nurture and treat your self well with little time spent on the process. Winter Herbal Tea

Winter Herbal Tea

So let’s get started toward optimum health, in such an easy and delightful way, by brewing up a favorite herbal tea. We often forget that something so simple and affordable can have great impact on our health. This time honored medicine has been proven powerful over millenniums.   Simply choose a single herb, or blend for your particular needs, and a steeping vessel of choice. Voila, a perfect marriage! Enjoy an ancient medicine way for modern times.   Light & Love, Kimberly