This year feels like a good year to get back to basics. Yes, I want to be productive but I also want to be more conscious about the choices I make. And, that includes getting back to herbal basics.
For most of when we think about taking an herb(s), we think about something specific for what ails us.
Herbal basic #1
We tend to forget that using nutritive plants is a powerful way to nourish the body, build up any areas of weakness and generally give our body support.
Many of us have digestive issues (and don’t tell me you poop every day so you don’t have any issues, um digestion is more than pooping) which makes it harder for us to absorb nutrients from food and supplements.
Nourishing herbs bridge the gap between diet and supplements giving us a kind of whole-food tonic.
These herbs are generally safe, without side effects and one herb can give you lots of different nutrients.
If you start adding nutritive herbs into your daily diet you might just start feeling better, have more energy, get stronger bones, have a better immune system, decrease your inflammation, and stop being so crabby.
We are talking about optimal nourishment here. The kind of nourishment that supports wholeness, vitality, flexibility, creativity, compassion, you know all the things we want in life.
If you want to heal and transform you need to give your body nourishment.
How you take nutritive herbs matters. You can’t just slam a bunch of tinctures and call it good. Alcohol doesn’t extract nutrients, lots of other stuff, but not nutrients.
The nutrients will be the most potent if you eat the herbs, although it might not be the best idea to munch on a handful of fresh Nettle. (just sayin) You can use the herbs fresh, dried, or powdered and add them to your soups, broths, smoothies, and casseroles. Yep, just throw em in.
Teas do a pretty good job of extracting nutrients but if you want the biggest bang for your buck you need to make an herbal infusion.
These super-infused teas are steeped for at least 4 hours and up to overnight to extract the most nourishing bits.
How to Make an Herbal Infusion
- The general rule is to add 1 oz. or around 2 cups of plant material to a quart jar. I find that to be too much for me and find my sweet spot is around 1 to 1 1/2 cups.
- Fill the jar with just boiled water and let it steep for about 4 hours. Sometimes the best option is to make your infusion at night and strain in the morning but any time will work.
- You can also use a french press.
- Strain and drink the whole quart during the day. If that feels overwhelming then shoot for ½ to 2 cups and refrigerate the rest and drink it the next day. There will be plenty of bathroom trips.
- Repeat daily to deeply nourish your body.
3 Nourishing Herbs to Know
Nettle is one of the most nutritious and safe herbs you can consume. One cup of Nettle infusion has about 500mg of calcium that your body can actually absorb and use. Nettle also has significant amounts of magnesium, chromium, phosphorus, potassium, B vitamins, and silica.
Drinking a Nettle super tea will definitely make you pee but try to think of it more like a little kidney cleanse and not just annoying.
Nettle leaves can also be drying so you might want to add in some Oat Straw to help moisten things up a bit.
Nettle can help you stabilize blood sugar, reduce fatigue, nourish the kidneys and adrenals and help with rheumatic complaints…you know the pain in muscles, tendons, joints, bones, or nerves.
- Oat Straw~
These are the grassy parts of the oats that are harvested while they are still green.
Ounce for ounce you get 4 times more vitamins and minerals with Oatstraw than oatmeal. High in calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins.
Use this with or instead of Nettle if you don’t like the deep green flavor of Nettle.
Oats deeply nourish the nervous system, strengthen the adrenals, help with bone density, and improve memory. Oats also help clear cholesterol, clean up the blood vessels and nourish the heart.
The whole plant is edible and nutrient dense.
The root has high amounts of iron, manganese, phosphorus, protein, and vitamin A.
The leaves give you high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.
Dandelion is also considered a bitter herb which makes it good for digestion and detoxification.
The root is great for strengthening and nourishing the liver. It also tones the kidneys, pancreas, and stomach. It’s actually pretty powerful for a lowly weed.
The leaves eliminate congestion and edema, help with rheumatic and arthritic swelling, and well, they pretty much get all your fluids flowing.
Google any herb or condition and you will find a million and one things it’s ‘good’ for and a million and one ways to ‘treat’ it.
It gets confusing, even to me. Then, I’m chasing down recipes and herbs and end up with a pantry full of stuff and I don’t remember what I bought it for or what I was going to do with it.
I invite you to start with the basics. Pick one herb and start making an infusion every day. If you feel like you don’t resonate with the herb you chose, try a different one or combine them. If you need more ideas shoot me an email and I will help you figure it out.
We all have healing to do on so many levels. And, we are all unique in the ways we ‘break’ and the ways we heal. Healing and change have a better chance to happen if your cells are fully nourished.
Make this the year you open yourself to deep nourishment.