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All about Nourishing Herbal Infusions
Herbal infusions are the BEST way to supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients. They are one of the most bio-available “multivitamins” that you’ll find. Actual multivitamin supplements tend to be made with synthetic nutrients, very high amounts of some nutrients, or they are just incredibly imbalanced.
Herbal infusions are basically a very strong tea. Tea is great for getting the action of the herb and some nutrients, but infusions are the most powerful way to get both the action of the herb plus all of the nutrients it offers. As an example: a cup of nettle tea has about 30mg of calcium, but a cup of nettle infusion has about 300mg! It is a HUGE difference, and can help immensely for people that need liquid nutrition as they work on gut healing.
Food and herbs aren’t important just for vitamins and minerals too! There are SO many other components to food that you will never find in synthetic supplements: phytochemicals, fiber, fat, protein, carbs, bioflavonoids, carotenoids, plant pigments, amino acids, fatty acids, isothicyanates. indoles, coumarins, antioxidants, enzymes, and more!
The main infusions that you can make are with stinging nettles, red raspberry leaf, oat straw, red clover, chickweed, and comfrey. Each herb has its own specific purpose and of course, different flavor! All herbs have their own “best” preparation so these herbs are all best as infusions- not tea, not pills, only as infusions.
Many herbalists say that nettle infusions are better than multivitamins. They are full of calcium, magnesium, iron, B complex vitamins, C complex, vitamins A, D and K as well as protein, cobalt, trace minerals, potassium, iodine, boron, manganese, zinc, copper and sulfur. Stinging nettles can truly be considered a cure-all. They help with adrenal health, kidney and liver detox, blood sugar regulation, hormonal health, they help increase milk supply for nursing mothers, they help prevent and treat anemia, and they are a natural anti-histamine.
Nettle leaf is cooling and drying. It has many amazing herbal actions: “Adaptogen, alterative, anti-tumor, anti-spasmodic, astringent, counterirritant (mucous membranes), diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactagogue, hemostatic, hypotensive, nutritive, trophorestorative (kidney/adrenal), vermifuge.” (source)
Nettles actually help to release uric acid from the joints, making it a great remedy for arthritis as well. Nettles treat neurological disorders, congestion, joints/muscle pain, allergies, celiacs disease, skin complaints, UTIs, and all women’s issues. They are also used for enlarged prostate glands, parasites, regulating blood pressure, goiter, Lupus, and they help to purify the blood.
Stinging nettles are a blood purifier. They were used in medieval times for gout, arthritis, anemia, eczema, to stimulate circulation, to increase milk supply, diuretic, kidney and bladder stones, and for inflammation of urinary tract.
Dried roots or root extract are especially helpful for enlarged prostate, uterine hemorrhage, heavy menstrual bleeding, and as an anti inflammatory.
What don’t stinging nettles do?! Nettle infusions are one of the most powerful foods you can add to your diet- the liquid that you get after steeping the nettles overnight contains the most bioavailable nutrients you’ll ever find. So why bother wasting $50 a month for multivitamin pills that may or may not be absorbed? A pound of dried nettles is around $15 and that will last you several months, especially if you make 2-3 quarts from the herbs.
Drinking 2-4 cups daily for at least 6 weeks is an easy way to deliver nutrients to the body in a quick manner. After 6 weeks, most can drop to a maintenance of 2-3 quarts a week, or they can also rotate with some other infusions. Nettles nourish the adrenals, liver and kidneys. Nettles are also perfect for pregnant and nursing woman suffering from adrenal fatigue because they are used for boosting milk supply and preventing anemia.
Nettle infusions best benefits:
- Whole body tonic
- Blood purifier and overall detox supporter (helps the kidneys, liver, lymph, etc)
- Blood sugar regulator
- Adrenal healer
- Fixes the root issues that cause anemia
- Balances calcium levels as it has the other main co-factors: mag, potassium, silica, etc
- Most nutrient dense infusion overall
- Can help significantly with detoxing estrogen
- Only nutrient it is low in is sodium- so if it is needed, you can add a pinch of sea salt or some sole water
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf has been used for thousands of years as a tonic for women. RRL helps to strengthen the uterus and pelvic muscles which helps to make labor shorter and easier.
