Saturday, May 3, 2008

Rising up to Spring

I woke up this morning with a gentle dewy breeze slipping through my window, tickling my face. Slowly I opened my eyes and noticed right away that there was a new and distinctive quality of light in the sky. I rose up to start the day- starting with my prayers. Then gathered myself to go hike and run through the park nearby. The warmth of the morning sun and the cool breeze had Spring written all over it.

I have a background in plant science and botanical studies, so I always take note of the plants, what they are doing, how they are growing, as I am well aware that Mother Nature speaks to us through her plant world. I Sometimes I stop and pick what I consider to be powerful plant medicine-dandelion, red clover, plantain leaf, mullein; all growing in a most peculiar way. It amazes me that a tiny seed would see fit to germinate, take root, and sprout up through the cracks of asphalt- that's what I can an Uprising! Such determination inspires me to do the work that I do with Tender Shoots Wellness.

These powerful weeds are nestled in with other vegetation, so you may not even notice them at first glance. I'm starting to see a lot of dandelion and red clover bunches which indicates that it is time to collect these plants and do our own spring cleaning- internally. Dandelion is a strong bitter herb that has an astringent and cleansing action on the liver and kidneys. It helps to break down fats stored in the liver and gallbladder and promotes healthy colon function. Its a great plant to introduce especially as we transition from eating hearty winter foods to light spring inspired meals. The young leaves are a great addition to salads, and sandwiches.

Red clover has a cleansing quality as well. It is a wonder herb, used in treatment of cancer, joint disorders, skin inflammations, mastitis, it acts as a blood purifier, cleanses the liver, a diuretic- helping to remove excess fluid from the body, and helps clear the lungs of mucous, it improves overall circulation in the body.

Take a moment to check out some tasty ways to incorporate these spring cleaning greens into your diet. Enjoy.

Sauteed Dandelion Greens with Garlic
2lbs dandelion greens, thoroughly washed
2 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, bruised and smashed open
crushed red pepper to taste
sea salt to taste

Boil the greens in salted water for up to 5 minutes. Shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the greens from cooking, and to retain the green color. Drain and squeeze out water. Heat the oil in a skillet then add the garlic, cooking over low heat, as the garlic begins to brown add in the greens, stirring, to mix in the garlic flavor, cover and allow to cook, increasing the heat for 3 minutes. Season with sea salt and crushed red pepper. Please buy organically grown dandelion because since most folks consider them a pesty weed, they are usually heavily sprayed.

Red Clover Herbal Tea
1 cup red clover blossoms (fresh or 1/2 cup dried)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
4 cups filtered water
honey or agave nectar to taste

Bring water to boil, add clover blossoms and mint. Allow to steep up to 10 minutes, strain off the liquid and sweeten if desired. You can find organic red clover blossoms at herbal shops and farmer's markets, and online. I get them at Integral Yoga Foods.

Welcome Springtime!


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