Spring time is a great time for detoxing our body after winter hibernation when we can get sluggish. Tonics are a perfect way to "nurture and enliven" our system in the words of herbalist David Hoffman. They help wake the body from our winter rest and get important things like our bile moving to cleanse our liver which can hold many of our toxins. It only makes sense that the earliest herbs we see in spring are the ones that we should be injesting too. Dandelion, chickweed, violet, nettles, and more. Spring tonics with herbs high in nutrients and minerals and that stimulate and discharge our blood are good for our digestive system, lymphatic system, and urinary system. This batch of spring tonic we made consists of stinging nettles, chickweed, spice bush, sassafras root, dandelion, turkey tail and molasses as a preservative. We spent a sunny but cool spring day building up a fire at Susquehannock State Park, collecting water from the spring, harvesting herbs and making a decoction of the tonic.
Chickweed Stellaria media
Such a common and often overlooked plant that gets written off as "just a weed." "Little star" is a reference to the many sweet star like flowers that line its stems. It's an amazing all-purpose healing plant used internally and externally. It is considered a cooling herb and found in every continent and found even under the snow. Its a great source of food and contains saponins which have soap like action that works to emulsify and permeate membranes in our cells to absorb beneficial nutrients and minerals, making it great for the lymphatic system and glandular system. It neutralizes toxins, weakens bacteria cell walls to fight off sickness in the body, dissolves warts and growths and cysts. Susan Weed writes extensively about this plant and includes that it is great in helping with thyroid irregularities and weight problems.
Spice bush budding about to unfurl its oval lobed leaves.
Part of the polypore mushroom family, Turkey Tail is a highly medicinal and easily found in the woods growing on decaying logs with its colorful stripes and turkey fan tail. Its main effects are to strengthen the immune system. It helps to enhance the most important cells in our body, T helper cells. These are the ones that tell the rest of our cells what to do and when to stop. Many autoimmune diseases and cancers attack these important cells especially during chemotherapy and radiation because they inadvertently kills T helper cells so go Turkey Tail!