Spring Fever means different things to many people, but it usually connotes a strange, anxious feeling combined with joy that the sun will return, bringing light, warmth, long days and opportunities to spend more time outside. For some, it brings on a deep funk....like the darkness before the dawn.
Usually, herbal remedies are used to alieve symptoms and to make you feel better as soon as possible, but the use of time honored "spring tonics" do not always accomplish this so smoothly.
Our ancestors ate to the seasons because they HAD to, so when first spring greens emerged, they would eat them greedily after months of preserved food. Fresh at last!! Because they ate local diets and were generally unable to overeat, their bodies could rather easily make the seasonal transition to spring. Today, though, our bodies are under constant assault from our foods, environment, personal care choices and stress---all leading to an overburdened LIVER---which spring tonics are meant to cleanse and tonify. This large organ has many duties, first among them to regulate metabolic and hormonal processes. The Chinese believe that the liver is the "seat of anger"....and when we speak of mean people, we say they are "full of bile". An abused, neglected Liver can cause many illnesses and emotional problems, as everything you eat, breath in, slather on your body, must be processed by the liver before it can begin its task of metabolizing, storing and parceling out nutrients. So, if you have spent your winter on the couch, eating chips or tail-gate foods, you liver is stressed and as Spring approaches, it will attempt to cleanse itself. With NO help from you, this process can cause colds, aches, strange bowel habits, insomnia, anxiety, skin eruptions, allergic reactions and flaring emotions. So, be good to yourself and ease up on heavy, fatty foods and drinks some tonics. But guess what?.......Taking Spring Tonics can cause colds, aches, strange bowel habits, insomnia, anxiety, skin eruptions, allergic reactions and flaring emotions!!! RELAX and accept this natural process. The difference between being healthy or unhealthy is the severity of any of these symptoms. Use this time as a way of assessing your general health.
The objective, then, is to support your liver and recognize the the normal changes the body needs to make as it switches from winter to spring---hibernating and slow metabolism to activity and a faster metabolism. To do this, try the following:
~Eat light, frequent meals ~ Drink more fluids like water and teas ~ Eat more greens ~ Eat bitter plants like dandelion greens, chives...and black coffee ~ Cut WAY back on fats.
~ If you do not do it already, try adding a daily dose of VINEGAR to your diet which aids the liver in its work and often gets rid of nagging, chronic conditions such as mild arthritis, tiredness, acid reflux, etc. Try 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 Tbsp of honey. Some people prefer lemon juice to the vinegar.
~ Some people like to do a short-one day to three day fast at this time--which is good--but I discourage the use of colonics and harsh/expensive "detox" programs.
~ For the next several weeks, have a cup a day of SASSAFRASS tea. It is delightful!
~ My own daily Spring Tonic is as follows:
- 3 parts Nettle leaf...2 parts Mint (any type, but I like spearmint).....1 part Sassafrass bark.......1/16 part Ginger or Cayenne .....bring water to a boil with ths sassafrass in it for a few minutes, take off boil and then pour over other herbs and cover. Let steep for 4-8 hours or overnight and sip throughout the day at room temperature. Make fresh daily.
The transistion from the cold/inactive winter to the warm/active spring is difficult for the body under the best of circumstances. So, be an active partner and use this time of anxiousness and change to reassess your lifestyle/diet and health.... drink your daily tea and make Spring Fever work in your favor.