Red raspberry leaf is packed with nutrients: magnesium, manganese, iron, vitamin C, b-vitamins and potassium. RRL is an amazing remedy for PMS, endometriosis, and it helps balance hormones. This herb is especially helpful for women trying to conceive as it is a very popular remedy for infertility.
Red raspberry leaf works great with nettles during pregnancy and while breastfeeding since they both provide amazing nutrition as well as helping to balance hormones. Even children can drink these teas with benefit!
Red raspberry leaf is a cooling and drying herb. It is astringent, nutritive, and a tonic herb.
The benefits of RRL from Susun Weed:
- “Increasing fertility in both men and women. Raspberry leaf is an excellent fertility herb when combined with Red Clover.
- Preventing miscarriage and hemorrhage. Raspberry leaf tones the uterus and helps prevent miscarriage and postpartum hemorrhage from a relaxed or atonic uterus.
- Easing of morning sickness. Many attest to raspberry leaves a gentle relief of nausea and stomach distress throughout pregnancy.
- Reducing pain during labor and after birth. By toning the muscles used during labor and delivery, Raspberry leaf eliminates many of the reasons for a painful delivery and prolonged recovery. It does not, however, counter the pain of pelvic dilation.
- Assisting in the production of plentiful breast milk. The high mineral content of Raspberry leaf assist in milk production, but its astringency may counter that for some women.
- Providing a safe and speedy pariuntion. Raspberry leaf works to encourage the uterus to let go and function without tension. It does not strengthen contractions, but does allow the contracting uterus to work more effectively and so may make the birth easier and faster.”
My favorite RRL: Frontier Herbs
Red Raspberry Leaf Main Benefits:
- Best herb for women (but can be used by anyone)
- Helps with balancing hormones, especially related to copper imbalances
- One of the best herbs for pregnant and nursing mothers
- Can help to heal from fevers and diarrhea when ill
- Uterine tonic, helps increase breast milk supply, balances menstruation (whether too heavy or too light)
Oatstraw is one of the most powerful nerve tonics. It is actually known as the herb of longevity in Ayurveda. Oatstraw is great for restoring the nervous system, keeping the cardiovascular system healthy, stabilizing emotions (great for anxiety and depression), and it is a well-known aphrodisiac. It also can help with energy, detoxification, immune health, overcoming addictions, and brain fog. Oatstraw especially benefits the liver and pancreas.
Oatstraw is full of protein, all B vitamins (except B12), beta carotene, vitamin E, trace minerals, silica (one of the most silica rich foods out there and my choice over things like diatomaceous earth!) , iron, copper, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. Oatstraw is Cooling and Moistening. Its actions are best for the nervous system (nervine) and cognitive function, but it is also helpful for mood and nutritional support.
Oatsraw has a very different taste than other infusions- you may be able to improve the taste by drinking it warm with honey. Read more about oatstraw here.
Oatstraw’s Main Benefits
- Most magnesium rich infusion
- Best for fast oxidizers that need more mag, or those that can actually tolerate magnesium
- One of the most silica rich herbs (silica is helpful in heavy metal removal as well as hair, skin, and nail health)
- Great for nervous system issues due to the content of mag and zinc
- Helps with liver detox and supports the pancreas
- Helps the cardiovascular system
- Can also help those trying to wean off of nicotine and other addictions
- well-known aphrodisiac (“sow your wild oats!”)
Red Clover infusions are best known for aiding fertility and preventing breast cancer. Red clover is one of the richest sources of isoflavones (phytoestrogens) and it is much safer and effective than soy for the purpose of breast health.
Red clover is full of calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C as well as protein and trace minerals.
Red clover is most effective at hormonal balancing in women. Using the infusions regularly for several months-1 year you can improve your chances of conceiving a child immensely. It also will help hot flashes, PMS, breast pain/lumps, improve kidney health, improve bile flow, reduce blood clot risk, balance cholesterol, and can prevent osteoporosis.
