In the beginning, humanity had all the nutrients needed for healthy living available in the foods that were harvested directly from the earth. But through the years, the nutritional density of food has been dramatically reduced and in most cases replaced with synthetic (man-made) supplements. These supplements often come to our bodies as toxins and indigestible.
So, unless you are confident of the minerals present in the soil and growing methods used to produce the foods you eat, the need for additional vitamins and minerals is essential for health and vitality.
But what daily multi-vitamin should we choose?
Those that are based on sustainable, whole, and natural food sources of course!
In his book Practical Herbalism: Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Powers, Philip Fritchey defines nutritives as “herbs which supply a substantial amount of nutrients and aid in building and maintaining the body.” He lists several herbs that are highly nutritional — from that list, I have chosen six that are safe for all members of the family, and they are:
1. Nettle Leaf. Ahhh…nettles! I love it 🙂 Nutritionally speaking, nettle leaf contains an extremely high chlorophyll content along with being a substantial source for vitamins C and A, calcium, silicon, potassium chloride, protein and fiber.
2. Oats (straw and tops). The primary constituents of oats includes saponins, flavonoids, calcium, iron, complete B-vitamins, and lysine. They are also rich in silica, manganese, and zinc. Oats help the body to build strong and healthy bones, skin, hair, and nails.
3. Rose Hips. With approximately sixty times the amount of vitamin C than lemons, rose hips assist the body in preventing colds, the flu, and infections. In addition to vitamin C, rose hips also contain vitamins A, D and E, and are high in antioxidants.
4. Alfalfa. Alfalfa is an herbal powerhouse! Alfalfa is broadly recognized as a nutritious source of chlorophyll (more than any other plant), beta carotene, calcium, and the vitamins D, E and K. Additionally, it’s primary constituents include vitamin C, folic acid, copper, phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc, and various antioxidants.
5. Slippery Elm Bark. As the story goes, early American settlers — even George Washington and his troops during the winter at Valley Forge — used it as a survival food. In fact, Slippery Elm Bark can be given to people who can’t keep any food down. It is highly nutritive and the primary constituents include mucilage, tannins, calcium, and zinc.
6. Marshmallow Root. I love this herb! Due to it’s high content of mucilage, we know how good it is for our hair. Likewise, when consumed it is super nourishing and contains significant amounts of plant proteins, antioxidants, oxygen, calcium, and magnesium.
With these six herbs I can make an herbal daily vitamin infusion that all members of the family can drink and enjoy!
Making an Herbal Daily Vitamin Infusion
1. Completely combine equal parts of each of the six herbs listed above, creating a nutritive herb mixture.
2. Place 2 handfuls (1 cup or 1 ounce) of your nutritive herb mixture into a quart-sized glass jar.
3. Boil water in a pot.
4. Fill your glass jar all the way to the top with boiling water, place the lid on, and then allow the herbs to steep for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Longer steeping time makes a stronger, more nutritious infusion.
5. Strain and enjoy! The infusion will keep in the fridge for one to two days.
Use this infusion to stay hydrated and well-nourished, drinking at will throughout the day.
Note: The herbs used in this daily vitamin infusion are safe for young children as well as adults. In general, they are also considered safe for pregnant and nursing mothers, but please check with your doctor before taking this or any other herb. The information provided here is for educational purposes only.
Looking for the herbs mentioned in this post? Mountain Rose Herbs is my go-to for all my herbal needs! Their quality, affordability, and adherence to strict organic and fair trade growing practices are unmatched.
Now it’s your turn! What supplements do you take?
What is the usual daily serving of the infusion?
My husband and I usually split a quart and I give the children at least a cup each.
Do your kids like the taste of it?
Love it:) They rather have this “tea” than water.
Great post, thanks 🙂
Thank you Chantal 🙂
I was wondering where you are able to get GMO free alfalfa? That would be of great interest to me.
Yes Kate! Another plant that is at huge risk of being taken over! As I mentioned in the post, I love Mountain Rose Herbs and I trust them. I do know their stance on GMO’s but the listing for alfalfa doesn’t say straight out “This product is GMO-free.” So, I have just written an email to them asking about the alfalfa specifically…I’ll let you know what they say 🙂
Wonderful.. I.do like Mountain Rose herbs also……thanks for shooting
them an e mail. So much complexity in working on a healthy,sustainable
lifetstyle..I loveeeeee this post. How long have you and your hubby been
using this tea? Did you notice a difference in your energy,health,Ect? I
use a combination of licorice tea and stinging nettle. It helps my adrenal
issues a lot. I am totally looking forward to increasing the herbs in my tea concoction.
what is good about the saponins in oats? I thought they were an antinutrient….
Great question Alison! Plant saponins, especially those from oats, actually work to enhance nutrient absorption and they also help to remove cholesterol and toxins from the blood. Here are a few of the articles that I was reading on the topic:
Julia MacNeil says
This is perfect timing, once again Andrea. I just decided to dedicate a portion of this year’s garden to medicinal herbs. I am going to look these up to see if they will grow in my region.
Thanks for everything
That is perfect Julia!
I love drinking daily nettle infusions! I mix mine with iced herbal tea
How does it taste? I have trouble with the taste of nettles and alfalfa.
This is a bit confusing to me, since vitamins are destroyed with heat how is this infusion vitamin rich?
I just made a nettle infusion over the weekend. It tastes like spinach. I have heard that adding a bit of salt makes it taste better (I prefer spinach salted, so I’m going to try it). I also got oatstraw to use for infusions, but haven’t tried it yet. I would love to give it to my children but I know they won’t like the nettle by itself. Do your children like it?
The taste of this infusion is very, very good. We all drink it without a sweetener.
