Why I use Nourishing Herbal Infusions and You Should, too!
Are you getting high-quality nutrients out of the foods and supplements you take?
Want to know how you can get them even on the days you don’t eat all those veggies and without taking expensive supplements?
I grew up taking good quality vitamins, green barley drinks, and healthy shakes and I’ve continued that on through adulthood. I know it’s important to the best nutrition available, but that can get pretty expensive! We know that we can get a lot of good vitamins and minerals if we are eating plenty of high-quality organic vegetables and fruits, but many of us don’t do that–or don’t get enough. In our fast-paced life, we often opt for quick and easy foods that are lacking the nutrition our bodies need to be healthy and fend off illness.
That was herbalist Susun Weed’s understanding when she came up with the idea of Nourishing Herbal Infusions. She found that even she and others–who are committed to living a healthy and natural lifestyle–could not always get all the nutrition they need from the foods they eat. She knew that there were herbs that were packed with nutrients and she discovered that a great way to get these nutrients into our daily routine–besides cooking and eating them–is to make infusions with them.
What is an Herbal Infusion?
In herbalism, an infusion is infusing dried herbs in water. Basically, you’re making a really strong tea. But these nourishing herbs are not the highly fragrant herbs with lots of volatile oils. These are the milder tasting nourishing herbs.
Which Herbs to Use for Nourishing Herbal Infusions and Why – Nutrition Info
It helps to think of nourishing herbal infusions as food. Just as we don’t eat the exact same foods daily, Susun recommends alternating the infusions. Susun also recommends having only one herb at a time because in so doing, you can get to know that particular herb and how your body responds to it. And I recommend doing this at first, too. Because I have seen other herbalists combining herbs–and because I don’t like the taste of a whole cup of some of the herbs by themselves–I have made a blend for myself. Susun would not approve, but my blend makes me feel great, so I’m sticking with it.
The main five Nourishing Herbal Infusions that Susun Weed recommends–and which she herself drinks at least one quart a week are:
Nettle leaf (Urtica dioica): nourish and rebuild adrenals, kidneys, blood vessels, skin, hair
Oatstraw (Avena sativa): longevity tonic, rebuilds nerves
Red Clover blossoms (Trifolium pratense): anti-cancer ally,
Linden flowers (Tillia americana): anti-flu, anti-cold, lovingly soothes lungs and guts (Use only 1/2 oz. per quart jar or 1/2 cup)
Comfrey leaf (Symphytum officinale): heals, nourishes brain, bones, mucus surfaces, skin (**See note of caution at the bottom of this page.)
She also recommends and uses on occasion for specific reasons the following herbs.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Mullein stalk and leaf (Verbascum thapsus)
Raspberry leaf (Ideaus sp.)
Hawthornberry leaves and flowers (Crateagus sp.)
Elderberries or flowers (Sambucus canadensis)
Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Violet leaves (Viola sp.)
Plantain leaves (Plantago sp.)
Marshmallow root (Althea off.)
Slippery Elm bark (Ulmus fulva)
While the concept of Nourishing Herbal Infusions has been around for a while, they really are just now catching on, on a wider scale. So there are not a lot of studies on them in the research or medical communities. That is to be expected when there is not a lot of money to be made on them. However, I did find the nutritional information for the Nettles infusion from Susun Weed’s website. I dare you to read through this list of nutrients of Nettles and not be impressed!
- Nettle is a superior source of protein; 10 percent by weight.
- Nettle is a rich storehouse of readily-absorbable minerals, trace minerals, and micronutrients:
- calcium (1000 mg per quart of infusion)
- magnesium (300 mg per quart of infusion)
- potassium (600 mg per quart of infusion)
- zinc (1.5 mg per quart of infusion)
- selenium (.7 mg per quart of infusion)
- iron (15 mg per quart of infusion)
- manganese (2.6 mg per quart of infusion)
- plus chromium, cobalt, phosphorus, copper, sulfur, silicon, and tin.
