Spring Equinox Herbs

Embracing Renewal: Magical Herbs for the Spring Equinox

Written by: Christine Alstat

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Time to read 9 min

With the Spring Equinox comes a time of balance, renewal, and new beginnings. As nature awakens from its winter slumber, early spring herbs emerge, brimming with life and potent energies. Among these, nettles, dandelions, violets, and cleavers stand out for their unique qualities and connections to the season of rejuvenation. 

The Protector and Motivator: Stinging Nettle

Nettles come up from the ground as some of the first signs of spring, their vibrant green leaves full of vitality. A tonic for the body, nettles invigorate the blood and awaken the spirit after the long, dormant winter. They are also a nutritional powerhouse, offering a boost of energy and supporting overall health. 


Nettles have a long and revered place in herbal history and tradition. This plant, scientifically known as Urtica dioica, has been utilized across various cultures for centuries, not just for its nutritional content but also for its beneficial properties and the energetic qualities it embodies.


The History of Nettles
Nettles have been woven into the fabric of human history as a versatile herb, with its uses ranging from a natural remedy to food and fiber. In medieval Europe, nettles were commonly used in cooking, providing a nutritious boost during the lean early spring months when other vegetables were scarce. Their fibers were also valued for making durable textiles. Nettles have also been used by herbalists since ancient times; they were used for their nourishing properties, believed to build vitality. In folklore, nettles are often associated with protection and the ability to ward off evil.


The Energetics of Nettles
From an energetic standpoint, nettles embody the very essence of spring—growth, renewal, and awakening. They are considered to have a warming and drying energy, making them excellent for stimulating sluggish systems and clearing dampness from the body. This aligns with their traditional use in spring tonics, designed to revitalize the body after winter's cold and inactivity. From an energetics standpoint, nettles used in spring equinox rituals bring protection and motivation.


Element Fire

Nettles are also associated with the element of fire, which reflects their ability to ignite the internal processes of rejuvenation. Their sting, while cautioning against careless handling, symbolizes protection and boundaries, teaching us to approach life with respect and awareness.

Stinging nettles

The Transformer: Dandelion

Dandelions, known scientifically as Taraxacum officinale, grace lawns and meadows with their bright yellow blooms, often dismissed as mere weeds. Yet, this resilient plant holds a place of honor in herbal history and carries profound energetic properties.

Far from being mere lawn nuisances, dandelions have deep roots in herbal history, serving as a symbol of growth, transformation, and the interconnectedness of life.


The History of Dandelions

The use of dandelions spans centuries and continents, with each part of the plant serving a purpose. In traditional European, Asian, and Native American history, dandelions were cherished for their digestive, detoxifying, and liver-supportive properties. The roots, leaves, and flowers have all been utilized in various preparations over time.

Historically, dandelions were also valued for their nutritional benefits. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they were used to boost health and nutrition during times of scarcity. The plant's adaptability and widespread availability made it a staple in folk medicine, symbolizing resilience, growth, and the ability to thrive in challenging conditions.


The Energetics of Dandelions

Energetically, dandelions embody the essence of adaptability and transformation. With deep roots that cleanse and renew the soil, they remind us of the importance of digging deep within ourselves to find our inner strength and resilience. Dandelions have a predominantly bitter taste, which in herbal energetics, is associated with detoxification and stimulating digestive function. This bitter quality encourages internal cleansing and renewal, aligning with the themes of spring and new beginnings. Energetically, Dandelions invite a profound journey of transformation. Their resilience and adaptability help us embrace change and growth through challenges and remind us that transformation is a natural and necessary part of life.


Element Air

Dandelions are linked to the element of air, reflecting their ability to connect us to our thoughts and mental clarity. The blowing of a dandelion's seeds into the wind is a powerful symbol of letting go, setting intentions, and spreading new growth. This act can be a meditative practice, inviting us to release old patterns, call in the new and embrace change with openness and ease.

Dandelion

The Heart Opener: Violets

Violets, with their delicate blossoms and heart-shaped leaves, are treasured not only for their beauty but also for their historical significance and depth of meaning across various cultures. Known scientifically as Viola spp., these charming flowers offer more than meets the eye, embodying the essence of sweetness, love, and healing.


The History of Violets
Violets have graced gardens and wild spaces for centuries, celebrated in ancient Greece for their gentle fragrance. Throughout history, they've been used to treat a variety of imbalances and medieval monks and nuns cultivated violets in their cloister gardens, using them to make soothing syrups and tonics. The flowers were also a popular ingredient in love potions, believed to capture the heart's desires and convey them through their enchanting scent.


In herbal folk traditions, violets were used for the skin and their leaves and flowers were turned into poultices and salves. Violets also found their way into the kitchen, used to make sweet violet syrup and as decorative, edible additions to salads and desserts.


The Energetics of Violets
Energetically, violets carry the vibration of love, humility, and spiritual wisdom. These delicate flowers symbolize the openness required to embrace new experiences. Violets encourage us to soften, to find comfort in vulnerability, and to connect deeply with our emotions and with those around us. Their presence in a garden or wild space serves as a reminder of nature's delicate balance and the importance of nurturing ourselves and others with kindness and care. Violets have a cooling and moistening effect on the body, balancing heat and soothing dry, irritation.


Element Water

Violets are associated with the water element, reflecting their deep connection to the emotions, intuition, and the flow of life. This gentle, yet profound energy can help open the heart chakra, allowing love and compassion to flow freely.

Violets

The Connector: Cleavers

Cleavers, known scientifically as Galium aparine, are often recognized by their sticky nature, clinging to passersby and intertwining with nearby plants. This unique characteristic speaks volumes about cleavers' role in herbal medicine and folklore, where they are celebrated for their purifying qualities.


