This time of year it’s natural to want to do a bit of a detox to shake off those winter doldrums and clean out our bodies the way we do our closets.
Actually, spring cleanses and spring tonics are age old. From Europe to the US, grandmothers whipped out the spring cleanse bitters this time of year to “get the blood moving.” Even in Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the time of the liver, and classic Western herbal spring cleanses included “liver tonic” herbs. Dandelion is a common example.
So you want to do a spring cleanse, too?
Here are my five top suggestions for an optimal spring cleanse, which should last a week:
1. Start every day with an 8-ounce glass of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Adding a dash of cayenne will definitely get your blood moving!
2. Eat a very simple diet for seven days: a high-quality protein from food (not a nutrient supplement shake), good-quality fat, and some lightly steamed or raw veggies at each meal, including breakfast. You get bonus points if your vegetables are spring greens such as the slightly bitter dandelion, watercress, or fresh salad mix.
Here's a great recipe for a simple dandelion green salad. Don’t skip meals.
3. Each day, snack on two cups of fresh vegetable juice made with kale, celery, an apple, cucumber, beets, lemon and ginger. This is cleansing and nourishes your blood.
4. Make sure your bowels are moving every day — at least once! Take between 300mg and 600mg of magnesium citrate every night, and 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed in your food to get things going.
5. Drink a bitter tonic twice daily for one week. To make your own spring liver tonic/cleanse try this bitters drink:
Use 1/4 teaspoons each of the following herbal tinctures:
- Dandelion root
- Burdock root
- Sarsaparilla root
- Ginger root
Mix into plain or carbonated water, with lemon for taste if you'd like, and take 1-2 cups daily for a week. It can also be used as a digestive aid after meals on a more regular basis.
This cleanse is not for pregnant women or folks with known liver disease.
Originally posted on MindBodyGreen