In the past, there was a custom to carry out a programme of cleansing the blood every spring. People would gather fresh leaves from blackberry and raspberry bushes, strawberry plants, and plantain (ribwort), coltsfoot flowers and, where possible, cowslip. They would drink the infusion morning and evening. Honey was added to sweeten it.
This ‘spring tea’ is still recognised for its pleasant effect on our wellbeing. Those who take it regularly are convinced that it purifies the system, purging it of the winter’s metabolic wastes and infusing the new energies of spring.
It was also believed in ancient India that the blood and the circulatory system should be purified from time to time. The blood cleansing ritual would consist of various remedies to stimulate the intestines, liver, kidneys and stomach. This ‘spring clean’ would be of special benefit to those suffering from constipation and sluggish metabolism. It is particularly beneficial after a detox programme or fast.
Another cleansing tea, plantain tea, is good for swollen ankles and water retention. Plantain, dandelion, and nettle are probably three of the most common garden weeds and all are mild diuretics traditionally used to treat the symptoms associated with water retention. The dandelion restores potassium levels, which can be flushed out by many diuretics.
I enjoy this tea for its cleansing and rejuvenating properties. My garden is a weed-free zone at the moment so we headed out to one of Erddig’s meadows where I knew these plants were prolific.
Plantain tea for swollen ankles
2tbsp plantain leaves
2 tbsp fresh dandelion leaves (or flowers)
2 tbsp nettle leaves
1 litre water, freshly boiled
Wash the leaves, place in a bowl or jug, then pour over the water. Steep for 10 minutes. Strain. Drink hot or cold throughout the day.