Top 5 Herbs for the Spring Season
One of my favorite things about the spring season is the abundance of fresh herbs, all within our reach! Whether you’ve spotted dandelion in your front yard or noticed the plethora of purple dead nettle lining the edge of sidewalks, it’s no secret that herbs are everywhere right now. And as a naturopath and herbalist, I easily geek out over this under-appreciated fact of nature. Why? Because it’s like nature itself (or the loving Father that gave it to us!) is encouraging us to cleanse our bodies after a long winter...nature’s reminder for us to spring clean our insides!
In all seriousness though, there is something very beautiful and nutritive about consuming both seasonal foods and seasonal plant medicines. I don’t think it’s coincidence that certain plants grow in certain seasons, and I am a firm believer that the closer we stay to the rhythm of nature, the healthier we will be. With that said, here are my top 5 favorite spring herbs (though it was hard to narrow it down to just 5!), and ones that, if you know what you’re looking for and where to find it, you may just be lucky enough to find on a springtime hike!
Top 5 Spring Herbs for Whole Body Seasonal Support
Nettles, or “stinging nettle,” is one of the most nutritive, vitamin and mineral-rich herbs out there. Packed full of vitamin C and quercetin, this is a fantastic herb to fend off spring allergies, while also acting as an excellent systemic tonic and strengthener.
Parts used: roots, sprigs (do NOT use the raw leaves in a salad. They can be blended or cooked, but not eaten as raw leaves)
Just about all of us will be able to identify dandelion. But did you know that prolific front yard “weed” is one of the most powerful liver cleansers and blood builders? Rich in iron and other minerals, this multi-dimensional herb acts as a cholagogue, diuretic, stomachic, alternative, and astringent just to name a few of its numerous properties.
Parts used: roots (affinity for liver), leaves (affinity for kidneys), flowers
Yet another of my favorites, horsetail is easy to spot because of its whispy, hair-like sprigs that grow out of bamboo-looking stems. It’s quite a sight! And like other herbs, this one works on multiple organ systems at once, with specific affinity for the kidneys, blood, heart, and lungs. Horsetail is also very rich in silica, which is important for connective tissue health and healing.
Parts used: tops/sprigs (horsetail is very grassy and tough because of the high silica content, so it’s recommended to either use in an infusion, decoction, tincture, tea, or powder rather than consuming the actual sprigs)
Yarrow is a truly beautiful herb. Slightly resembling baby’s breath in the flowers, and with what looks like dill surrounding the stems, this herb’s benefits are as beautiful and intriguing as its appearance. A powerful astringent herb with slight stimulant properties, yarrow favors the circulatory system, and is an excellent remedy for sluggish digestion.
Parts used: flower and leaves
And last but definitely not least, the marvelous mullein! Mullein is most generally used for respiratory ailments and lung support (making it great for allergy season!), but this powerhouse herb is also incredible for musculoskeletal pain, inflammation, and repair. It’s highly mucilaginous, and provides a soothing coating to irritated tissue states.
Parts used: whole plant—leaves (affinity for skin wounds), flower (affinity for respiratory system), aerial parts (affinity for urinate tract; good for edema and wound healing both internal and external)
Nature always provides the exact remedies we need when we need them. Step up your spring wellness regimen by incorporating and experimenting with these 5 herbs, and shoot me an email to let me know what benefits you see!
Until next time...stay happy, healthy, and hopeful.
Dr. Anna Johnson, ND/CNS/MH