A spoonful of flowers and herbs helps the medicine go down! Did you know your body needs to transition from one season to the next? Yes it does, and with spring almost here nature knows just how to make that happen. With longer days and warmer weather comes fresh new greens and edible flowers to help flush out winter and usher in the new season. Spring greens are delicious, nutritious, and in abundance from March through May. This is the perfect time to collect and forage nature’s fresh offerings.
A Spoonful of Spring Flowers and Herbs
So which spring flowers and herbs are best for you? They all are! Here are 4 spring favourites that are loaded with vitamins, minerals and immune-boosting benefits.
STINGING NETTLE is the mother of all spring tonics. It is highly favoured for its role in reducing seasonal allergies.
Filled with vitamins and minerals, calcium, iron, magnesium and loaded with polyphenols, nettles are one of the easiest ways to help the body transition into a new season. Similar in taste to spinach only wilder in flavour, nettles are delicious in spring soups, broths, pesto and teas.
• Nettle is said to relieve arthritis symptoms and promote the release of uric acid from joints. It stimulates the lymph system, supports adrenals, and boosts immunity.
• Nettle is abundant in spring and can be found at your local farmers’ market, growing in your garden, or foraged in the wild.
PEPPERMINT is one of the first spring herbs to pop-up in the garden. Mint (Mentha) is rich in nutrients, vitamin A, iron, manganese, and folate. Mint is a potent source of antioxidants.
• This aromatic herb has a myriad of culinary and botanical uses. It is refreshing steeped into an herbal tea or added to other herbs and flowers to create delicious tea blends. Try it in our Mint Blossom Tea or Lemon Mint Nettle Tea
• Add to mint to drinks, freeze into ice cubes, steep into syrups or oils, add to pesto, salads, veggies (think mint & fresh peas) or desserts. The list for using mint is endless!
• There are also several different varieties of peppermint including orange mint, chocolate mint, apple mint, or pineapple mint. Try experimenting with them to see which ones you like best!
DANDELION this so-called pesky weed is considered by some to be a miracle weed. The flowers, leaves and roots are all edible. Dandelions contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, and iron. They are a very nutritious plant with high levels of beta-carotene and polyphenols. This gives dandelion strong antioxidant, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Dandelions have a diuretic effect and are said to lower blood pressure.
• The bitter green leaves contain high levels of vitamins C, E, A and K and are a good source of soluble fiber. Dandelion greens can help cleanse and flush out toxins from the body thereby reducing strain on the liver and kidneys. A good way to overcome the bitterness is to toss a few leaves into a spring green salad or hide some in your morning smoothie.
• Dandelion is best picked while the plant is young and tender. Roots, leaves and flowers can be harvested and dried for use throughout the year. Discard or compost the milky stems.
• The flowers and roots of dandelion make a delicious tea. The petals do not have the same bitterness as the leaves and are slightly sweet and a bit earthy. Try our fresh or dried Dandelion Flower Tea Recipe here.
VIOLAS – SWEET VIOLETS these cute little spring blooms might look unassuming but they pack a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits. Violas are said to reduce stress, anxiety, and tiredness. They can help alleviate some respiratory problems associated with the common cold or cough due to their antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This powerhouse plant can also help improve blood circulation thereby relieving the pain associated with headaches and sore muscles.
• Flowers and leaves can be steeped into mineral-rich tea. They can also be combined with greens like nettle and mint, or flowers of red clover and dandelion to create a healthy spring tonic that will cleanse, strengthen, and invigorate the body.
• Blossoms can be washed and eaten straight from the garden or tossed into a fresh green salad. Sugar-coated they make adorable cake and cookie decorations. Try this recipe for Sweetly Scented Flower Sugar using violas.
• And lastly, a small vase of fresh violas sitting on a side table is sure to brighten up any day!
Note: When you are picking or foraging spring flowers and herbs, know what you are picking and only harvest in non-sprayed areas or gardens.
Disclaimer: Check with your health care provider before using flowers and herbs for medicinal purposes, especially if mixing them with pharmaceuticals.