I love this time of year, with the warmer temperatures and the signs of new life appearing all round us. I’ve just moved to a new house and have the excitement of not knowing what plants will be appearing in the garden as the seasons change. The first surprise this Spring has been a beautiful carpet of violets (Viola odorata) in one corner of the lawn.
These pretty little purple flowers and their leaves can be used as a cough remedy, to treat upper respiratory catarrh and in skin conditions like eczema. The flowers and leaves can be dried or used fresh and added to boiling water and drunk as an infusion three times daily. In inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, adding a little chickweed (Stellaria media) for reducing inflammation and goosegrass (Galium aparine) for aiding lymphatic clearance can help. Both of these common herbs are available year round and can be found in most parks and gardens (including mine!).
On further inspection, I found yarrow (see this post for info on yarrow) and dandelion in my garden, which are also very common. Plants such as chickweed and dandelion were once foraged for and eaten most of the year round, perhaps contributing to the lower levels of chronic illness. Many of these herbs are good for helping to support your body when you are trying to improve general health. With all these nourishing and cleansing herbs available now, it is a much better time of year to do a ‘detox’ or cleanse of your body than in January when your body and nature are still in hibernation mode (see this post for info on a healthy detox).