A Spring Morning Forage - www.clarabailey.com

A Spring Morning Forage

I’m happy to report that the first drop-off at daycare went smoothly for all of us! DS1 went straight about inspecting all the interesting things in the classroom and I was able to transition to a lovely morning of catching up with a friend for a coffee, picking up some seeds to plant in the garden this weekend and taking advantage of being able to go on a solo foraging mission.

I’ve brought DS1 on a couple of forages, but I don’t often collect that many plants as he is finding every possible dangerous thing to play with. While it is a dream to be able to have my little one toddling next to me while collecting herbs, being able to go on my own was a treat, and quite a lot more relaxing.

Early spring is the time of cleansing spring greens, and there is an abundance of Cleavers (Galium aparine) around at the moment. Cleavers is a wonderful spring tonic and one of our best herbs for cleansing and supporting the water element within our bodies – the lymphatic system. I like to think of the lymphatic system as the connecting system between of the water element (of winter) and the wood element (of spring), making it a perfect system to support during the cross-over from winter to spring.

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels within our bodies – not dissimilar to our blood vessels and capillaries – that carries metabolic wastes as well as immune cells and antibodies in the lymph fluid to be processed by the lymph nodes and organs (the spleen, tonsils and thymus). While our blood is pumped around the body by the heart, the lymph system relies upon the movement of our muscles to ensure smooth flow. This is why movement and massage are so powerful for the lymphatic system.

I think of the lymphatic system as the river networks with the body, with the lymph glands and organs being lakes. Like river systems and waterways, the lymph must be flowing to remain healthy and vibrant. Stagnant water putrefies and makes us ill. Throughout the winter months, we can become more stagnant, which compromise the health of the lymphatic system which can result is feeling sluggish, foggy, experiencing swollen glands and lowered immunity. As herbalists we refer to this as a “lymphatic taint”, that needs to be cleared. The beauty of Cleavers is that help lymph to move smoothly throughout the body, and support the function of the lymphatic organs. It clears, moistens, refreshes and removes.

On an emotional level, balancing the water element is key for a healthy emotional life. Supporting your lymph with Cleavers, as well as moving your body or getting a good massage is all supportive for letting go of emotional threads that are unhelpful, and helping your being to embrace new possibilities. A perfect early spring practice.

Cleavers Green Juice

If you have a juicer, simply juice your foraged Cleavers with other cleansing fruits and veggies, such as apple, pear, cucumber, celery, lemon, fennel or mint. If you’re lucky to have access to a lot of Cleavers, you can also juice, and freeze the juice in an ice cube tray. Simply add to a glass of water (or my favourite is diluted pear juice) and enjoy it as a morning spring tonic. If you

Juice is my favourite way to take them and also the most potent as we are ingesting the lifeblood of the plant which is an incredible gift. It does require the use of a juicer but if you don’t have one you could whizz it in the blender with some water and then strain, though I haven’t tried it this way. I juice a big handful of Cleavers with some apple, fennel, lemon, ginger and celery. This makes a delicious cleansing and revitalising drink for bright spring mornings!

Herbal Medicine

September 2, 2022

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