Spring Detox: 5 Bitter Herbs to Help Improve Digestion and Cleanse the Body

Herbalists believe that health and vitality begin in the digestive tract. Bitter-tasting herbs are best taken before each meal to enhance digestive function, improve metabolism, and support a balanced state of mind. People worldwide have traditionally called upon spring greens to cleanse the body and clear the mind. Learn more about bitter spring greens that are popping up all over the land and how to incorporate plants like, nettle, burdock, red clover, milk thistle, and dandelion into your daily regimen.

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Avena's Ashwagandha Golden Milk Recipe

Cozy up with a warming cup of Ashwagandha Golden Milk. This vibrant blend of herbs and spices, used as a daily tonic, helps support the immune system, stimulate the digestive system, and ease inflammation.

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Fortify Your Soups with Immune Broth


For over 20 years, Avena Botanicals has combined certified organic roots and mushrooms into a blend for making your own immune broth at home. Unlike many competing products in the marketplace, 100% of the mushrooms we use are grown in the USA. Our Immune Broth contains certified organic Astragalus root, organic Burdock root, organic Eleuthero root bark, sustainably wild-crafted Red Reishi mushroom, and organic Shiitake mushroom.

I recommend that you cook the herbs and mushrooms for a minimum of 8-24 hours, adding water as needed, and then strain and pour the cooled concentrated liquid into ice cube trays. Once frozen, store the ice cubes in a sealed bag in your freezer (approximately 6 weeks of ice cubes per person when taken daily). The ice cubes are ready to use on a regular basis, daily or several times a week, by placing into a warm bowl of your favorite soup or into a cup of warm miso soup (my favorite miso is made by South River Miso Company). Winter is the season for soups with an added cube of Immune Broth! I recommend an ice cube a day, or three times a week, per person, to strengthen the immune system, digestion, and the respiratory system and to protect the body from exposure to inclement weather and environmental toxins.

Below is information about the fortifying ingredients in Avena Botanicals' Immune Broth.

Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus)
Astragalus is an essential herb for the time in which we are living as it gives us the nourishment and strength to think clearly, to stand up, and be our authentic selves, to be informed by inspiration, to digest both our food and life experiences fully, and to strengthen our lungs and immune system. Astragalus when taken regularly in soup (Immune Broth), or as tea or tincture, helps us be less “thin-skinned” and stronger in our ability to stand upright, emotionally and physically, and to receive the breath qi (chi)-inspiration in all its forms. To be guided by inspiration, and to receive inspiration from the beauty of the natural world (and from music, literature, theater, art, children, Elders, and healing dances and songs), can help humans be kinder, more caring, and compassionate towards ourselves, each other, and our planet.

Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Burdock’s mildly sweet and bitter taste stimulates digestive activity, clears toxins from the gut, lessens sweet cravings and relieves gas, indigestion and constipation. Its sweet and oily properties benefit the endocrine system and nourish people who feel tired and run down. Burdock improves liver function and supports women’s hormonal shifts throughout their menstruating and menopausal years and even beyond menopause. Burdock root contains inulin, a rich source of fructo-oliogosaccharides (FOS), which enhances the growth of healthy bowel flora. Burdock root has long been revered for its ability to remove accumulated waste from the tissues and bring the body back into a balanced state of health.

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus, also known as Siberian ginseng)
Eleuthero has been one my most favorite herbs for many years. When I take it consistently over several months, I feel like I am standing on solid ground. This deeply rebuilding and restorative tonic increases overall vitality, physical strength, and endurance. It strengthens the immune system’s reservoir, improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, supports healthy liver function and maintains healthy blood flow through the arteries to the brain-improving memory, concentration and overall mental clarity. During my recent trip to study in Ecuador, I used tinctures of Avena Botanicals' Eleuthero and Hawthorn Plus, starting a month before my travels, to support my immunity and ability to be at higher altitudes (10,000 feet). Eleuthero is far less stimulating than American or Chinese ginseng. See below for more information about our Eleuthero tincture, which is also now back in stock.

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma tsugae)
This red shelf mushroom is found growing in hemlock groves on old stumps and fallen down trees in Maine and throughout New England. I enjoy cross country skiing and hiking through hemlock groves-pausing to deeply infuse with their spirit and beauty. Reishi has become a popular mushroom for enhancing the immune system, improving adrenal function, easing stress, and reducing allergic reactions and inflammation.

Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes)
Shiitake is a commonly cultivated mushroom, usually grown on hardwood logs such as oak. It strengthens the immune system, improves overall circulation and cardiovascular health, assists people who feel chronically tired and run down, supports healthy cholesterol levels, and enhances an overall feeling of well-being. It has long been used in Asia as a food and medicine.



NEW Winter Wellness Elixir - Elderberry, Ginger & Thyme

The new Winter Wellness Elixir by Avena Botanicals is a special, limited-edition blend of Elderberry, Ginger & Thyme. View full article →

Ginger, Pear, and Turmeric Muffins

Ginger, Pear, and Turmeric Muffins Recipe

The warming and pungent qualities of ginger and turmeric make a perfect pairing for winter muffins. They both support healthy digestion and are known in the Ayurvedic tradition to enkindle agni (digestive fire) and clear toxins from the gut. Most herbalists worldwide agree that supporting good digestion and elimination is necessary for health and quality of life. Both of these delicious herbs support healthy immune function, clear congestion in the head and chest, warm the body when chilled, and stimulate good digestion.


  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 ¾ cup spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp organic turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp mixed pumpkin pie spice or your favorite combo of cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ cup organic vegetable oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp grated fresh organic ginger
  • ¾ cup unsweetened milk
  • 2 small sliced pears
  • Optional: ¼ cup Avena’s Ginger Glycerite and/or chopped organic ginger candy



Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, mix flax seeds and water and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, turmeric, spices, and salt. In a larger bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, and Ginger Glycerite until well combined. Slowly pour flax mixture and milk as you whisk into the liquid mixture. Add grated ginger and ginger candy. Add flour mixture into liquid and mix until combined, taking care to not over-mix. Fold in sliced pears. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full with batter and bake 20-22 minutes. Eat fresh within 2 days or freeze. Enjoy these yummy muffins!

Ginger & Turmeric: Rejuvenating Herbs for Winter - NEW Ginger Turmeric Elixir

The warming and pungent qualities of Ginger and Turmeric make for a perfect pairing during winter. They both support healthy digestion and are known in the Ayurvedic tradition to enkindle agni (digestive fire) and clear toxins from the gut. For a nourishing and warming tonic, I like to place a half to a full dropper of Ginger Turmeric Elixir on my tongue before eating, especially during the colder months. Both herbs support healthy immune function, clear congestion in the head and chest, warm the body when chilled, and stimulate good digestion. View full article →