"A wise man ought to realize that health is his most valuable possession."

Clover 3After the indulgence and excess of the festive season, Jane Griffiths gives us some herbal tips for cleansing our bodies, fresh for the New Year.

Herbal health
Pounded into pastes, chewed, brewed, added to food and drink, and made into oils, gargles and lotions,  herbs have been used by humans since we were dodging dinosaurs. The biggest difference between herbs and many modern medicines is that herbs help the body heal itself rather than just suppressing the symptoms.

The other main difference between herbs and modern pharmaceuticals is that herbs are  complex mixtures of many elements. Modern science prefers to isolate an individual effective element  and synthesise it into a pharmaceutical, which can then be patented, branded and marketed. What is lost  along the way is the beneficial result of the many elements mixed together – this combined effect is often  more beneficial than any single element.

Cleansing herbs

Dandelion 4Clover is high in vitamins, proteins and minerals and is a good liver detoxifier and blood cleanser. It likes light, well-drained soil in full sun, but doesn't mind some afternoon shade. Sow seeds in situ and it will quickly germinate and thickly cover the ground.

Dandelion has been used for centuries as an effective detoxifier and cleanser. To most people they are a weed but they are beneficial in the garden, adding nutrients to the soil. If you keep an eye on them and pull them out before they go to seed, you can control them.

Ginger cleanses the body by stimulating circulation and making the body sweat, ridding it of toxins. Although ginger is a tropical plant, it is easily grown in home gardens in other areas. Plant a fresh piece of ginger with well developed growth buds. It prefers filtered sun and rich, well-drained soil.

Milk thistle is a powerful antioxidant and toxin cleanser that has been used for thousands of years to treat the gall bladder, liver and kidneys. It is not fussy about its soil and will grow in light shade to full sun.

Nettle is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a traditional blood-cleansing remedy and a gentle diuretic, ridding the body of toxins. Nettles grow easily in any soil and prefer semi shade.

Hangover Kicker
Ginger 3•    1 Tbs sea salt
•    ½ cup dried dandelion, clover milk thistle and nettle leaves
•    1 tsp each ground fennel and coriander
•    ½ tsp ground ginger
•    2 Tbs bicarbonate of soda
•    5 Tbs powdered glucose
Mix together and store in an airtight container. To drink, place a tablespoon or two in an infuser spoon and add hot water. Infuse for 5 minutes before drinking.

What to do in February
Remove vegetables which are over and replace with winter vegetable seedlings.
Continue sowing short season summer and autumn crops. (Bush beans, rocket, beetroot, Asian greens)
Continue sowing winter seeds and seedlings. (Cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli)
Dry summer areas, water regularly.

CREDIT:    Text: Jane Griffiths. Photographs: Jane Griffiths and Keith Knowlton.

SOURCES:     Adapted from the book:  Jane’s Delicious Garden, and Jane's Delicious Herbs (published by Sunbird Publishers, a division of Jonathan Ball Publishers)

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