Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nourishing Herbal Infusions

Much to the curiosity of my husband and most other people, I enjoy silence. Most of the time I drive in silence, if I am home alone I will work in silence, I workout in silence, etc... I think a lot and never seem to run out of things to think about. Especially when I am working out or studying I need silence to focus. Also, my part time job is cleaning houses and for the last 2 years I have cleaned in silence. But, eventually I got tired of thinking to myself all the time and found myself wanting to listen to something. 

My solution became podcasts! I have subscribed to several free channels that have great information about organic farming, herbalism, and traditional food preparation and it has been such an encouragement to hear their interviews and stories. I am thrilled to have found a way to incorporate learning about what I am passionate about into my current job. 

Along that note, several podcasts I have listened to recently discussed nourishing herbal infusions. Susan Weed is an herbalist and big proponent of herbal infusions and has a whole page on her website devoted to talking about them. Basically they are made from a large amount of herb placed in a jar with boiling water and left to steep overnight. The herbs are strained out and the resulting liquid is filled with 
soluble vitamins, minerals, and protein.

 I ordered my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs. I had been planning an order for the last six months and when I purchased coconut oil and alkanet root for our makeup day I got the chance to order everything else on my list. 

The herbs I am using are Nettle and Oatstraw.

Susan Weed's instructions say to use 1 oz (1 cup) of herb per quart of water. I really enjoy the taste and I wanted my herbs to last a littler longer, so I normally use between 1/2 to 2/3 cup dried herb per quart. 

I measure the herb into the jar and fill it with boiling water. Most of the time I try to do it sometime before dinner so it has cooled off enough to put in the fridge before we go to bed. Then in the morning I strain out the liquid and we drink it with breakfast. 

Here is what it looks like the next morning. I forgot to get a picture of it in our glasses. The nettle infusion gets really dark and tastes pretty earthy so I add in some dried peppermint leaf. 

Taken from Susan Weed's website, "Nettle rebuilds the adrenals and the kidneys, keeps the blood vessels flexible, shines up the hair, improves skin tone, nourishes the immune system, and moderates or eliminates most allergies." 

I have been giving it to Chris to help with his allergies. We have both noticed that his allergies are noticeably better than they have been the last two years. 

We drink nettle infusion every other day and on alternating days we drink oatstraw infusion. It is prepared the same way. 

Also taken from Susan Weed's website, "Oatstraw reduces high cholesterol, increases libido, and strengthens the nerves. A cup of oatstraw infusion contains more than 300 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of many other minerals. Its steroidal saponins nourish the pancreas and liver, improving digestion and stabilizing moods."

We have been drinking nourishing herbal infusions for about 2 months now and I am loving it! I am almost out of my herbs so I made another order from Mountain Rose Herbs. I am going to be adding infusions of Red Raspberry Leaf (for regulating cycle/reducing symptoms of PMS) and Comfrey (for joint, bone, and skin health). It is like my body recognizes that I am taking in something truly nourishing and I look forward to my glass of infusion every morning! 

In regards to their effectiveness, the herbs that I am using for my infusions are gentle nourishers so their effect increases over time with consistent use.  I expect it to take between 4-6 months to really notice a difference. However, something big that I have noticed in the last 2 months is a decrease in cravings for unhealthy foods. Also, I find I am a lot less hungry in between meals and I have consistent energy throughout the day. I look forward to other improvements in health as I nourish my body with the nutrients and minerals it needs for maintaining health.

I know I experiment with a lot of things. Some of the them fizzle out because I can't commit. However, I feel that I can easily incorporate these infusions into my daily routine. I find this much easier than a daily green smoothie or green juice to get my morning nutrients, and much more enjoyable than a supplement. I plan to continue this indefinitely and hopefully one day in the future I will even be able to grow and harvest my own herbs for my herbal infusions :)! 

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