This amazing herb might even help men with preventing prostate cancer!
While making your red clover infusion you can add a spoonful of dried peppermint to it in order to improve the taste a bit.
You can read some more about red clover here!
Chickweed is a pretty amazing herb as well. You can make infusions of it with the bulk herb just like everything else on this page, or you can even use a tincture for it. The best uses for chickweed include dissolving things: cysts, tumors, fat cells (hello, don’t we all need something magical like that?!), thickened mucus, and even bacteria.
Chickweed can also be helpful for those recovering from surgery as it aids in healing. It is truly another amazing, nutrient dense herb! It is high in these minerals: calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium; and these vitamins: C, A (from carotenes), and B’s such as folate, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine.
Chickweed is a cooling and moistening herb. It can support the gut, liver, lungs, kidneys, and gallbladder. It’s especially helpful for dry conditions- dry cough, dry throat, dry skin, etc. Chickweed can help the lungs to expel more waste and thus increases respiratory health. This herb can also be used topically in salves or even in baths to help with skin inflammation- think sunburn, bug bits, bruises, and even splinters. Like most herbs, there is SO much that chickweed can help with!
You can read all about chickweed here.
Chickweed’s Best Benefits
- Helps with dissolving things: cysts, tumors, fat cells, thickened mucus, and even bacteria.
- Usually if one cannot tolerate nettles, they can do better with chickweed (nettles can be drying, chickweed is moistening)
- Helps with healing exhaustion and can be helpful when recovering from surgery
- Helps with absorbing minerals better
- Helps with bladder issues, especially cystitis
- Very nutrient dense: minerals- calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium; and these vitamins: C, A (from carotenes), and B’s such as folate, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine.
Last but not least we have comfrey leaf infusions (never the root!). Comfrey leaf is amazing for bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is known as the “knit-bone” herb because of its amazing healing qualities. Comfrey leaf is great for those with joint pain, skin conditions, bed sores, sprains, or bruises.
- Comfrey is one of the few herbs that should be avoided while pregnant or nursing.
- Comfrey is packed with zinc, B12, protein, beta carotene, tannins, trace minerals and more.
- Read some more about Comfrey leaf here from Susun Weed.
- Find comfrey leaf here on Amazon.
- You can follow Wise Woman Traditions on YouTube to learn how to make infusions, teas, cider, and more!
Other helpful herbs that can be used as infusions (all herbs have their “best” way to be prepared- not all herbs can be used as infusions nor do they need to be. Read more about herbal preparations here!)
- Linden flowers- for the immune system; can help with colds and flus, and helps lungs and digestion
- Mullein leaf- good for lungs!
- Violet Leaf
- Hawthorn berries, leaves, and flowers for heart health!
- Read more here about infusions!
How to Make Herbal Infusions
Making infusions might seem daunting at first but I promise that they are super easy! Once you do it once, you’ll get the hang of it and get it done in 5 minutes from that moment on.
- Get some Mason Jars– 1 quart is best but you can use bigger ones for double batches.
- Heat up 1 quart of water to near boiling. As it’s heating up, add 1/4-1 whole cup of dried herbs to an empty quart Mason jar. See below for ideas on the herbs you can use.
- Add the water to the herbs in your jar. Put a lid on it and let it sit anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
- Strain the herbs when you’re ready with a nice strainer like this. You can use the herbs for a second weaker batch or compost them! The weaker batch can be use for drinking, feeding plants, in a bath, or even as a hair rinse.
- Enjoy your infusion! Ideal amount would be 2-4 cups a day (technically you’ll have just under 4 cups left depending on how much liquid your herbs absorbed).
It’s ideal to use 1 herb at a time, especially at first. Try one, see how you feel, and then determine if you want to attempt to mix herbs. Taste-wise they tend to be better on their own. Mixing them doesn’t always taste too good! You can rotate through them easily though- just make a few quarts of your favorite each week and enjoy 2-4 cups a day.