- Nettle is super-charged with vitamins:
- Vitamin A (5000 IU per quart of infusion)
- Vitamin B complex, especially thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate
- Plus Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K
How to Make a Nourishing Herbal Infusion
Basically, you put 1 oz.–approximately 1 cup–of the dried herb in a quart jar, fill the jar with boiling water,…
…cover and let sit for four to eight hours. Strain, refrigerate and drink it throughout the day. Simple! I make mine in the evening before bed and set it on the counter all night. In the morning I put it in the frig and then around lunchtime, I strain it and drink it throughout the afternoon.
Flavorings for Your Nourishing Herbal Infusion!
I also add a pinch of mint to help in the taste of the infusion. Spearmint is my favorite, but most any flavorful mint would do. You could also add lemon, honey, cream or most any flavorful herb from your cupboard that you like. Experiment! You could even reheat your infusion (on the stove, not the microwave!) and drink it hot. Also, if you find that the infusion is a little strong tasting, you can add more water to it after infusing. Once I remove the herbs, there is more room in the quart jar and I often add more water to fill it up. This is also a great way to get your water drinking in for the day!
What Supplies are Needed
It’s really very basic. The only thing I had to buy to make these was a small strainer. I’ve collected more things because it just makes it easier. As shown in the photo below, I have a large jar that I keep my Nourishing Herbal Infusion mix in. I have a quart jar or jars for the infusions, a strainer, a tea kettle or pan for heating the water and then a large jar to drink my infusion out of. This green one here is from the Pioneer Woman collection at Wal-Mart. I have made infusions in my french press, too, but the strainer is easier to clean, so I usually just use that.
The best herbs I have gotten have been from Mountain Rose Herbs and Frontier. Be sure to get high-quality herbs. You will generally know if they are good quality if they are a fairly rich color–even when dried. You may have a source locally, too, and you then could buy in smaller quantities as you get started. Our local Health Food Coop gets their herbs from both Mountain Rose Herbs and Frontier, as well.
How Long Does It Last
Life can get busy and I have left a jar of infusion in my frig too long. That’s when I give my houseplants a super nutritious feeding with it! The infusion will last a few days in the refrigerator, but it’s best to drink it in the first two days.
My Current Nourishing Herbal Infusion Mix
My current mix is
- 1 part Nettles
- 1 part Oatstraw
- 1/2 part Linden Leaf/flower
- 1/2 part Hawthorn Leaf/Flower
- 1/4 part Red Clover Blossoms
- 1/4 part Red Raspberry Leaf
- 1/4 part Spearmint
Herbs are Nourishing!
We tend to think of herbs in two categories–one to flavor our food and the other as alternative medicine, but let’s not forget the category of nourishing herbs. These often are put into blends of teas for medicine or refreshment, but they are also nourishing–full of vitamins and minerals. By making Nourishing Herbal Infusions with these herbs, we can get many of the nutrients our body needs to stay healthy!
For More Information
Want more information on Nourishing Herbal Infusions? I recommend reading Rosalee de la Forêt’s articles beginning here. Susun Weed’s book, Healing Wise, also discusses her main five herbs, as does Susun’s site Nourishing Herbal Infusions. Also, watch the video below with Susun Weed explaining about Nourishing Herbal Infusions.
**Taking Comfrey internally is controversial in the herbal and scientific communities as addressed by Susun Weed in the above videos. Do your research and decide for yourself. I am not promoting it and I have not taken it myself yet. This is what Susun Weed has to say about it HERE: “Is comfrey safe for internal use? The roots of wild comfrey, Symphytum officinale, are known to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can cause venous liver congestion. Two neonatal deaths are ascribed to ingestion of comfrey root. The leaves of cultivated comfrey, Symphytum uplandica, do not contain these alkaloids and appear to be safe for all women, even pregnant and lactating women. Four generations of people living at the Henry Doubleday Research Center have eaten cooked comfrey leaves regularly, including during pregnancy and lactation, and no liver problems have been seen in this population. See: Awang DVC. Comfrey. Canadian Pharm Journal 1987: 101-4. Also see: Gladstar R.”The Comfrey Controversy.” Journal of the Northeast Herbalists Association. 1994″
You might also like my article, Weed You Should Let Grow in Your Garden.