5 herbs for an easy spring tonic

It’s Spring!


Here in Canada, we wait for months patiently watching as the days get longer and the temperatures start to warm. This equinox and in honor of the Wood Element I’ve been inspired to start drinking a tea made of 5 herbs for an easy Spring Tonic. It helps nourish the blood and consists of Dandelion, Cleavers, Raspberry Leaf, Horsetail and Nettles. See the video if you’ve never made a tonic before.

This is a personal blend that I concocted to nourish the Liver blood and moisten my hair and nailbeds as they are prone to dryness. The focus is on the Wood Element and its associated organs the Liver and Gallbladder. Together these two organs, or officials as we like to refer to them in Chinese Medicine, help move us forward towards our goals. Associated with the eyes, they support our life vision. They help bring forth all that potential that has been stored over the winter months. Nourishing and moistening the blood – which is stored in the Liver help ease this capacity and overall flow in one’s life.

Here are 5 herbs for an easy Spring Tonic:

  1. Cleavers – This bitter and slightly cooling herb is used for many skin conditions. In TCM this is commonly referred to as an external/wind condition. It gets the lymph moving and helps clean the blood and acts as a general tonic.
  2. Dandelion – Known for its detoxification capacity this bitter, cooling and pungent herb has an affinity for blood, Liver, and Gallbladder cleansing. It’ also excellent for digestive disorders where there is a lot of congestion blocking the flow of Qi in its descent down the digestive tract. Because it helps move this blockage – we call this dampness – it is also great for swollen lymph and mammary glands. (Here are 13 more benefits of Dandelion)
  3. Horsetail – Known for its high silica content this beauty helps strengthen the bones and build collagen. It’s bitter, sweet, cooling and pungent so it will nourish, cleanse and gently get blood moving. It’s excellent at promoting healing and helps brighten the eyes. The eyes are also associated with the Wood Element.
  4. Nettles – Perhaps one of my absolute favorite springtimes treats. The fresh leaves and stems are wonderful steamed with a wee bit of lemon and goat feta. You can also make nettle pesto; I’ll be posting a recipe on this shortly. This dry, cool, bitter and pungent herb is commonly used to treat allergic and rheumatic conditions as well as skin conditions. It is nourishing to the Liver and Kidney blood, be cautious as it is drying and too much can cause issues. (Click here for 6 more benefits of stinging nettle)
  5. Raspberry Leaf – Sweet and slightly pungent, raspberry leaf has been used for centuries by many cultures and us one of the best-known woman’s tonics. It nourishes the Liver, Kidneys, and blood and acts as a uterine tonic. It’s harmonizing and can be used in most female tonics. (for more on Red Raspberry Leaf click here). ***If you are a man, you can use peppermint leaf instead of raspberry leaf.

Together the alchemy of these 5 herbs for an easy spring tonic gently nourishes and cleanse the blood. It’s moistening quality balances out the dryness of the nettles and together they help move lymph, blood, and congestion. The Liver stores and moves blood, and just as the shoots are ready to grow into their full capacity as a plant, the Liver moves us out of the stagnancy of winter and into our fullest expression.

The Recipe

  • Combine equal parts into a 1L mason jar.
    • For a 1 L mason jar add 1tsp of each. This is a tonic so it doesn’t need to be super strong for you to get the benefits as a tonic is intended to gently support you over time.
  • Pour boiling water over and steep 4 hours or overnight.
  • Strain and refrigerate.
  • Enjoy a cup a day…or more.

If you are interested in learning more about Chinese Medicine consider this 6-week course.

Here’s more about the course.

With love of the dark and the light within,