Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring e zine: Cleansing and gardening!

           Spring is just around the corner and the days are already getting warmer. Soon it will be time for the bears wake up and cleanse themselves with very purging plants, such as Skunk Cabbage (too strong for this purpose in humans!) It's also time for us to come out of hibernation and rid our body of the heaviness of the bulky foods that nourished us throughout the winter. Try eating lighter meals and cutting out refined foods, such as sugar, white breads and pastas. 
           Start your cleansing process with gentle lymphatic herbs, like Cleavers (Galium aparine) and Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) before using liver cleansers such as Burdock (Arctium lappa) and Dandelion (Taraxacum off.). Cleansing herbs can be too cold and clearing for some people so use caution. Everybody has a different physique, energy level, constitutional strength, etc, so consult a herbalist for custom dietary advice and to find out which cleansing herbs are right for you.

With spring comes plans for gardening!! Include some herbs in your garden this year to add beauty, colour, and medicinal value to your garden!

Calendula officinalis (Marigold) is a somewhat hardy annual that likes rich, well-drained soil. Calendula grow well even if left unattended. Water during dry periods, once or twice per week. Pick dead blooms to encourage new blooms. Calendula is a useful medicinal for skin and intestinal health and it offers a lovely orange flower!

Inula helenium (Elecampane) is commonly used for unproductive coughs, bronchitis, and asthma. The plant prefers moderately fertile, moist soil and full sun to light shade. Roots are collected after the second growing season. Elecampane grows over a metre tall and has bright yellow flowers.

Lavendula officinalis (Lavender) is an evergreen shrub that requires dry to moist soil, direct sun, and is drought tolerant. Well known as a culinary and cosmetic herb, it is also used medicinally to alleviate stress, headaches, and encourage natural sleep. Its purple flowers add to the beauty of the garden and its aroma puts the gardener and companions at ease!

Book suggestion:  Barbara Grigg's Green Pharmacy - about the history of herbal medicine. Not to be confused with The Green Pharmacy - another great home herbal book by James Duke. 

A great online booklet explaining gluten allergy, gluten sensitivity, and related food reactions.

Contributors to this ezine: Lauren Truscott, Rory Knapp Fisher, Candice May, Lindsay Hounslow, and Laura Mroz – students at Pacific Rim College studying Phytotherapy.

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