Yep, the blog is back. It’s spring and time for new beginnings. No time like the present to get back to the blog after a long absence. Let’s start off with spring tonics…

Spring is a time sloughing off the old to make way for the new. We rake the leaves and dead grass to let the new grass have sun and air for growing. Our bodies also need to get rid of all the old cellular and metabolic waste built up during the winter months of slower activity. The liver is key in the function of removing waste and toxins.  It does this on its own as the seasons change. Spring tonic herbs help nourish the liver so that it can perform as peak efficiency during a time when it is being overworked.

In her infinite wisdom and ways, Nature provides the best liver tonics in the spring, when they are most needed. Their new growth is bursting with vitamins and minerals needed to nourish the liver and improve its function. To remove the toxins many of them are diuretics, meaning they will make you pee more. They are usually either eaten raw as a potherb or make into tea to increase fluid intake.

Besides the physical benefits of spring tonic herbs, there are the benefits of feeling sunshine and breezes on your face as your harvest, reenacting the tradition of your ancestors in gathering green  plants of spring as food and medicine,  connecting with the plants, connecting with Nature/Creator and the good feeling of knowing you’re preventing illness and taking care of your health all by yourself.

We’ll start with an easy favorite, Dandelion. Oh, if only everyone knew the benefits of this lowly, little flower. The early settlers knew how good they were and requested they be sent from Europe. They’re an amazing plant and escaped those early gardens to cover the entire nation. The money spent on killing Dandelions (and the advertising) could be better spent on research showing all their benefits.

Dandelions are an incredible source of potassium and the calcium needed to absorb it, along with an alphabet soup of vitamins – A, B, C and D.  They are an antioxidant (think cancer prevention) and contain essential fatty acids as well as other phytonutrients that reduce inflammation in the body (reduce pain.) They even contain trace elements and provide an immune system boost.  If a prescription could do all that, the company would make billions. We have this medicine growing in our yards!

Now, what to do with them… The leaves can be eaten as salad greens and add a mild bitterness that is excellent for the entire digestive system. The younger the leaves, the less bitter. The flowers can be fried like fritters by dipping them in batter immediately after they are harvested (or they will close.) The flower petals (twisted off the bitter green bud) can also be used to make yummy cookies (recipe below.) Fresh spring roots are made into liver tonic tea or tincture.

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Dandelion Flower Cookies – The Splendid Table

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup oil (we use either coconut oil or butter)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup dandelion flowers
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Blend oil and honey and beat in the two eggs and vanilla.
3. Stir in flour, oatmeal and dandelion flowers.
4. Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
 
To Prepare Dandelion Flowers for Use in Recipes:
1. Wash them thoroughly.
2. Measure the required quantity of intact flowers into a measuring cup.
3. Hold flowers by the tip with the fingers of one hand and pinch the green flower base very hard with the other, releasing the yellow florets from their attachment. Shake the yellow flowers into a bowl. Flowers are now ready to be incorporated into recipes.
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