An Herbalist’s Guide to a Healthy Spring

by Rachael Keener May 18, 2016

Spring is a time of bursting forth. If you made the best of winter, then you hovered quietly and with introspection refining your truest wants and needs; your deepest purpose. You took care to concentrate your energy, knowing that when the days grew longer and the air grew warmer, you’d need to have something left in storage to make your grand entrance into spring. Just like a tiny seed in waiting—wrapped in cool, subterranean darkness–you prepared for the moment of manifestation. And now, with your face to the sun, it’s time for action. Think of yourself as a seedling right now. Filled with so much hope, potential and purpose, but still a little fragile.

Despite the inspiration of spring, it’s important to remember that our bodies need a little extra TLC to weather the dramatic transition. Set yourself up for sustained energy by being gentle on your body and incorporating nourishing and supportive herbs into your self-care routine (which now, more than ever, is important!). Like a seedling invests its first burst of spring energy into building a strong root system–the necessary foundation from which it will grow and fruit all season, so do I.

I dig the nutritive roots of dandelion and burdock—simmering them as a tea or adding them to soups and spring’s first salads, and tincturing some for future use. I reach for turmeric and solomon’s seal root to support my joints, which are always a little more vulnerable this time of year when I start being more active. I also find every wild, edible green imaginable and adorn almost all of my meals with their spritely, nutrient-dense deliciousness. Nettles, chickweed, violet, dandelion greens, etc. These plants sustain me and give me the foundation I need to take off and explore the beckoning vernal world.  


A basket of freshly foraged violets for a spring salad.

This year, I can’t get enough of our new Simmer Down Tonic. It’s like I can feel every cell in my body drink it right up. The adaptogens and nervines in the formula provide me with nourishment and grounding while giving me the ease and resolve to go with the flow. I’m ready to roll with whatever excitement, task or challenge comes my way. And best of all because it contains herbs like tulsi and ashwagandha that support a healthy stress response, my energy doesn’t feel zapped at the end of a long day. I still have the reserves to head to the woods or fields before dusk to admire all of my favorite plants and pollinators coming to life–to really soak up the joys of spring.


With all of spring’s excitement, don’t forget to take some down time for yourself, too!

Bitters are the other Urban Moonshine formula that I find particularly adept for this time of year. The liver can always use a little support waking up and spring cleaning at winter’s end, making bitters the perfect ally. I bring my bottle with me everywhere and I also take advantage of the wild and weedy bitter herbs that are beginning to sprout up everywhere. Once again, enter dandelion and burdock in food and tea form–though I also nibble on some super-bitter celandine every so often to really kickstart hepatic function.

To stay my healthiest and make the most out of spring, I find myself in a dance between building and nurturing my energy stores and letting it all fly. Look around and you’ll notice little seedlings starting their celebratory reach toward the sun—and us humans are too. While spring’s showiest are the splendid but short-lived ephemeral flowers, we have to remember that we are here for the long haul. We manifest over many months. So, while soaking it all up and reveling in bursts of joy and inspiration, also keep in mind the importance of digging your roots down deep to find the nourishment that will keep you going steady through the upcoming busy summer. Immerse your diet and lifestyle in spring roots and adaptogens as well as bitter and highly nutritious wild greens to build fortitude for more months of activity ahead. Keep your favorite Urban Moonshine formulas like bitters and Simmer Down Tonic in the line-up to keep yourself on track and in balance. And, whatever you do, be sure to enjoy all the tiny wonders surging to life in the world outside—be they through sidewalk cracks or along pristine forest floors. Because reverence alone is deep sustenance.    


Bloodroot, a spring ephemeral, announcing the season’s arrival.

Rachael Keener
Rachael Keener


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