It's almost always springtime somewhere - and it's springtime here in South Carolina.
Carl and I came down on a little mini-vacation. To see a new city and explore together for a few days. And of course to escape Michigan in March.
The spring time herbs are in FULL swing down south and I'm happy to share what I know about one of my favorites - Cleavers.
Not Leave-It-to Beaver-Cleavers - the plant Cleavers. An herb, a weed - a special and effective cleansing agent that comes about briefly each year and is gone before you can say Memorial Day.
Cleavers are in a rare class of herbs that helps to stimulate lymphatic cleansing in the body. The lymphatic system is remarkable to say the least - but what I find interesting about this system is that unlike the heart and lungs - it has no pump. So to move the lymphatic system, we must pump it manually.
Lymph nodes are these oval shaped small organs of the lymphatic system that are distributed heavily in the neck, armpit, breast tissue and groin. They filter wastes and contain lymphocyte cells - which help determine how your immune system responds to a threat of microorganism, bacteria, viruses etc.
Here's How We Can help our Lymph do it's thing:
- We can encourage lymphatic movement with physical movement of the lymph nodes (lymphatic massage, dry brushing, yoga, walking, dancing, sex and a 1,000 other ways).
- A reduction of stagnating foods like wheat, dairy and sugar helps immensely.
- Lastly we can ingest herbs that increase lymphatic stimulation - the pump needed for optimal lymphatic function.
But before we get to the pumping part; more on your lymph nodes.
Why you need lymphatic support:
By stimulating the lymphatic system, you:
- Increase the carrying capacity of the lymph system, allowing it to process up to 10 times more fluid than normal.
- Increase the flow through the lymph nodes, filtering out waste products, dead cells, excess proteins and toxins from the tissues.
- Increase the production of lymphocytes, thereby increasing the body's ability to fight infections.
- Activate the parasympathetic response, producing a body-wide relaxation effect.
And so there it is - moving lymph helps your immune system work better, protecting you from illness, dysfunction and disease. Crucial, right?
Here's where the Cleavers can help.
One of Cleavers main abilities (besides being edible, nutritious and actually really tasty) is to assist the lymph in what it clearly needs assistance to do.
To move, to drain, to filter and finagle all the bacteria, virus, cellular waste etc out of the body and to stimulate killer cells for better immune health.
And you can tell when you need it too -
The dreaded "bat wings". The batwing is a flabby part of skin on the back or underside of your upper arm. I myself will develop them if I become overweight or don't stick to what works. My poor grandmother - God rest her soul - had them too. She had them her whole life. As a child I would play with her pudgy, jiggly-jello-like arms. It probably drove her crazy - sorry Grandma.
But later my Grandma died from chemicals and poisons put in her body from her breast cancer. She got it twice and the second time, she couldn't recover from the drugs. Breast cancer didn't really kill her - the "cure" did.
Message to Grandma:
Grandma - wherever you are, I love you; and I know you are now free of pain and illness. I share this info to help others learn from your struggle. You did not die in vain!
Ok, I had to do that.
Grandma's lack of physical fitness, poor diet for her blood type and addiction to actual sweets and yet simultaneously, fat free/sugar free foods - AND her poorly supported lymphatic system - all showed in her overall poor health over many years. It physically was revealed in her arms, her lymph and then later in her unfortunate breast cancer.
Caring for your lymph MAY help you to not get breast (and other) cancers - so let's move it, heal it and help it in anyway possible.
By the way - a few more signs you need some lymphatic support:
- Low energy
- Frequently sick (more than 1X per season)
- Mucus in lungs, throat, sinus - diet must be addressed
- Ear Aches in adults
- Congestion in ears
- Low immune health
- Skin conditions such as chronically dry skin, eczema or psoriasis
I'm sure there are many more; but you get the idea.
And now - it's tea time!
I took my Cleavers and I submerged them in just boiled distilled water. I'll infused (to steep or to soak) them for at least 2 hours, probably longer and drink the herbal tea that results. A pale grassy and pleasing liquid. Mask it with peppermint if you don't care for it.
You can also blend fresh cleavers (by most accounts the BEST way to consume) into your morning smoothie, green drink or simply just eat the darn things.
How do you know you have Cleavers and not some other weed?
They are like velcro to the touch -
and I mean EXACTLY like velcro. (photo right)
You will know you have Cleavers because they will stick to your clothing, hands, hair, socks, pants and dog.
Not sure if you have cleavers? Send me a picture - I'm happy to help!
Cleavers only grow in the earliest of spring time. Get em' while they're hot!
- or at least while it's still cool:)