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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Spring Cleaning 2, Detox: Taking One's Bitters

The phrase, "Taking One's Bitters" has come to mean facing up to a result which really wasn't the positive outcome you'd been  hoping for. But the concept of taking one's bitters was a reality for our great, great grandparents. After long winters of salted and canned food, the need to detox and prepare the body for spring and summer was a common desire. Certain herbs were taken in the belief that they helped to flush the body of toxins and "sludge" that had built up after a season of processed food and a somewhat sedimentary lifestyle. These herbs were, in general, bitter and ill tasting but were believed to clean out the system. Today, most of these herbs are available in any healthfood store and now, in most grocery stores.

Anytime I feel sluggish or nasty, I pull out one of these herbal teas to drink and after a few days, generally feel pretty good. Again, I'm not a doctor so take at your own risk, but I've never had a problem  with any tea. A secondary note if you are going to drink more tea gleaned from experience: let your tea cool down a bit and sip it with a straw. Weird? Maybe. Tea has tannins and WILL yellow your teeth. White strips will help to counteract that but white strip (peroxide) DOESN'T WORK ON CAPS OR DENTAL WORK. Trust me, I've recently replaced a cap.

Anyway, below is an immunity tea receipe that I have from a herbal medicine course I took in 1995. If you take any medication, again, check with your doctor before using herbs. They are medicine and what many medicines are made from. You need to know how they will interact with anything you are taking. A part is any measurement you desire as long as you are consistent. 1/2 cup is 1 part throughout, or 1/4 cup is 1 part throughout.. whatever you deem the quantity you want to make:


4 parts Pau d'arco (bark)
2 parts Echinacea (root)
1/2 part Goldenseal (root)
1 part Burdock (root)
1/2 part each: dried orange (peel), cinnamon (bark), licorice (root)

Use 4 to 6 tablespoons to a quart.

Bring a quart of cold water and herbs to a simmer, covered. Let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain. Add honey if bitter.

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