Monday 1 June 2015

Spring Tonic

With the winter we have just experienced many of us are feeling used up, and sluggish. While we want to tackle the spring work we seem to be lacking the get up and go.

The practice of taking a spring tonic is an old one;  your grandparents may still have the recipes or have stories of having to force one down.  If you are of a certain age you may have fond memories of Granny making and taking her “spring tonic” on the television program Beverly Hillbillies. One of our co-workers who grew up in Kentucky remembers her grandmother insisting that everyone have a heaping serving of poke salad every Spring. 

It was a means to purify and energize the body from a winter of being indoors with a diet heavy in meats and root vegetables.   What went into the spring tonics of decades ago?  Dandelion greens, nettle and burdock were popular ingredients.  Another type was sulphur and molasses.   Many were mixed with alcohol as a base.  Keep in mind these were only supposed to be taken by the spoonful!

Modern day tonics can be made from many easily obtained ingredients and you don’t have to be an herbalist to know what to use.  They can taste a lot better as well.   New greens are often at the markets and grocery stores.  Honey, ginger, cider vinegar, lemon and springwater can be quickly put together as a quick tonic.  Your blender can take any number of greens and turn them into an enjoyable and energizing drink.  Even a fresh, healthy green salad can boost your energy and serve as a tonic. 

Here’s an example of one of the many websites on the history of spring tonics.  I also found this recipe that looks pretty good so I think it will be my tonic of choice this spring. Cheers! 

-Patricia Milner, Head of Reference Services

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