A gentle spring cleanse

The spring cleanse is a traditional ritual used to relieved the body/mind of the couch potato burdens winter leaves behind.

The spring cleanse is a traditional ritual used to relieved the body/mind of the couch potato burdens winter leaves behind.

The spring cleanse lightens the body and mind, improves energy and mood while clearing up feelings of sluggishness and general malaise.

The traditional spring cleanse involves fasting (or at least limiting food) for three days to three weeks. During the fast nutritional herbs that also remove toxins from the body are taken.

For some people this works well, but for many it causes problems.

If suffering with a chronic health challenge, fasting and cleansing can aggravate the condition.

People who struggle with addictions such as tobacco, sugar or alcohol can become ill during a cleanse.

This may have a detrimental effect on their efforts to kick the addiction.

Diabetics need to avoid fasting.

If someone is poorly nourished, fasting can cause further malnourishment.

For others, the whole thought of cleansing is just too dramatic and disruptive to their daily responsibilities.

For these reasons, instead of seasonal cleansing, I recommend daily cleansing. Everyday do one to three thing for your health with the intention of helping your body remove the toxins of daily life. The following a few simple suggestions on how to do a daily cleanse.

Sprinkle ground fax seeds Powder whole flax seeds in the coffee bean grinder and sprinkle a tablespoon on cereal or into a smoothie.

By using whole flax seeds, the inner seed offers essential fatty acids to moisten skin while the husk supplies fibre for the bowel.

Fibre keeps regularity and it binds fat for removal.

Ground whole flax seeds can be part of any weight loss program.

Drink green tea Green tea is high in anti-oxidants that remove cell damaging free radicals from the body.

Green tea provides an energy boost without coffee’s jitters.

Add some grated orange or lemon peel to enhance the tea’s anti-oxidants effect.

Eat an apple a day Apples, like flax seed, are an excellent source of fibre.

Apples also remove heavy metals. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the apple said to protect the lungs of smokers.

Try juicing

Although juicing can be time consuming, it is a great weekly cleansing ritual. My favourite juice is carrots, beets and celery. This juice is a cleansing liver/kidney tonic.

The Vitamin A in carrots nourishes eyes, skin and liver.

Beets are a traditional liver tonic in India. Celery removes toxins from joints and flushes them from the body via the kidney.

Brew up some herbal tea

Nettle (Uticaria dioica), dandelion leaf (Taraxacum off.) and cleavers (Galium aparine) are a traditional spring cleanse herbs used in tea.

While cleansing it is important to replenish minerals and vitamins that are flushed from the body along with toxins.

Nettle and dandelion leaf are high in vitamins and minerals.

Nettles are one of the highest plant based proteins in the world. Cleavers decongest the lymphatic system.

Try flavouring the tea with a pinch of peppermint leaf.

Peppermint gently stimulates a sluggish liver and digestive tract.

Toss up a colourful salad Make a colourful salad colour with radishes, grated carrots and beets, purple onion, slices of tomatoes and cucumbers.

Colourful food ensures a wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well as fibre nourishing the body while deeply cleansing.

Take Kelp Capsule

When feeling heavy and sluggish, Kelp brings back the flow.

Kelp, like apples, removes heavy metals from our bodies.

It is also a significant source of calcium.

Be sure to purchase North Atlantic or Norwegian Kelp. Also, if taking thyroid medication, do not use kelp.

Soak in an Epsom Salt bath Epsom salts not only relieve aching overworked muscles, but they draw toxins from our bodies while skin soaks up magnesium.

It is recommended to take an Epsom salt bath three times a week.

Epsom salt baths are very relaxing; take it just before bed for deeper sleep. Moisturize skin well after the bath, as the salts can be drying. Also for enhanced enjoyment, add 10 drops of a favoured essential oil.

Finally, when offering the body nourishing cleansing food or soaking in a soothing tub, express gratitude for all the body does: feet that go for walks, arms that hug, and eyes that sparkle with love.

Thank hands for all they create, ears for all they hear and the tongue for all the delicious food it tastes.

This in turn cleanses the heart.

Do not meet a tree

If unable to accept

Leaves shaping your mind.

Herbs for Life is written by Abrah Arneson, a local clinical herbalist. It is intended for information purposes only. Readers with a specific medical problem should consult a doctor. For more information, visit www.abraherbalist.ca. Arneson can be reached www.abraherbs.com.