This post first appeared on RS. Since it's no longer on the platform, I reclaim the rights to post its original version.
Ode to Spring and a recipe for an allergy free beginning
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Around Easter (spring equinox, freely translated) is when spring starts to arrive for real in the Northern hemisphere. People leave the warmth inside to come out and work communally in the garden to get rid of winter and The Old. We clear out dirt, sticks, branches, leaves and whatnot to welcome the Daffodils, Crocus, Wood Anemone and Tulips.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
We clear and we rake, making the garden as ready as it can be for spring and summer to arrive. We welcome, thee, colorful aromatic summer! And so we open the windows and we wash them to let in more light, we plant baby seeds to grow into big, juicy veggies and while we’re at it we might as well clean the whole house too! We want to dance with the Daffodils!
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we remembered that we, too, are babies sprung from Mother Earth and that we too need tender care and love? As spring comes, the soul’s abode needs to be cleared of old dirt that has stagnated during winter and instead be boosted with fuel that helps us embrace summer and its nuances. Many of us have frequent colds around this time, and soon allergy season starts for real. Oh, lovely Daffodils, we want to enjoy thee without a dripping nose or itchy eyes!
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Pollen is non-dangerous molecules, foreign to the human body. When the immune system directs these molecules wrongly, an unnecessary battle begins in the body and histamine increases in produce. Histamine is the chemical that brings out allergy symptoms. Read on and I’ll give you my favorite ways on how to welcome spring free from allergy issues and filled with energy!
1. Spring clean the body you reside in. After a long and cold winter, all kinds of phlegm and bacteria might be stuck in the body. Stagnation easily occurs due to excess in dryness and cold, and stagnation creates disease. Thus, we want to aid the body in its natural cleansing, increase circulation and boost with vitamins to strengthen the immune system. A great way to do this, and something I do every spring, is to fast or to detox. That is to say, I decide on one to five days (or more) where I wash out my body with the help from herbs and fruits or vegetables. Personally, I recommend liquid fasting, and never full fast (no food, no water) unless you have a strong spiritual practice. This kind of detox could mean a smoothie or juice in the morning, sipping strengthening herbal tea throughout the day and then enjoy a warm broth or vegetable soup at night. While you’re at it, take a look on the aspects of detoxing the mind and spirit too!
2. Get your nose rinse on! The Jala Neti nasal cleansing technique is well known all over the world to reduce allergies and colds, and I myself have used it as one of my tools to eliminate asthma. Around this time of year is a good time to start using the Neti pot more intensively, for instance every morning throughout April and May and then as needed. Learn to listen to the cues of your body, if you wake up with a clogged nose that might be a sign! With severe allergies, you might need to do it more often. This is how you do it: 1. Put 1 teaspoon of salt (I prefer Himalayan as it is soft in my nose) in half a liter of warm water (37 degree Celsius) and let the salt melt. 2. Lean over a sink, bathtub or go outside and pour the water from your Neti pot into one nostril so that it comes out through the other one. 3. Repeat on the other side and make sure you blow out all the water from the nose.
3. Turn into a plant! Two words: Lemon and Nettles. If you already have your daily warm water lemon routine, why not step it up a notch! Starting three weeks before your allergy period, add one to two peeled lemons to your daily routine. Try to keep as much as possible of the white inner peel of the lemon, and feel free to enjoy the sour dish with a tablespoon of raw honey! Lemon increases the immune system, works alkalizing in the body and aids the work of the lymphocytes, amongst heaps of other great stuff! Nettles, is my number one go to plant when it comes to allergy meds. I munch on those stinging babies all spring, summer and far into the cold fall. I do believe that by eating nettles, I adapt its qualities and, thereby, become part of the plant and plants cannot get allergic symptoms! Being famous for its high level of vitamin C, you can easily find nettle powder in any health store nowadays. Note, however, that for the northern hemisphere they are just about to pop up over ground and, thus, available for us to pick! Being categorized as a weed, the plant is easy to find in various places in most countries. The delicate fresh spring leaves are delicious to put in food: smoothies, soups, and daal, just like you would with spinach! You can continue to pick the leaves throughout summer (remember to only pick as much as it looks like you were never there, as with all plants!), and dry them to use as tea throughout the year. Some traditional folk uses of nettles are: problems with the urinary tract and digestion, breathing issues and allergies. Remember that there are several kinds of nettles in most countries, do a five second Google check on what kind to pick, eat and use where you live!
Now go out and dance with the Daffodils!