Food Medicine for Seasonal Support

By Ashley Crouse, Moth + Moon Farm

Helping your body’s systems this spring and summer.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.


Spring/Summer 2023

Spring Cleaning
During winter, the body’s systems become stagnant as we bulk up on starchy root veg and other comfort foods while staying sheltered from the cold. The first greens of spring are full of detoxifying properties to wake your body up and help your lymphatic system start running properly again. As the sun gets warmer and the days get longer, we find our bodies wanting to get up and move. The main goal in the spring is to support your liver and gallbladder while they do all the work. Dandelion and burdock are both excellent allies for this. Dandelion has a cleansing supportive role of stimulating the liver to remove waste and burdock nourishes the body’s natural filtration system. Dandelion is renowned for its detoxifying properties and its history as a plant medicine and liver tonic dates back to the 10th century!

Nettle is another mineral rich spring green that doesn’t get enough credit as it comes with a plethora of healing benefits and deep nourishment. Our modern day mass produced foods are lacking nutrients and nettle is a powerful way to replenish them. Few plants carry the nutrient content of nettle and if you’re lucky enough to have a wild space to grow this invasive plant, you’ll be set for life, just watch out for that sting! It’s hard to remember these rituals in our modern busy world when it was simply a matter of survival for our ancestors. In a world where everything is packaged up “ready to eat”, we’ve come so far from what our bodies should be consuming on a daily basis to nourish and support their functions. It’s important they become rituals in our lives again. It’s really as simple as consuming whole local seasonal foods and foraged wild foods as much as possible. This pesto is a prime example of a versatile food medicine that can be consumed every day on eggs, pasta or whatever your heart desires!

Wild + Bitter Spring Pesto
1 ½ cup fresh arugula (or other leafy green)
1 cup fresh dandelion
½ cup dried nettle
½ cup seeds or nuts
¾ cup Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves
¼ tsp salt

Put the fresh and dried greens in the food processor with garlic and oil. Blend until smooth. Add nuts and salt and blend until everything is completely blended. Put into a clean jar and store for up to a week in the fridge.

Summer Chaos
In the summer things tend to get hot and chaotic. Our bodies experience burnout much quicker than in the cooler months. We get less rest and have more exposure to the elements as the days get longer and we spend them soaking up the sun. There’s also the stress of the go go go season, and here in Nova Scotia the summer is the most active time for us. The over-exhaustion the sun creates is damaging to our systems and bringing in herbal allies is an easy way to support our bodies’ needs during this time. Adaptogens like tulsi and chamomile help our nervous system endure the stress, while cooling herbs like lemon balm and yarrow keep our temps regulated in the blistering heat. These herbs are also gentle enough for kids and can help them find comfort on those hot summer nights.

Herbs like yarrow and rose are wildly abundant in the summer, whether foraging or cultivating them in your garden. Yarrow is cooling and promotes perspiration to help cool the body down. Lemon balm grows almost anywhere you plant it, and is a nervine with gentle sedative qualities to “calm your nerves” in the heat. Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, has been celebrated in Ayurvedic medicine for its incredible adaptogenic qualities that help the body regulate stress, and it also helps provide mental clarity. Stress can be so damaging to our bodies natural state and summer medicine like this can support our system if consumed on a regular basis. Once again, food medicine makes this easy AND delicious!

Flower Garden Lemon Aid
(1 gallon)
1 cup chopped fresh lemon balm
½ cup dried hibiscus
½ cup dried or fresh chamomile
½ cup dried or fresh yarrow flower
½ cup dried or fresh rose petals
½ cup dried or fresh tulsi
4 quarts water
Honey to taste

Bring 1 quart of water to boil. Remove from heat, add the herbs, and allow to steep while covered for 10 min. Add the honey while it’s still warm and stir to combine. Strain plant material and add remaining cool water. Store in the fridge for up to two days. Serve cold over ice.