How is all the prep for the holiday season going? How are you feeling? Are you making sure you get some #refreshme time in everyday? If so, awesome :-). If not, no worries – I’ve got another great suggestion for you on where to start.
This week I want to talk about herbal teas – specifically two that are perfect for this season of bustle, delicious food, and healthy doses of ‘run around’ stress.
These are also two of my favorite herbs, some of the first ones I learned about during my herbal medicine apprenticeship many years ago now :-). They are Burdock root and Dandelion root.
Have you heard these names before? Dandelion surely. This tenacious little plant isn’t generally looked favorably upon since it’s considered an annoying weed. Burdock too is a common weed, mostly considered annoying. Ever walked through a field and found sticky ‘burrs’ on your pants and such? Those are the seed pods of burdock. Annoying right?!
Well in today’s post, I’m going to challenge that view of these plants and hopefully get you to appreciate them as much as I do.
Two things prompted my choosing this topic – one, I’ve decided that I want to be more active with toning my body and getting back to a more optimal weight. Even us dancers and naturalistas can struggle dearies ;-). And two, since it is the end of the year, thinking about old things to shed to make space for new things to come through is a perfectly fitting theme. These herbs work in this sort of way.
When you see Dandelion root and Burdock root, especially together, there will usually be some focus on detoxing. That’s because both of these herbs work with the liver. Your liver is one of the most important organs for your overall health. When I taught my herbal medicine classes, we spent an entire session on this organ and the herbs that help it function healthfully. In Chinese Medicine, your liver is considered the General, orquestrating the movements of all the ‘troops’. It is responsible for the balanced flow of qi through the body. The liver performs hundreds of tasks to keep your body healthy and basically processes everything that you eat – either sending it off to be used by your body or eliminated by your body. So it’s very important to keep it operating smoothly and this is one of the ways that Dandelion root and Burdock root work their magic. They provide a gentle cleansing and optimizing action on the liver.
Dandelion root for instance, contains bitter constituents and fiber that stimulate the digestive system, filter toxins from the blood stream and out for elimination, balances intestinal flora, and soothes the digestive tract.
Burdock root is considered a blood purifier – this is how it helps liver functioning. It aids the liver in metabolizing fats and proteins and encourages the removal of waste products. Also, its high concentration of antioxidants is thought to heal and protect the liver as well when it’s been damaged by heavy consumption.
And this isn’t even the whole of what they do. In short, these are two of my favorite wonder herbs. I promise I will tell you more about them soon!
So how do you get them into your life?
Well luckily the world has caught on to the fact that these herbs are pretty awesome and now you can find them pretty much in any local grocery store. You still want to buy a reputable brand however – I would suggest Traditional Medicinals or Alvita. Also, you might want to experiment with steeping two tea bags instead of one because the amount in teabags in general aren’t enough for real therapeutic benefit. The last important thing is that you must steep your tea with something capping your tea cup or else you will lose all of the beneficial components of the herb in the steam ;-). Oh and the last last thing, steep it for 10 minutes – at least! Especially because these are roots, it takes some time for the heat to fuse through the herbs and release the ‘good medicine’ into the water.
These herbs are tonics (we’ll talk about what a tonic is more later) and so they work over time. Because their action is so gentle, you can take both of these together as a tea 3xs a day for at least a month, preferably 3. That may seem like a lot, but trust me, after drinking this herbal mix consistently for a month, you won’t want to stop ;-). You’ll be feeling so much better – more energy, clearer skin, less bloating, even a little slimmer ;-). 3 months is good amount of time to give a tonic to make a difference and then you can start drinking it whenever you feel the need for a detoxifying boost.
So what’s on your grocery list for this week? That’s right – Dandelion root and Burdock root baby!
And as always, any questions, ask away in the comments or via email – I’d love to answer them!