It’s spring! Time to think about detox.
Just as we like to spring clean our house, it’s a really good idea to spring clean our bodies, and those of our pets, too.
And while any time is a good time for a detox, spring particularly lends itself to it.
In all likelihood, we’ve spent more time indoors during the colder, darker months.
Had less exercise and less sunshine.
Maybe we’ve indulged in richer, fattier, more sugary foods (and we may just have shared a fair amount of the with our furry friends…).
Time for a fresh start!
1. Get some sunshine!
We know that it boosts our mood, and often that of our pets too. But more than that, it encourages the body to produce Vitamin D. And Vitamin D, amongst many other things, boost the body’s ability to produce antioxidants and helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
In dogs, this process is slowed down by the fact that they have fur! Sunshine alone will never give them enough Vitamin D, but it does give them a nice boost. Most of your dog’s Vitamin D will need to come from food. Commercial complete dog foods have Vitamin D added, and 80-10-10 raw diets always contain liver, which is high in Vitamin D.
Cats, especially those with white fur, can be prone to skin cancer when exposed to too much sun, so be careful here, and apply sunblock to fragile ears if needed.
2. Mix some fresh kitchen herbs into their food
Fresh is best, and always my first choice. It’s really easy to boost the body, both ours and those of our pets, with some fresh herbs, that we probably have in the kitchen or garden anyway.
Parsley and rosemary encourage the kidneys to flush out toxins.
Thyme helps the airways to clear toxins (parsley does this too).
Chamomile tea supports the liver to produce healthy amounts of bile. This helps us to digest food better, and again, clear toxins that way.
A slight caution on rosemary:
Used fresh and in small amounts, as you would in cooking, there should be absolutely no problems at all.
High concentrations of rosemary oil, on the other hand, can lead to high blood pressure, hyperactivity and even seizures.
If your pet already has high blood pressure or seizures, be extra careful. Cats are also more sensitive to this than dogs.
But again, used as a kitchen herb, rosemary should be very safe.
3. Go for a nature walk and collect some medicinal wild herbs
I love this!
Nature provides such beautiful, healing plants.
A few things to bear in mind when foraging:
- Please be sure to only pick plants that you can identify 100%, and be mindful of where and how much you pick.
- Stay away from roads and the edges of paths to avoid contamination with exhaust fumes and weed killer.
- Try to avoid areas where dogs are frequently walked, to reduce the likelihood that your harvest has been wee’d on.
- Leave the area as you found it- be sure not to destroy too much vegetation in your endeavour to pick the best plants.
- Only pick what you need and always leave enough for the wild life and for a healthy crop to grow back.
- Always wash all herbs well before use.
Ok, now what to pick.
Everyone knows these two:
Detox for liver and kidneys (they taste bitter, a little goes a long way)
Dandelion Roots are great too!
Detox for the skin and kidneys, and nettle is also a natural antihistamine
Wear gloves while picking, and dry them, or scald with boiling water, to remove the sting
Nettles naturally accumulate heavy metals from the soil, and it’s important to only pick the top parts of the plant, which are the freshest and won’t be affected by this yet (they also taste much better than the older leaves lower down on the stem).
I love home picked, fresh nettle tea and nettle soup in spring!
If you know your plants, then these are also great:
Also known as Goose Grass or Sticky-Willie
Helps to drain the lymphatic pathways and is great to support the skin as the name suggests, it’s a sticky plant, but the freshest part at the top are less sticky than the bottom parts. Chop up well and mix with other plants or food to avoid a sticky feeling in the mouth!
Helps to clear the airways
It’s also excellent mashed up and placed onto minor wounds to stop bleeding and encourage healing. And helps with insect bites/ stings.
An excellent first aid remedy when out on a walk!
Mistakes have been made in the past, where fresh foxglove leaves were mistaken for plantain. This would be devastating! It would slow the heart rate right down and could lead to a serious emergency.
If you know plantain, you will not mistake it for foxglove – but there is a certain similarity there in the very young plants, so do make sure you only pick if you are 100% sure you know what it is.
If in doubt, just wait a little. Surely nobody can mistake a fully grown foxglove for anything else!
All of these are safe for both cats and dogs, as long as you give reasonable amounts.
Wild plants are packed with nutrients and a little goes a long way.
Have a lovely spring, full of sunshine and fresh, detoxing plants!