Our herbal medicine cabinet is one of the most important places in our home. As herbalists, we are always looking there for inspiration, and for well-being during each new season. Our focus in spring is digestive and liver support and we find this through the use of digestive bitters and liver tonics. After the heaviness of winter, our liver can always use a little support as the body naturally desires to shed itself of winter stagnation. Digestive bitters are the perfect ally, but it’s also important to add in those time-trusted medicinal spring tonics like mineral-rich tea, herbal broths, and bitter foods. Despite the buzzing abundance 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. These recipes are the perfect way to keep it simple and effective, and most ingredients are from our Herbal Medicine Cabinet Poster, our suggested guide for what to keep in the herbal medicine cabinet.
We hope you will find enjoyment in not only creating a medicine cabinet that you feel inspired by but a place where deep nourishment and healing takes place. Enjoy and happy spring!
Spring Medicinal Broth
An immune-supporting, nutritive and mineral-rich broth that's perfect for spring soups, rice dishes, salad dressings or just on its own.
Makes 1 quart
- 1 oz usnea
- 4-5 pieces astragalus root
- 4-5 pieces reishi
- 1 oz nettles
- ½ oz sage
- ½ oz rosemary
- ½ oz parsley
- 1 large piece of kelp seaweed.
- Additional items to add: milky oats, red clover, alfalfa, raspberry leaf, other medicinal mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, or turkey tail.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 quarts of water
Combine everything in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover, and let simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. Keep an eye on the water levels; you may want to add a bit more. Once the time is up, remove from heat and strain through a strainer or cheesecloth. Use in a soup or grain dish immediately, or freeze for later use.
Herbal ‘Root Beer’
Fresh, rejuvenating and supportive, this beverage is a staple in our homes during this seasonal transition.
As a time-honored traditional recipe, “root beer” was always made from roots and berries, and was traditionally seen as a purifying drink to support liver health during the spring months. While most home brewers now make their root beers from commercially sold root beer concentrates and loads of sugar, there’s a certain undeniable charm to brewing root beer the traditional way – slowly simmering a concoction of roots, berries, bark and spices, extracting the vitamins, minerals and herbal constituents into a healing and herbaceous brew. The sarsaparilla gives it that traditional root beer flavor, and when paired with bitter herbs and immune tonics like reishi and astragalus, this beverage becomes a powerful healing ally.
- 1 oz dandelion root
- 1 oz burdock
- 1/2 oz reishi
- 1/2oz fresh ginger, sliced
- 1 oz sarsaparilla
- 1/2 oz licorice
- 4-5 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 star anise
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- Honey to taste—we only add a small amount to give it the slightest hint of sweetness ( about 1-2 tablespoons)
- 1 quart spring water
- Unflavored seltzer water (for later use)
Combine the roots and spices into a pot and cover with a quart of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 40 minutes.
When the time is up, remove from heat and strain through a fine strainer, or cheesecloth. Add the honey, and stir well until dissolved. Transfer to a jar or other storage vessel, and refrigerate. When chilled, pour about two tablespoons over ice and top with seltzer water. This makes for the perfect herbal root beer and can be enjoyed any time of day!
The syrup will keep for about two weeks when refrigerated.