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At spring, two different annual events occur, in terms of our internal biology. Firstly, we have the reduction of the levels of melatonin that our pineal gland produces, which makes us feel less sleepy and ideally more energetic. Secondly, and this is not exactly a biological inevitability, we have the post-Christmas slump - recovering from what was probably an indulgent month of less activity and more food that might well be considered unhealthy. In parallel with the spring clean of our homes, it is a good time of year for a spring clean of our body systems.

Gallium aparine

I don't usually advocate a full "detox" - they can be harsh, difficult to stick to and probably a bit unnecessary. Spring can be a time that we encourage our bodies' own normal eliminatory processes, which are always ticking away in the background. The kidneys and liver are primarily concerned with this, and to a lesser extent the spleen, lungs and skin. In herbal medicine, it is recognised that if the liver and kidneys are unable to meet the full demand for excretion in the body, the skin tends to be effected negatively, as though it struggles to take up the slack.

Allium ursinum

Gentle, cooling remedies that promote organ-level function of these organs are ideal at this time of year, and can feature as part of a physiological 'spring clean'. The typical ones that are around at this time of year are Stellaria media, Urtica dioica, Galium aparine and Allium ursinum (less cooling, but tastier). Taraxacum radix is the obvious choice for liver function. Although nettle lends itself to being an infusion, the others are probably best ingested as juices or vegetables. Bear garlic pesto is delicious.

Stellaria media

You can listen to an episode about herbal medicine in spring, along witth a bit of background on myself, on the podcast of my dear friend, Vanessa - just click here.

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