Spring is upon us, and with all the new green shoots popping up, it's a great time to learn how to cook plants you've never tried before -- and to find out how healthful they are! Fortunately, you won't have to do a lot of research or trial and error -- two friends and fellow herbalists, Pam Gould and Lorna Mauney-Brodek, have started a set of hands-on herbal cooking workshops to teach you how to "make seasonally appropriate (and delicious) choices to support your health."
They're offering one workshop for every season, beginning with Spring on Thursday March 24, 2011 from 7-9 pm. For all the details, check out The Herb Kitchen!
Just the thing to get your juices flowing!
-- adapted from Susun Weed's Healing Wise
Clean and soak the burdock root for about 15 minutes, then cut into thin slices. Wash all roots thoroughly, and rinse greens. In a large pot, cook the onion in oil until golden. Add the burdock root slices. Chop and add fresh dandelion leaves and roots. Then chop and add fresh yellow dock leaves and roots. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least one hour or until roots are soft and easy to eat.
Serves 6-8. Feel free to add your own favorite soup spices -- spices are medicinal, too!
What do all these herbs do?
Burdock, Dandelion and Yellow Dock are all said to have an "affinity" for the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Liver system.
Burdock helps relieve acid reflux, indigestion and heartburn, and helps improve the "transit time" of digested food through the body. It tones the large intestine's peristaltic muscle, and energizes the lymphatic system.
Dandelion Root aids inflammation of the liver and gallbladder, muscular rheumatism, menstrual disturbances, insomnia, migraine headaches, cysts and fibroids. Dandelion Leaf is a powerful diuretic.
Yellow Dock helps treat conditions caused by poor Liver system function including acne, boils, eczema, hemorrhoids or psoriasis; mild to severe constipation; and jaundice. It also helps increase the small intestine's ability to absorb nutrients.
What to look out for:
Stick to recommended amounts of any herb -- too much may be too much!
Contraindications may include:
For Burdock: people allergic to Aster-family plants may have an allergic reaction.
For Dandelion: people allergic to Aster-family plants may have an allergic reaction; people who have been taking a lot of pharmaceuticals may feel "queasy" as the herb works at detoxifying the liver.
For Yellow Dock: Large doses may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Avoid using with prescription laxatives.
Why A Spring Tune Up?
My car might need one, you might be thinking, but why do I?
Well, everything in nature is getting ready to burst into leaf and bloom. If you're feeling a little sluggish, a spring tune-up can help you get into balance with the season. Here's how it works.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Spring is the time of the Wood element: sudden growth and rapid expansion, irresistible movement and unpredictable change. Nothing's going to hold it back. In our bodies, we feel this impetus in the Liver -- not that lobe-shaped organ, but what TCM calls the Liver System. This system governs muscles, ligaments and tendons; the eyes; and the regular, rhythmic release of digestive enzymes, among other duties. And that's just the physical component.
In TCM, Liver imbalances can show up as muscle tension and spasms, sciatica, headaches, seasonal allergies, insomnia, menstrual problems, skin eruptions, blurry vision and floaters, digestive problems and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a tendency to form cysts and fibroids, and, of course, liver diseases.
The good news is, these problems can be addressed by a knowledgeable herbalist, acupuncturist or naturopath. And many of them can be alleviated through Reiki and Reflexology. If you'd like to find out more, please get in touch with me.
Christin Whittington is a practitioner of energy medicine – helping people restore balance in their bodies, their health and their lives using a combination of Reiki, Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Qi Gong and herbal medicine.