Ah, Spring is here. Time to open the windows, let fresh air in and spring clean our homes. It can also mean time to spring clean our bodies, minds and souls after a winter of being closed in. Detox cleanses are popular to do in the Spring and Fall especially if allergies get activated because of the increase in pollen. I have suffered in years past from invasions of Spring-time dust and pollen resulting in sinus infections and antibiotics. Several years ago I took stock of my health imbalances and began to incorporate some natural remedies that have eliminated the infections and brought me into a state of healthy balance. Now I don’t get sick and antibiotics are a thing of the past. So before and during the Spring season I have my own favorite ways to stay healthy.
Here are a few of my favorite Spring cleaning tips for body and soul:
1. NETI POT CLEANSING OF THE NOSE. The Neti pot is like a little tea pot or Aladdin’s lamp that is filled with warm water (bottled or filtered works best) with a 1/4 tsp of salt. Tilting your head over a sink, insert the spout into one nostril and allow it to flow through and out the other nostril. While it seems odd to do, the benefits are enormous. The irrigation helps to flush out any bacteria that may be clinging to the tiny hairs in the nose. I do this once a week before Spring starts and then whenever a little tickle in the nose tells me that some unwanted toxins are beginning to lodge in my nose and create infection. Nasal irrigation really helps to not only clear the passages but to alleviate any congestion. It is great to use as a prevention of colds and infections and to clear blockages that may occur later. And as I have written in other blogs I have had such great success in eliminating the need for antibiotics and cold medicines because of paying attention to seasonal changes and polluntants in the air. My liver and kidneys are healthier and better functioning for it.
2. DANDELION TEA: Herbal teas are a mainstay in my diet every day. Once I discovered that so many herbal teas have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and seemingly anti-everything I couldn’t help but add them to my health regime. Dandelions are usually seen as nuisance weeds in the yard. And they are even with their bright yellow flowers. But the benefits far out way their nuisance reputation.
Dandelion is very rich in protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, niacin, riboflavin, potassium and vitamins A,B,C,D and E. It helps all of the digestive organs (liver, kidney, gallbladder). It especially helps the liver organ to detoxify and cleanse the blood It is a great diuretic and it eases bloat and aching joints. I buy dandelion tea in the convenient tea bags as well as in its natural luscious green leafy stalks which can be chopped up and put into boiling water for tea or added to salads to reap its fresh natural benefits. Even though there are dandelions in my garden and at my local park, I hesitate to dig them up – we do have neighbor dogs that share our local surroundings. So better to purchase dandelion from my natural food store.
I have found that as I ease into Spring drinking dandelion tea, my systems of digestion and elimination work so much easier. The earthy quality of the tea keeps me calm and grounded so even when the day becomes longer and I become more active, my moods and feelings remain more balanced.
3. MORE LEAFY GREENS: Adding more salads to my diet promotes healthy liver, colon and lymphatic and immune systems. Indoor winter time meant going inward and often meant eating soups and warmer foods and less of cooler salads. But with Spring lettuce, kale, spinach are bursting out and lots of salads are on my agenda. They bring in their own vitamins and minerals help to stimulate my elimination systems. Dandelion greens have not been the top of my list but, ok, I am willing to give them a try for health’s sake.
Dr. Andrew Weil at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine promotes dandelion greens for their bitter taste because they help to produce bile that is important to optimal digestion. The bitter taste challenges the liver just as muscles challenged by exercise function better than ones that atrophy from underuse.
I am learning to expand my taste buds and I have to admit that dandelions are more of a challenge. But the benefits I feel in a more energetic body that gets me out into Nature and my garden is well worth the effort. So a few dandelion greens either sauteed with garlic and spinach or a few chopped up in a salad are finding their way into my health care.
4. MEDITATIVE MOVEMENT: Meditation is another mainstay of my healthy lifestyle but especially in Spring as I begin to walk more out in Nature and around my neighborhood. Starting the day with some quiet time to express a positive intention for the day and to move into some stretches and qigong movements sets the tone for me. I feel armed for the day when I can first touch into my core values, beliefs, skills and joyous goodness. I see this morning qigong/meditation (sometimes it is 15 minutes and most times 30 minutes or more) as a way to acknowledge the importance of my unique being that in the face of life’s challenges can conquer the day!
So there are some thoughts that work for me and hope that work for you as well. I would love to hear your comments and to learn what you do to ease into Spring.