|Posted by Sage Traditions on May 9, 2014 at 10:05 AM|
By Bev Wein
Are you looking for a simple and inexpensive way to boost your nutrition, energy and general health? Taking vitamin supplements can be expensive and are most often not whole foods, but synthetic derivatives of isolated vitamins and minerals. These forms of nutrition are often not utilized easily by the body and much of it may go to waste! The body is well equipped to extract nutrients from natural forms of nutritive food, however. Herbal infusions have long been a traditional and effective way to receive these nutrients in whole and natural forms.
Infusions are the most potent water based herbal preparation. Some herbalists use the term interchangeably with ‘tea’. Nourishing and medicinal infusions however, can be much more effective than simple tea if prepared properly. They typically use larger amounts of herb which are steeped, or infused, longer than a simple tea. This creates a product that is much richer and more potent with extracted properties, vitamins and minerals.
Most leaf or flower herbs should be infused at proportions of about 30g of dried herb to 1 litre of boiled pure water. This is best done in a tightly closed container, such as a mason jar, so none of the volatile essences and vitamins escape. If steeped in a tea pot, there are various openings that do not support as effective of an extraction and many of the aluable properties float away on the escaping steam. For a complete infusion, most herbs should be allowed to steep, tightly covered for a minimum of fours hours and can steep as long as overnight. This length in steeping time allows the full value of the minerals and vitamins in the herb to be extracted into the water.
‘Nourishing’ herbal infusions are safe to drink on a daily basis for extended periods of time, and rarely have any side effects. They are considered to be more of a vitamin and mineral rich food rather than a medicine and improve existing conditions by strengthening the body’s defenses and resources. Results from ‘nourishing’ herbs are best seen with long term use. They act slowly and cumulatively to boost your overall health and well being. (Some ‘medicinal’ herbs can also be effectively infused for immediate and specific benefits, however a consult with a qualified herbalist is recommended as to the safe length or frequency of dose.)
These regular infusions are indicated for anyone who may feel they need an energy or nutrition boost. This need may arise from numerous lifestyle situations that may challenge or deplete nutrients including times such as high stress, high energy workouts and sweating, occasional compromised meals, pregnancy, breastfeeding, or rebuilding after a detox cleanse or fast. They are very effective in supporting a busy and active lifestyle. For pregnancy and lactation a qualified herbalist should be consulted to ensure herbs that are safely used for these specifications.
The following nourishing herbs are commonly and safely used on a regular daily basis to boost vitamins. minerals and to support general health and wellbeing.
The common Stinging Nettle is a general nourisher as well as a uterine tonic. It has the special ability to strengthen the kidneys and adrenals. It is reputed to have the highest chlorophyl content of any other herb. An infusion of nettle will be dark (nearly black) and strong tasting. The list of vitamins and minerals it contains includes nearly every one known to man! It is especially abundant in vitamins A, C, D and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and sulphur. It is an excellent food and tonic for the hormonal system. It has been used to support prostate health, treat anemia, weakness, nutrient deficiency, eczema, psoriasis, respiratory issues, inflammatory muscle and joint issues, kidney and bladder issues, and to treat wounds and burns topically.
This sweet and mild tasting nutritive herb is noted for its mineral content which includes significant amounts of silica, calcium, iron phosphorus, copper, magnesium, chromium and zinc. It also contains protein, fatty acids and vitamins B1, B2, D and E. Oatstraw has been used to strengthen the capillaries and mucous membranes, support the cardiovascular system, combat exhaustion, support the nervous system, (including indications of insomnia, nervous palpitations, occipital headaches, concentration, memory, mental irritability), soothe skin irritations, support fertility and as an aphrodisiac.
Red Clover Tops
These sweet nutritive flowers contain a high amount of absorbable calcium and magnesium and trace minerals. They also are high in vitamins and protein. This herb is known to relax the nervous system, help restore and balance the hormonal system, alkalinize the body. It has been effective in alleviating PMS and pre and peri-menopausal symptoms. Red Clover has been used as a blood cleanser and to specifically support the glands, respiratory system and skin. It will support prostate health and has been used to support the body in detoxifying and dissolving cysts including those of cancer.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Leaves from the common Red Raspberry plant provide a large amount of easily assimilated calcium, iron and other valuable minerals including phosphorus and potassium. This herbs is known to be rich in vitamin A, B complex and C as well as Vitamin E. In addition, it has high antioxidant effects. Due to the high tannin and chlorophyll content, an infusion of these leaves will have a strong and slightly bitter taste. (For those unaccustomed to it, this can be made more pleasant by adding a tsp of dried mint or blending it with a sweeter tasting herb when infusing.) Red Raspberry Leaves also have an alkaloid called fragarine which supports the elasticity and tone of muscle tissue specifically of the pelvic region. This herb has an affinity for the uterus and therefore is an effective uterine tonic which is used to ease many menstrual problems.
At Innate Wisdom Healing Arts, I am pleased to offer a wide variety of herbs and herbal blends or preparations for your nutritive and medicinal use. I can be reached by email for general questions and consult. If you have any specific concerns, I am also happy to set up a personal consult with you to discuss your unique situation. Nourishing herbs are just one aspect of the wellness support I offer along with reflexology, chakra and energy balancing, cold laser therapy and birth doula support.
Here’s to your wellness!
Please note that modalities and services offered by Beverly Wein and Innate Wisdom Healing Arts are intended to be in complementary support to your current health care regime and no diagnosis nor prescription is implied or offered, nor are any of these treatments claimed as a substitute for medical care for any specific medical problem. If you are experiencing any specific medical concern, it is recommended that you consult with your medical doctor as soon as possible.