Most multi-vitamin mineral supplements aren’t worth taking. Our bodies expel the majority of the synthetic nutrients, absorbing on average only 9% of the vitamins and minerals. Yet with our soils deficient, and our food therefore lacking in concentrated nutrition, what’s a good way to amend our diet? Surprisingly, the answer is herbal tea. Read more to learn how to customize a brew that will ameliorate and nourish.
The roles of herbs are multitudinous. They not only balance and heal with their medicinal properties. It is less well known that herbs are concentrated in vitamins and minerals.
Their nutrition is beneficial because it’s easy to assimilate. Unlike synthetic vitamins and minerals that come to us in pill form, the right co-factors are present in herbs to allow our bodies to digest and utilize their nutrition. The water of tea holds the goodness that our bodies can readily absorb and use.
This post is not exhaustive, as the world of herbs is expansive and inspiring. While herbs contain many healing properties, this post focuses specifically on those herbs that are high in vitamins and minerals.
For a daily blend, it may be advisable to add to these herbs additional herbs that contain the healing properties from which your body could benefit. For instance, for my daughter with a history of asthma, I add mullein leaf and lobelia to her daily blend, both herbs that are excellent for lung health.
Keep in mind that vitamins and minerals are best assimilated when eaten with food, and food that includes fat. These herbal teas, therefore, are best enjoyed with your meals. Drinking the tea regularly, 3-4 servings per day, will allow the medicinal properties of the herbs to be most effective.
If you’d like to incorporate these same vitamin and mineral-rich herbs into your cooking, see my You Tube video on the subject.
I am not a doctor. Please consult your practitioner before beginning any new healthcare protocol.
Let’s look at some universally helpful herbs and their nutrients, as well as a few customized brews that you can make at home.
Alfalfa Leaf– Alfalfa is a wonderful base for tea because it aids in the assimilation of other plant elements. It is also high in Vitamins A and K, both key nutrients for overall wellness. High in chlorophyll, it’s gentle for the convalescing patient, and excellent for someone desiring stamina and strength.
Dandelion Leaf– Great sources of calcium can be hard to find. Dandelion is high in calcium. It is also nutritive for the blood and helpful for anemia. It cleanses the liver and nourishes both the female organs as well as the urinary tract. It aids in digestion, and is also high in iron and Vitamin A. Dandelion is a good remedy for constipation.
Ginkgo Leaf– High in calcium, iron and Vitamin C, ginkgo is also excellent for circulation and has many anti-aging properties. Ginkgo is best consumed often for optimum benefits.
Hibiscus Petals– This tart and beautiful petal is high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Hibiscus helps to balance blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve insomnia and aid in the treatment of diabetes. Paired with rose buds, hibiscus is used to alleviate depression. (Caution for those with a peanut allergy, hibiscus is sometimes grown alongside peanuts and may contain trace amounts of them.)
Milk Thistle Seed Powder– Excellent for healthy liver function, milk thistle is high in fatty acids and Vitamin E.
Mullein Leaf and Blossoms– Mullein leaf is key for improving respiratory health. However, it’s also a good basic herb for providing iron, magnesium and potassium. The blossoms are pretty and have a honey flavor. (If having a beautiful daily tea would add emotional wellness for you, paired with hibiscus, the blend would have bright red and yellow flowers.)
Nettle Leaf– Great for detoxification and cleansing, nettle leaf improves liver and kidney function. Also good for digestion, nettle is high in chlorophyll, Vitamins A, C, minerals, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and amino acids. Nettle is a must-include in any daily tea, in my opinion. (Caution for those with histamine allergy: nettles contain histamine.)
Peppermint Leaf– Perhaps surprisingly, peppermint is not only good for digestion. It is high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, thiamine, Vitamin A, and amino acids. Peppermint also makes an excellent base with other herbs because it increases circulation and thus stimulates their absorption and the utilization of their properties.
Plantain Leaf– Plantain leaves are high in beta carotene, Vitamin C, and calcium. They are also good for indigestion.
Raspberry Leaf– This leaf is high in antioxidants and excellent for balancing hormones, especially in reducing estrogen dominance. It is high in calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Raspberry leaf relieves migraines for many patients when consumed daily.
Red Clover– High in chromium, calcium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, phosphorous, thiamine, and Vitamin C, this herb is also estrogenic. It, therefore, supports the production of estrogen and is best taken during the first half of a woman’s cycle. Its bitter compounds are known to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and relieve pain.
Rose Hips– Very high in Vitamin C, rose hips are also good for the circulatory system.
Sage– Good for digestion, relief of inflammation and headaches, and general strengthening of the nervous system, sage is high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, Vitamin A, and zinc.
To make one of the following blends, use two parts of any herb emboldened to one part of any herb not emboldened: 1/2 cup to 1/4 cup measurements work well. Place herbs in large bowl to mix; then store in airtight container out of direct sunlight. To brew, use 1 tablespoon dried herbs to 8 ounces boiling water. Steep for 5-7 minutes; optionally, sweeten to taste, and enjoy. A larger batch can be made by using 1/2 cup tea to 1/2 gallon boiling water. Steep for up to 60 minutes, strain, and refrigerate.
MEN’S BLEND– Alfalfa, dandelion, ginkgo, nettle, peppermint, plantain, sage, and powdered saw palmetto berries*
WOMEN’S HORMONE BALANCING TEA– Alfalfa, dandelion, hibiscus, nettle, peppermint, raspberry, rose hips
DE-STRESS & DETOX TEA– Alfalfa, ginkgo, milk thistle, nettle, peppermint, red clover, sage
*While Saw Palmetto Berries do not boast particularly high levels of vitamins or minerals, they are worth noting for those who wish to customize a daily nutritive blend. Saw Palmetto Berries are excellent for men who wish to reduce an enlarged prostate. They are also good for women and children, reducing inflammation and benefiting the urinary system. They can be purchased in powdered form for use in tea.
Fritchey, Philip Practical Herbalism. Print
Keith, Velma J. and Gordon, Monteen The How-To Herb Book. Print
Campbell-McBride, Natasha M.D. Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Print
Fallon, Sally Nourishing Traditions. Print