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Seasons Of Health
by Michaela Saliba

The Spring season signals rebirth within the seasonal cycle and is represented by the Wood Element in the Chinese Five Element Theory. The energy of this season is upward and outward, and may be understood best by looking to where the energy manifests in nature. This is the time when roots, dormant for many months begin to send up their first shoots of the season. Roots, rich and bursting with potential energy below the earth's surface, become active once more, sending their energy up and out.

Spring is also our time for active growth, our time to take that wood element energy and "branch out". According to Chinese philosophy, this season is governed by "the will to become". Now is the time to plant our mental, physical, spiritual (and botanical) seeds, that they may grow throughout the spring, bear sweet fruit in summer, provide abundant harvest in autumn, and warmth and nourishment through the cold winter.

In nourishing our bodies throughout the springtime, the goal should be a lighter diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and high in vitamins and minerals. For centuries, many cultures have taken advantage of young spring shoots to nourish, cleanse, and build the body after a long winter. Some wild greens that can be found locally are dandelion, chickweed, chicory, malva, nettle and miner's lettuce. Other greens, as well as sprouted seeds, beans and nuts also possess that same vital energy of new growth, and are high in vitamins and minerals.

Spring has throughout history been a time for cleansing the body. Herbs used for this purpose are called alteratives and are useful in ridding the blood of waste products and toxins. Dandelion and red clover are two such herbs that can be combined with other nutritive herbs (plants rich in vitamins and minerals) for the perfect springtime tea. Try any of the following recipes as a great addition to any spring day.

Spring Meadow Tea
      1 part alfalfa
      1 part dandelion leaf
      1 part oatstraw
      1 part red clover
      1 part red raspberry
      1 part lemongrass
Combine all the herbs. Use one tablespoon per cup of water. Pour boiling water over herb mixture, let steep for 15 minutes, strain and drink.

Spring Salad
      2 handfuls baby greens
      1 handful dandelion greens
      1/4 c. bean sprouts
      1/4 c. mandarin orange slices & 2 T. sprouted seeds (such as alfalfa sprouts)
Toss with citrus/miso vinaigrette dressing (below) and serve.

Citrus/Miso Vinaigrette
      1 T. honey
      1 t. miso
      2 T fresh orange juice
      3 T rice vinegar
      2 T vegetable oil
      salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small jar. Shake and serve.

Strawberry/Almond Sauce
      1/3 c. raw almonds (soaked overnight)
      1 c. fresh strawberries
      1/8 t. cardamom
Blend ingredients and pour over fruit salad.
Optional: top with toasted coconut.

Sources:
The Yoga of Herbs, Dr. Vasant Lad
Foundations of Health, Christopher Hobbs
Antihepatotoxic Principles of Curcuma longarhizonesby Kiso Y. Suzuki Y, Watanabe N. Planta Medica
Personal clinical experience and observation


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