Here in my area, we are close to being finished with winter, right on schedule for Spring Equinox on the 20th of March. For us daylight savings time started last weekend, ahead of many other place in the world were such is observed, throwing confusion into calling other time zones. Other places, winter has not finished its grip on the weather, the landscape nor people, no matter what the calendar says.
But then that’s March for you, it roars around like a lion, with winds, cold one day and warm the next, never seeming to quite make up its mind about it all. Maybe it feels as restless and unsettled as many of us do when the spring juices slowly start to flow, wanting to get ahead of oneself. I know it does for me. One day throwing the windows open to bring in the sweet smell of warm soil, the next shutting them and putting on yet another sweater. I have decided to stand firm and steady, keep eating according to the season, honoring winter yet a little while, make sure I don’t get too cold, that I get enough sleep, enough exercise, enough R&R, all the things that keep the immune system in peak condition. Perhaps an extra spoonful of Elderberry syrup in my tea or on my hot cereal in the morning. Plenty of cooked and steamed greens of all types, enough protein to keep the energy and body heat going and a sensible amount of grains. I discovered this recipe Caldo Tlalpeno a traditional Mexican soup on Pintrest because of the beautiful photography. The soup can easily be adapted to be more or less hot to taste, depending on what you tolerate. Traditionally made with chicken and chicken stock it can be made vegetarian if you wish, it is up to you. It has a lovely smoky flavor due to the Chipotle peppers in it. Here is my recipe for this delightful soup leaving you satisfied in every sense of the word. The dark greens will be great for your liver, which also likes a little bit of the sour flavor from the sprinkle of fresh lime to be happy. The hot peppers will help circulation on these last cold days of winter here in this region.
Cold frame with the cover open But I have made concessions to the change of seasons. If I can, I now spend time doing chores in my garden and have readied the three raised beds. To me this is not work, it is time to just be. The soil has been turned, some compost spread, much to the delight of the robins, who hover, just out of reach, eager for what good tidbits maybe unearthed for them. The plastic covers are ready and next weekend, seeds of kale, spinach and peas go in. Then the beds are covered to keep the heat in. My body is eager for some really, really fresh greens. Of course the wild greens will soon appear, the nettle shoots are ready, I have already been stung, soon the dandelion leaves and the chicory will burst forth. In protected, sunny spots I have even seen chickweed. It is so blessedly willing, tenacious really, in growing, even when the conditions are still marginal.
For those that spring promises relentless suffering from seasonal allergies, now is the time to make an appointment with a practitioner to see what you can do to minimize your reaction once it really starts. For some this is the time to start drinking nettle tea or using droppers of nettle tincture. It takes a couple of weeks for this to build up in your system. A cautionary note here; when something is useful and effective, follow the direction, please. Using a lot more of any thing can be trouble, whether it is food, medicine or herbs. There are also homeopathic remedies that can be very helpful in keeping the sneezing, coughing, runny, red eyes and drippy nose at bay. But If you have significant enough allergies make an appointment with a qualified herbal practitioner or healthcare practitioner to make sure you get adequate help. Chinese Medicine has wonderful formulas that can be tailored to the individual and can make it possible to enjoy the season, also outside. But the proactive plan ahead. I know this from years of experience
Allergic rhinitis as seen from a Chinese Medicine perspective is due to an invasion of External Wind Cold or Heat with likely an underlying Lung Qi Deficiency. It becomes even a little more complicated as one takes the individual’s health into account with the balances and imbalances. An appropriate formula takes all this into consideration to help the individual to be “strong” enough to weather this invasion of external forces.
It is an exciting time ahead, with changes in the weather, new leaves and flowers bursting out, new life in nests of all kinds. Take time to notice life bursting out all over again.