Bitters to Stimulate the Liver and Gallbladder:
Whether it’s because you ate duck confit last night, or you want to optimizeyour liver health, bitter herbs are incredibly useful to kick your liver into action. My favorites are dandelion root and Oregon grape root, which both can help fat and protein absorption by stimulating secretions from the liver and gallbladder. They can be taken as single herbs, or in a bitters formula. Remember that you really have to taste bitters for them to have the full effect, so unfortunately capsules are out. 10-15 mins before a meal is best.
Dandelion greens are at their prime right now (and can also be bought at PCC), and make a great addition to salads. This was traditionally eaten by country folk to help kick off that meat-and-potatoes-all-winter feeling. The leaves are a strong diuretic, and used traditionally for water retention and kidney health. Dandelions greens actually make great pesto, especially in combination with chickweed and nettles. For the less ambitious of us, dried dandelion leaf tea works too!
We sell dandelion and Oregon grape root in tincture form and in bulk.
Start Afresh with a Clean Colon
Triphala powder is an ayurvedic herb mix used for cleansing plaque from the intestinal walls and increasing absorption. This is mildly laxative, so be careful! ½-1 tsp of powder in an ounce of water before bed is the typical dosage. It tastes very bitter, so knock it back quick. Do this for a week every so often to get a fresh start in your bowels. If you can’t handle the powder, try out Ayush brand Triphala capsules, as they are wonderfully potent.
Sweat it out with Yarrow
Drink a hot cup of yarrow tea (infuse 1 tsp of dried yarrow in 8 oz of boiling water for 10-15 minutes) and take a sauna or hot bath (bonus points for epsom salts in there). Yarrow is a diaphoretic, which means it warms you up and makes you sweat. Sweating is a great way to release toxins from the skin. Warming yourself up on these rainy spring days is also a plus. Yarrow leaves are shooting out of the ground right now.
Cleanse Your Lymphatic System with Cleavers
The lymph system is where waste materials end up in the body. Unlike the circulatory system, it has no muscles to propel it forward, thus it relies on physical movement to circulate. You’ll notice that when you’re sick or fighting an infection, the lymph nodes in your neck tend to get swollen, which is actually a backup of unprocessed waste material waiting to get through the lymph nodes (aka recycling center). Common techniques for stimulating the lymph are movement, light massage, dry brushing, baths, and lymph moving herbs. Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a great herb to help cleanse the lymph, and it happens to be perfect for harvest right now! We have it here at the store as a dried herb, and also as a single tincture, and in a blend for the lymph.
NOTE: If you’re harvesting in the wild, wait for a 100% positive identification before consuming anything, and harvest away from busy roads or other sources of toxins. Learn local toxic plants to avoid confusion.