Updated: Apr 25, 2022
In true mountain state style, spring arrived, and then dramatically departed, then graced us with its presence once again! Thanks to some much-needed precipitation, soon the hills will be lush, green, and painted with wildflowers.
This is a beautiful season to embark on your own holistic healing/herbal adventure. We want to give you the best tools to feel confident in your personal journey!
Spring Forward with a Healthy Liver
“Spring is the season when the life forces awaken again. The sap begins to flow; the plants begin their life cycle; the streams and rivers are gushing. In our bodies, too, our life flow awakens with force." -Rosemary Gladstar
Chinese Medicine also considers spring to be the time of peak Liver & Gallbladder energy time. A sluggish, stagnant, or deficient liver can't keep up with the stimulation of spring, which can exacerbate health conditions and lead to skin conditions, allergies, headaches, and more. You can provide a daily kick to your liver and digestive processes with bitters! We have a plethora of delicious herbal bitters to incorporate into mocktails or to spray/drop directly onto the back of your tongue 5-15 minutes before each meal to spark your digestive fire.
Our naturopathic toolbox is chock full of supportive tools for liver, lymph, and digestive health including:
Herb of the Month- Meet Chickweed #vervainHOTM!
What is chickweed?
Chances are you've seen this "weed" more than once and perhaps not even realized what a delicious food and powerful healing remedy it is! Native to Europe, chickweed is now one of the most common weeds in the world.
Chickweed Uses & Benefits
Chickweed is high in saponins, which are soap-like constituents that act as an antimicrobial within the plant. In humans, these saponins have many beneficial functions, including regulating blood sugar, supporting a healthy microbiome, and modulating inflammation. Stellaria media iscooling and moistening, so is excellent for hot tissue states, such as irritated eyes, dry coughs, an inflamed lymph system, and skin conditions that are red, irritated, and itchy.
Additionally, chickweed makes an excellent nutrient-dense food! Salty in flavor, it contains beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, and zinc. This is a wonderful food to add to your diet, especially after fall and winter when we've typically been eating heavier foods.
Identification & Harvesting
This herb prefers cool weather and moist, relatively shady spots, although it's possible to be found in sunnier locations as well. It's often associated with early spring (hello!), but can also be found during the fall and winter in some places. One of its distinguishing characteristics is a line of fine hairs running down the side of the stem and changing sides at each node (the part of the stem where the leaves are connected). The leaves are bright green and ovate with smooth edges and pointed tips, and are in opposite pairs along the stem. The flowers are reminiscent of stars that are 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter and have white cleft petals. The color of the anthers ranges from yellow to green, brown, red, and purple. Egg-shaped fruits contain several tiny reddish-brown seeds.
Harvest the leaves, stems, and flowers of chickweed when the plants are young and tender. It may be harvested while flowering, but avoid harvesting if it's gone to seed, as it'll be tough and fibrous. Be sure to leave several leaves and flowers behind in order to allow it to go to seed and continue to reproduce! It's recommended to use scissors to snip the top portions of the plant, as the stems can be difficult to break and you risk pulling out the roots.
Suggested uses: Fresh greens are delicious in salads. Enjoyed as a cream, oil, salve, succus (juice), tincture, or vinegar. Throw a handful into the blender as an addition to a fresh green spring smoothie! For more ideas check out a few of our book selections in the shop! The Herbalist's Kitchen & Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health.
Bonus Recipe! Chickweed Salve
If you'd like to learn more about springtime foraging, check out these great resources:
Follow the Black Forager on Instagram! @blackforager & youtube
Practitioner Appointments Available!
If you're a practitioner who would like to be more involved with The Vervain Collective community, please get in touch! We have many entry points - including using our apothecary for custom blends, teaching classes, meeting with patients/clients, and more! Here is our "For Practitioners" resource page.
Join Us for Class!
We are constantly adding more amazing classes, teachers, and events to our calendar! Click her to view the calendar and to register online. If you're interested in leading a conversation or teaching a class, you can find our application form on the same page!
Healthy Skin Saturday: April 2nd from 2pm-5pm Vervain Classroom $30 general; $40 parent/kid; $15 student Dr. Nicole Pierce, Anna Edsall, & Anna Demetriades Join Dr. Nicole Pierce, NMD, Anna Edsall of Oil Studio Skincare, and Anna Demetriades of Anthea Skincare to discuss healthy, beautiful skin and how to take care of it from the inside out! This will be a dynamic and hands-on class exploring herbal and natural remedies for healthy skin and simple holistic practices you can incorporate today to support your natural beauty! What we apply to our skin has a huge impact on our health (and vice versa!), and the health of our skin is a direct reflection of a much deeper process that may be happening within our bodies. Open to all ages (parent/kid discount available!) and skin types! You'll leave with tangible tips, important information, and a customized/individualized mask to take home! Space is limited! Eat like a Girl, May 7th from 2:00pm-3:30pm
Vervain Classroom $20 general; $30 parent + kid Dani Forbess and Gail Kloosterman This class explores the monthly rhythm of the female cycle and highlights which foods and habits can support these hormonal changes. This is an ideal class for menstruators across generations, as it provides ample space to reflect on each unique experience. It will offer educational insights into how one can understand their hormones - and how hormones can actually help women of all ages to develop and grow into our best selves. Included also are some easy hacks to minimize the stress and chaos that hormones can sometimes wreak on our bodies. All of this in the context of food! Class comes with a complimentary delicious adrenal cocktail. Sign up the whole family of women today! **Open to all people who identify as women or have menstruated or will menstruate!*
Nutrition for Cognition: May 26th from 5:30pm - 6:30pm With Lindsay Kolpitcke Vervain Classroom $25 The brain consumes more calories than any other part of the body--roughly 20%--so eating brain-healthy foods isn’t only necessary for cognition, but imperative for those of us with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. What you put in your mouth provides all the raw materials for building the structure of your brain cells and keeps all the communication systems running coherently, so you can think, emote, learn, and remember. Simply put, food provides brain power.
Learn what foods, herbs, and nutrients best support the brain.
Lastly, our Rosemary Gladstar Science & Art of Herbalism Course is FULL this go-around. However, we are adding folks who are interested to a waitlist for upcoming herb classes and next year's Science and Art of Herbalism course! If you are interested, please reply with your name and email!
In Case You Missed It...
We were recently featured in Totally Boise's Blog: Take On Spring Allergies The Vervain Collective's Holistic Approach. Check it out! You will find our favorite go-to remedies to ease this rough time of year! You can also see the history of Vervain blogs here.
Please NOTE our Hours! The Vervain Collective apothecary is open Tues-Sat 11-6 (going back to 7pm next week!), and Sun 11-5. Our online store is open 24/7 for shipping and pickup.
We can't wait to see you!