Around here in western Maine, the old-timers tell of taking a jug of water with cider vinegar and honey with them on haying days (long, hot, sweaty work)… Apparently the mix provides nutrients and helps restore enzymes… Have you (anyone?) ever tried this? I wonder what you think of adding these two ingredients to your infusion…?
Do you mean equal amounts as in dry measurement or in weight? A pound of slippery elm is much smaller in mass than a pound of some of the lighter herbs which is why I am asking. I am another who is curious of what your kids think of the taste of this.
Oh yes! I mean in weight! And as for the taste…it is very mild and we all love it freshly strained without sweetener even! It’s so good!
I’ve been drinking an herbal tea containing nettle (it’s great for allergies) but I’m just infusing it for 10 or 15 minutes. Any idea how much of the Vitamin C I’m getting that way as compared with the 4 hour infusion you suggest here? Any idea how I could find that out?
Just a thought, if I purchased the powdered versions of these herbs, would it be possible to dissolve the powder in water and take it that way? Or make my own capsules?
caroline dart says
Hi, can I use powder of slippery elm bark in this brew? Don’t know where to find the bark itself. I’m in Australia.
Also the alfalfa – is that seeds?? Can’t imagine putting the sprouts into the brew – they aren’t normally cooked are they?
Yes you can use powdered slippery elm bark. And the alfalfa is the actual dried plant material. I find it online through Mountain Rose Herbs or at my local health food store in the bulk herb section.
caroline dart says
caroline dart says
Just made this wonderful brew – loved mixing the herbs etc…. but when I poured the boiling water into the glass jar IT CRACKED !!! It didn’t crack right open, but there was a horrible cracking sound and it split at the bottom but luckily not enough to lose any of the liquid. Please advise me on this
Your glass jar was cold. When you pour hot liquid into a cold jar, it can break.
Place a metal spoon in the jar before pouring in water; it should absorb much of the heat and prevent glass from cracking.
Here is another excellent source for your organic herbal needs: Goldthread Farms & Apothecary. I have visited the farm and they are absolutely wonderful. I checked, and they carry all of the ingredients for this awesomely nutritious concoction! For anyone located in Western Mass, they also have an Apothecary in Northampton. 🙂 Even though I live in Maine, I love to order my teas, herbs, and medicines from them. I love to support their mission!
Here is the link:
Two questions: how do I make equal measurements by weight if I don’t have a scale? Also you say to add “2handfuls (1 cup or 1 oz)” I’m confused. After I mix them equally, how much do I add to the quart jar?
Decoction method is generally considered much better for roots such as Marshmellow and for Slippery Elm Bark as it gets a lot more nutrient out of the plant
caroline dart says
can u describe decoction method please
caroline dart says
In answer to TeeJay’s query about boiling water on herbs destroying the vitamins in them – I had the same concern and the above website sheds some light on the issue. What do you think Andrea, if you are still there?!! You don’t seem to have visited since April – maybe I’m talking to no one!!
Monika M says
This tea sounds extremely familiar since I make this tea every 3 days! Only I add in tons more herb and 3 parts more Red Rasberry Leaf for a healthy female body, for trying to get pregnant with my husband and when pregnant keeping my uterus strong. I add a Tablespoon of honey in the jar before add the water and that way it’s already sweetened so I don’t have to add more honey each time I drink it, especially since honey doesn’t melt well with cold liquid. The tea took a little to get used to for the flavor but now I’m ok with it and honestly just tend the chug it when I drink it. My husband won’t go near it haha. I also make shakes and put Kelp powder, Ginsend root powder and Psyllium powder (another chugging drink because it tastes AWFUL no matter how many berries you put in it)
Ladies drink up! Your body will love you for it even if it’s the most unpleasant thing to drink. It’s essential 🙂
My daily tea in the morning consists of alfalfa(I grow alittle patch in my garden), nettle(i gather at the creek), red clover(also grown in my garden), red raspberry leaf (also in garden), rose hips (gathered up the creek), and green roohibos (I purchase from MRH). Place all in tea ball and only change out once a wk. When I had my last bout of cold and cough and congestion, I used mullein and elecampane and placed in separate tea ball but included with my other tea. I also buy herbs not readily available from MRH.
Hello! Will it really only keep for 1-2 days in the fridge? I fill a large jar and then drink it all week from the fridge. Doesn’t seem to spoil. Can you provide any more info about this? Thanks!!
I remember being in Ireland visiting as a child and I got “stung” by nettle leaf. It was not pretty or fun! How is it that it is safe to make an herbal tincture with?
boiling water take the sting out of nettles 🙂
Can you recommend a good book or source for knowing which herbs to use at which time? I’m new to all of this but would love a source I can easily peruse at my leisure.
I freeze my lemons…(grate one to two tablespoons) into quart canning jar, then (one tsp. frozen grated ginger), (1 full tsp. chia seeds), (dash of cayenne), more if you can tolerate~. (1/4 tsp. stevia, add more if your a sour poose), ( 2 tsp. Braggs apple cider vinegar), brew 2 bags in one cup water… green tea and pour onto above items in canning jar (DO NOT FORGET JAR!) Makes a mess on your kitchen counter if you leave this part out….lol~ I sip it all day…lowered my cholesterol and triglycerides by half and they were dangerously high… in “two” months. My Doc. was shocked. I can’t take those stoopid cholesterol meds. She thought I had gone to the moon to shred my numbers. They do that up there but don’t spread the news, they’ll think your wacky like Jackey. I’m starting to fly. Took care of my mom for two and a half years with bone cancer and didn’t take care of myself. I’ve been going to sites like these on pinterest and well…kicking the Dr.s to the curb. Have a happy day all. Enjoy your lemon-ade!!!
Did you find out about the Alfalfa being GMO free?
Also, what do you mean by oat tops?