Spring Has Sprung: The Plants of Our Newest Seasonal Blend
Apr 20, 2022
Spring is proverbially known as a time of rebirth, a time when we shake off the winter cobwebs and take a deep breath of the fresh, dewey air. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Spring is associated with the liver meridian. It’s no wonder why in the Northern Hemisphere, we often see dandelions (a powerful liver detoxifier) emerging from the ground with the entrance of spring. The liver is responsible for removing unwanted toxins from the body, making spring the perfect time to support it for some “spring cleaning.” How do you know if your liver might need some love? Signs and symptoms include:
Skin problems: dullness and acne
Waking at night regularly between the hours of 2-4am (when the liver does a lot of its heavy lifting
Blood sugar issues
Hormone imbalance-related issues
If you’re experiencing any of those symptoms or feel like you need a clear step into spring, you might want to consider our newest seasonal blend: Bittersweet Symphony.
Bittersweet Symphony is packed with plants that are high in vitamins and minerals to help support the body’s detoxification system and restore the body. Formulated to be used daily, this blend gently supports the body’s detoxification pathways and contains plants that have been shown to optimize liver function and support healthy metabolism.
Meet the Ingredients:
It’s not just a weed, it’s a powerful liver-supporting plant! Dandelion (also known as Taraxacum Officinale) is an Alterative herb, which basically means that it falls into a category of herbs that can alter the body’s metabolism and detoxification. Dandelion, like other alterative herbs, can improve the function of our organs of elimination, including liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin, supporting our bodies with the overall detoxification process.
Dandelion root is also nutritive and contains many beneficial compounds, including more Vitamin A than carrots per 100 grams. The roots also have an abundance of inulin, which is known as a prebiotic (food that feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut). Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as traditional Indian and Russian medicine all consider dandelion to be a “liver tonic” because of its restorative, cleansing, and protective effects on the liver. Dandelion leaves are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and thiamine as well as calcium, copper, manganese, and iron.
Chlorella is a nutritious green algae containing numerous macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It contains more protein than soybeans, more folate than spinach, and substantial amounts of vitamins D and B12, which are two vitamins known to be absent in plants. Chlorella is also plentiful in absorbable iron and potassium among other minerals as well.
But, what makes chlorella distinct is its ability to assist the detoxification pathways in eliminating heavy metals from the body. It works by binding to the heavy metal and escorting it out of the body. In fact, studies have shown that chlorella supplementation was able to reduce the levels of mercury, silver, tin, and lead in patients with long-term dental amalgam fillings and titanium implants, while increasing certain minerals required for human health such as manganese and chromium.
Nettle, also known as stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is an herb best known for its diuretic properties and kidney support. It has an effect on the immune system and can function like an antioxidant. It has also been shown to support detoxification pathways in the liver by increasing the functionality of certain enzymes.
Nettles are highly nutritive. In fact, one study claims that it is possibly the richest source of minerals among plants. It contains calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, sodium, and zinc. Nettles are also a source of many bioactive compounds such as phenolic acids (protective against oxidative damage), flavonoids (antioxidant effects), curcuminoids (anti-inflammatory), coumarins (anticoagulant), lignans (phytoestrogen), quinones (assists in cellular respiration), and others.
Schisandra berry (Schisandra chinesis) is a hepatoprotective herb (an herb that has protective properties in the liver). It is so powerful at this role that studies suggest there is a potential role for schisandra to treat Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Research shows that Schisandra is also capable of significantly inhibiting alcohol-induced liver injury. Schisandra has also been shown to regenerate and proliferate liver cells, making this an exciting herb for those who already have more overt liver injuries.
Schisandra contains vitamins such as vitamin E as well as several minerals. However, it is best known for its significant vitamin C content, which means that schisandra is also beneficial for immune and skin health. Something unique about schisandra is that it not only contains vitamin C, but also it is able to raise the concentration of vitamin C in the liver. Studies suggest that this might be why it’s able to have such a protective effect on the liver.
Burdock root (Arctium Lappa) is a gentle herb that acts as a mild diuretic and lymphatic (it supports the body’s lymphatic system). It is known for promoting the flow of bile, purifying the blood, and increasing circulation (especially to the skin). It supports liver detoxification by improving the functions of certain liver enzymes. Burdock is also well known for its ability to stimulate lymphatic drainage, and it is known to increase cellular metabolism as a whole.
Studies show that burdock has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which support the immune system. It also is rich in prebiotic fiber, which is particularly important for a healthy microbiome and overall gut health. Rich in vitamins and minerals, it is considered to be a nutritive herb.
MCT Oil (Medium Chain Tryglyceride Oil) is a healthy fat derived from coconut and is an important component of this formula because it helps blend everything together. It is also a healthy fat and supports metabolism. Having a small amount of fat alongside certain herbs actually helps with the absorption of nutrients while assisting and supporting metabolism.
A blend like is typically well-tolerated since the detoxification properties are gentle overall. However, it is always wise to start slow when you are acclimating your body to new herbal remedies. To ease your body into it, we suggest taking ½ of the dose for about 2 weeks before moving up to the full dose.
Important to Note:
Some individuals who take herbs that assist the body in detoxification may see and feel some short term unwanted symptoms as your body releases and eliminates the toxins and metabolites. Typically, when we do see a reaction occur, it is a reaction at the location of one of the organs of elimination. For example, some individuals may feel a slight increase in bowel movements and/or urination. Others may notice that they are sweating more or that the sweat has a change in odor and may even experience skin issues such as breakouts and rashes. Others may experience nasal congestion, mild headaches, or other general “allergy” type symptoms. Symptoms like this are not concerning. It is just your body’s way of pushing the released toxins out of the body to be eliminated. These symptoms may or may not happen for you, and the presence or absence of symptoms has no indication on how beneficial the herbs are for you.
Suggested Blend Pairing:
While not a part of this particular blend, another herb that should be mentioned and considered is called Triphala, a traditional Ayurvedic remedy. It is typically used for digestion issues such as constipation. It is gentle yet still very effective at opening up the colon for proper elimination and supporting the liver in clearing out toxins and excess hormones. Studies show that certain polyphenols in Triphala can modulate the gut microbiome by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Adding in Triphala is a good idea if you are not already having daily bowel movement or if you start to feel any of the detox reactions.
Note: If you are not eliminating regularly, we recommend getting your bowels in check before starting any type of detoxification program, as a sluggish bowel can result in toxins not being properly eliminated from the body.
Dr. Jessica Christie is both a Naturopathic Doctor and a Certified Nutrition Specialist and works with clients all over the U.S. She specializes in helping clients get to the root cause of their symptoms while optimizing health and wellness through nutrition and natural protocols.
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