Spring 2020 Formula
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) — called “mazhaan” by our Métis people, Nettle is rich in chlorophyll and traditionally used as a spring tonic and cleansing herb.
It has alterative properties that cleanse the blood, improve kidney function, and supports the digestive, respiratory, urinary, and glandular systems in the body.
Nettle is high in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, C, D, zinc, potassium, chromium, niacin, and silica.
West Indian Cherry (Malpighia emarginata) — West Indian Cherry is not a true cherry, but a tart cherry-like berry that is one of the richest sources of vitamin C available to us. It provides 50-100 times more vitamin C than oranges!
It is often used to boost immunity and prevent colds and flus.
It’s also high in antioxidants. Traditionally, West Indian Cherry was used for liver ailments.
Studies have linked West Indian Cherry consumption to skin health, improved, digestion, and cancer prevention.
Purple Dead Nettle (Lamium purpureum) — Purple Dead Nettle is a member of the mint family and flowers in early spring. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It is astringent, meaning it contains tannins that help reduce excess secretions in the body, assists with cleansing and improving integrity of bodily tissues.
Purple Dead Nettle is a diuretic (enhances detoxification via the urinary system), diaphoretic (promotes detoxification via elimination of toxins through the skin) and purgative (promotes detoxification via the bowels).
It is good for the kidneys and may even help with seasonal allergies.
Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale) — Dandelion Leaf is a bitter green that is traditionally used as a kidney tonic. It helps to purify the blood and liver, relieve muscle spasms, and reduce inflammation. It also helps reduce water retention in swollen tissues.
Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) — Dandelion root is traditionally used as a liver tonic to treat liver and digestive disorders such as hepatitis and jaundice. It is bitter and digestive, making it helpful for indigestion, spleen disorders, relieving heartburn and constipation, and simulating the appetite. When taken as a bitter before a meal, Dandelion root helps increase the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, increasing bio-availability of nutrients — especially calcium.
Dandelion root contains inulin which may assist the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
It is now known that 70-80% of immune tissue is located in the gut.
Dandelion root is also highly anti-inflammatory.
Both Dandelion leaf and root are rich in calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, silicon, and zinc.
They are both great sources of vitamin A, B complex vitamins, and even vitamin D. They also contain beneficial carotenoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, and phytosterols.
Rhubarb (Rheum officinale) — Rhubarb is typically thought of as being a vibrant and deliciously tart “fruit” that many of us in the Pacific Northwest look forward to eating each spring, however, it is actually a vegetable!
According to a court ruling in 1947, it’s still a fruit, but we are giving it full credit as the sovereign vegetable that it is; loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which benefit our overall health.
Rhubarb is high in fibre, making it beneficial for easing digestion, relieving constipation and diarrhea. It is full of vitamin K which helps strengthen bones and may even help prevent osteoporosis. It is high in vitamin C and manganese.
Rhubarb’s high antioxidant content fights free radical damage, keeping inflammation at bay. It has anti-viral effects and has even been shown to help protect the brain from neurological damage. Zing!
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) — Lemon Balm is a beautiful lemon-scented herb that is used as a mood-uplifting anxiolytic (helps reduce anxiety). It is especially useful for nervous anxiety that is held in the gut.
As a nervous system tonic and relaxant herb, Lemon Balm is used for restlessness, heart palpitations, headaches, nervous excitability, and as a mild anti-depressant.
Lemon Balm is said to strengthen the brain and its resistance to stress and shock, and to lift the spirits. Honestly, when you smell fresh Lemon Balm, the lemony mood uplifting effect is pretty apparent.
It also has a tonic effect on the heart and circulatory systems.
Cleavers (Galium aparine) — The body has two major circulatory systems: the blood system and the lymphatic system. Cleavers is used to gently cleanse the lymphatic system. It increases lymphatic drainage and breaks up lymphatic congestion which is typically characterized by enlarged lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system fights infection, helps filter bacteria and other toxins from the body, is involved with fat absorption, and drains excess fluids.
Cleavers helps support all of these things!
It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is a soothing demulcent for the urinary tract.
Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) — Elderflower has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is most commonly used for preventing and treating colds and flus, sinus infections, and other respiratory issues.
It has antibacterial and antiviral properties, may help alleviate allergies and boost immune function. It is rich in bioflavonoids (flavones and flavonols) that are known for their antioxidant properties.
One of the most abundant flavonols in Elderflower is quercetin which inhibits mast cells from releasing histamine. It also contains isoquercitrin and anthocyanins which have antiviral properties. The cinnamic acid in Elderflower may even help regulate blood glucose levels.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) — Reishi mushroom is the #1-selling neutraceutical mushroom species used world wide! It is used as an adaptogen to enhance the body’s resistance to mental, physical, and emotional stress.
It is also an immunomodulator used to help regulate the immune system in both under-active and over-active immune responses. Reishi has been shown to promote cardiovascular system health, support energy and stamina, and improve overall health and wellbeing.
Douglas Fir Tip (Pseudotsuga menziesii) — Douglas Fir is the dominant tree west of the Cascade Mountains. Truly tall and handsome, it is the second tallest tree on our continent (surpassed only by the Redwoods of the South).
Douglas Fir has a special relationship with fire.
Like most of us, Douglas Fir seedlings don’t like to be kept in the dark – they are shade intolerant and require sunlight pouring through the forest canopy in order to grow. Forest fires that clear out the understory/deadwood are actually necessary for them to proliferate. The logging practices of the last 200 years created artificial disturbances that resilient Douglas Fir thrives in. You cannot colonize a Douglas Fir.
In the spring, young Douglas Fir Tips give us bright green, tart medicine that is packed with vitamin C. Handsome through and through, they have a woodsy, slightly floral aroma. As they progress through the season into summer, they become more aromatic and a bit bitter. We harvest them when they are fresh, in all of their decolonial delight.
Wild Mint (Mentha canadensis) — Wild Mint is traditionally used to treat nausea, stomach disorders, coughs, colds, and fevers. Most people know about using peppermint for a sore tummy, but not everyone knows that Wild Mint actually relieves gastrointestinal smooth muscle spasms.
Wild Mint is often called “Li boum Ste. Anne” or “Wakaskwah” by our Métis people.
It is sometimes considered a womxn’s medicine because it is used to prevent excessive bleeding and miscarriage.
The power of plant medicine is incredible and beyond any binary.
Vanilla Leaf (Achlys triphylla) — Vanilla Leaf is a beautiful forest medicine that we are fortunate to have access to here on Vancouver Island. It is especially valuable in the context of our current world, where Vanilla orchids in the wild are in danger of becoming extinct. True Vanilla is the 2nd most expensive spice on the planet (Saffron is the 1st). Vanilla beans survived through centuries because of the melipona bee, the only bee on earth capable of pollinating a Vanilla orchid. Without hand-pollinating today, True Vanilla would be largely non-existent.
With this in mind, we hold extra reverence for our native Vanilla Leaf, unassumingly carpeting our forest floors.
Fresh Vanilla Leaf has little to no scent but as it dries, a sweet vanilla aroma appears.
It is a soothing medicine to connect to the land, return to the forest.