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Spring Detox

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the change of seasons including helpful practices for dealing with the time change. You can find it here: This post focuses more on understanding how the season affects our digestive and respiratory health. According to the science of Ayurveda, the end of winter and beginning of Spring is the "Kapha" time of year. Kapha qualities include wet, sticky, muddy, heavy, dense, cloudy and viscous. These qualities show up in Nature at this time of year, but are also present within us. Nature, when she is healthy, provides the remedies to counteract the typical seasonal colds, allergies and digestive ailments we experience as we transition from cold, dry weather to warm/cool, wet Spring like weather. I live on the central East Coast of the United States - which generally has 4 seasons, although Spring and Fall have become shorter and winter and Summer have lengthened with our changing climate. So, I am particularly writing from this perspective and including plants that grow in our central East Coast climate. Traditionally, before humans fell out of synch with the changing seasons, we used to eat only what was available - what Nature provided us (we now have access to most foods any time, all year long thanks to Big Agriculture, transportation and the corporatization of our food markets - which is not necessarily a good thing, as we have disconnected from the source of our food and from the wisdom of what our bodies need during different times of year). In Spring time on the East Coast, we have access to bitter roots and tubers of plants and the first young greens just starting to appear. After eating a heavier, oilier diet of nutrient dense seeds, nuts and for some of us, meats, it is time to lighten up our diet. The plants that are naturally available to us like dandelion, burdock and yellow dock have medicinal properties - they are bitter, astringent, and support the health of our digestion, our blood, our liver and adrenal glands. The young greens are sweeter than the more mature plants which tend to be too bitter to taste good. The roots can also be used in tinctures, or powdered and taken as supplements. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, this is a great time to add a cleansing practice to your daily routine like Neti pot to cleanse the sinuses. A morning practice of alternate nostril breathing can help to cleanse the sinuses and clear the mind. Avoiding mucous-causing foods like dairy and sugar and processed wheat can be helpful in lessening the amount of mucous produced, and ingesting astringent herbs like dandelion tincture can also assist us with this cleansing and support our respiratory system. Stinging Nettle tea can offer relief from allergies. In addition, when planting plants in your own yard, consider not planting heavy pollen producers. Essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint can also be helpful in a diffuser. Be careful using these oils full strength. You never want to put them directly on skin - It is better to dilute them in a carrier oil like almond oil. Oregano oil is good for calming histamine production, and when diluted, can be taken internally. Plaintain leaf can ease coughs and congestion. You can eat young plaintain leaves in a salad with a little dandelion! (If you don't treat your lawn with pesticides, of course!) A cup of peppermint tea or ginger tea can aid with digestion. Black and green tea can ease respiratory congestion as well, as long as you don't dump a bunch of sugar and milk in your tea (both of which are mucous producing)! This post only briefly touches on the many plants available to help us with Spring digestive and respiratory issues, and every body is different - what works best for one individual may not work for another. Also, please be aware of any personal allergies to plants and know that some plants and plant oils are not safe for ingesting and can only be used when diluted for the skin! *This is article is not medical advice! For more detailed information on how to use these plants, I suggest making an appointment with an herbalist or you can contact me directly at kostanadancer @ gmail dot com!

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