The History of Cleavers
Cleavers have a long-standing reputation in traditional herbal practices across the globe, valued for their lymphatic, diuretic, and cleansing properties. Historical records suggest that cleavers were used by ancient civilizations and medieval herbalists alike to treat a variety of conditions.
In European folklore, cleavers were also believed to protect against misfortune and to foster love and friendship. Their clinging nature was metaphorically seen as the ability to bind people together, and they were sometimes used in love spells and potions.


The Energetics of Cleavers
Energetically, cleavers embody connection and flow. If you need to simply reflect on the interconnectedness of all life, cleavers offer gentle yet profound wisdom. Cleavers' energy promotes unity and coherence, both within the body and in our relationships with others. Their presence encourages us to consider how we connect with our community and environment, reminding us of the importance of supporting and nurturing these connections for our collective well-being. They have soothing, cooling, and cleansing properties.


Element Water

Cleavers is associated with the element of water in traditional herbalism. This connection reflects cleavers' moistening and fluid properties, as well as their ability to support the body's natural processes of cleansing and detoxification, particularly through the lymphatic and urinary systems. The water element symbolizes emotion, intuition, and the flow of life, mirroring cleavers' role in facilitating internal movement and balance.

Cleavers
Spring Equinox Altar

Spring Equinox Rituals

Using spring herbs in rituals during the Spring Equinox can beautifully mark this time of balance and renewal. As the earth awakens, incorporating nettles, dandelion, violets, and cleavers into your practices can help align your energy with the season's vibrant, awakening life force. Here's how you can use these herbs to create meaningful rituals that celebrate the essence of spring.


  • Creating a Spring Equinox Altar
    Begin by setting up a small altar or sacred space in your home. Decorate it with fresh nettles, dandelion flowers, violet blossoms, and cleavers to honor the return of greenery and growth. You might also include crystals or candles in spring colors, such as green for growth, yellow for the sun's energy, or purple for spiritual awareness. Place a bowl of water to symbolize the melting snow and the cleansing, nourishing rains of spring.

Meditation for Balance and Renewal


Begin by sitting comfortably in front of your altar, taking a few deep breaths to center yourself. Light the candles, observing the interplay of light and shadow, a reflection of the balance between day and night during the Equinox. Gaze softly at the bowl of water, allowing it to symbolize the melting away of winter and the cleansing, refreshing energy of spring rains. Close your eyes and meditate on the qualities of the herbs before you—protection, energy, transformation, heart-opening,  and connection. Imagine these energies intertwining with your own, bringing you into harmony with the cycle of the seasons. - As thoughts and intentions for the coming months arise, acknowledge them. Envision yourself growing and flourishing alongside the awakening earth.

Journaling for Growth and Intentions


Following your meditation, take a moment to jot down any insights, feelings, or intentions that came up. Write about what you wish to release from the winter months and what you hope to cultivate or achieve in the spring. This could be personal growth, new projects, relationships, or health and wellness goals. Reflect on the balance in your life—areas where you feel harmonious and areas seeking more equilibrium. Consider how you can nurture balance in the coming months. Draw upon the symbolic energies of the spring herbs on your altar, contemplating how their qualities can support your intentions. Conclude your ritual by holding your journal close to your heart, silently or verbally affirming your intentions. Blow out the candles, imagining your intentions being carried into the universe, ready to manifest in the season ahead. 

  • Herbal Infusion for Cleansing and Renewal
    Nettles and Cleavers Tea: Brew a detoxifying tea with nettles and cleavers to support internal cleansing and renewal. These herbs are known for their purifying properties, making them perfect for a spring cleanse. As you sip the tea, meditate on releasing what no longer serves you, making room for new growth and opportunities.

  • Violet Elixir: Steep fresh violet petals in hot water, strain, and then dissolve honey into this floral infusion. This versatile elixir can sweeten teas, be enjoyed directly, or used in setting intentions for growth and change. Let each sip open your heart chakra, embodying the spirit of the Spring Equinox in every drop.

  • Bathing Ritual for Purification
    Prepare a ritual bath by adding dandelions, violets and other fresh Spring herbs to warm bath water. As you soak, envision the water imbued with the herbs' energies cleansing you of old patterns and energies, preparing you for the season ahead.

  • Planting Seeds Ritual
    The Spring Equinox is an ideal time to plant seeds, both literally and metaphorically. You can plant seeds in pots or your garden, symbolizing your commitment to growth and renewal. As you plant each seed, set an intention or wish for the upcoming season. Tending to these plants throughout the season can serve as a reminder of your intentions and the natural cycle of growth and rebirth.

  • Crafting Herbal Amulets
    Create small amulets or sachets filled with dried nettles, dandelion, violets, and cleavers. Carry these with you or place them in your home as talismans to attract the energies of renewal, growth, and protection. They serve as tangible reminders of your connection to the natural world and your intentions for the spring season.
Herbal Bath Ritual
Christine Alstat ND

The Author: Christine Alstat

Meet Christine Alstat, an internationally acclaimed naturopath and herbalist of Japanese heritage, whose profound expertise in plants and natural health has garnered recognition worldwide. As the dedicated CEO and owner of Eclectic Herb, Christine seamlessly intertwines her deep-rooted commitment to the Earth with her business, cultivating a space where her passion for plants is ever in full bloom. Her influential voice on herbal wisdom resonates across the globe through publications and panels, reflecting a lifetime commitment to nurturing both the plant kingdom and the earth.

 

Beyond her thriving professional life, Christine finds joy in the simple pleasures of hobbies. Whether she's spending time with her family, gathering herbs throughout the seasons, or concocting her own remedies in her home apothecary, Christine Alstat embodies a harmonious blend of nature, health, and the spiritual bonds that tie us all together.

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