Friday, March 9, 2012

Calcium and Iron Herbal Tea for Pregnancy

At the end of my first trimester, I'm still relying on foods, not excess supplementation, to provide the vast majority of the nutrition I need for my pregnancy. My herbal infusions are taking center stage as the task of eating becomes less focused on nutritional data per bite, and more focused on what will stay in my stomach.

Minerals during pregnancy are just as critical as they are at any other stage of life. So many women rush out and buy prenatal supplements when they become pregnant, but this can be a big mistake. The health of the fetus rests critically on the months preceding conception, and by the time most women discover they are pregnant, so many irreversible decisions and developments in the life of the fetus have already been made.

Since dairy is a mucous forming, lymph congesting, acidifying precursor to bone loss, it's certainly not right for a truly healthy and natural pregnancy. In addition, consumption of dairy is now inextricably linked to type 1 diabetes and cancer due to IGF-1 found in this very profitable, yet nutritionally lacking, group of food. An easy to read and very detailed, researched report can be found here. This is certainly not the life altering health challenge we as parents want to give our children.

As pregnant women, we must focus on the green world for bio-available nutrients, and fortunately critical minerals like calcium and iron are found here in unlimited amounts, as well as phytonutrients such as chlorophyll that can only be found in edible plants. Minerals ingested from dark, leafy greens and green edible plants like weeds and other herbs are assimilated efficiently and easily by the human body, and are safe as both foods and nutritional supplements. On your next visit to your herbalist, midwife, or other natural health practitioner, share with her your interest in obtaining your daily nutrient needs from green plants.

Today, I'm making the following, and sharing it with my children. The best part about drinking the green infusions from edible plants is that you can enjoy them with your entire family in age appropriate doses. I add a few drops of Stevia to the portions I give my children.

Multi-Mineral Calcium and Iron Infusion

1 part Yellow Dock Root
3 parts Nettle Leaf
2 parts Oatstraw
1 part Red Raspberry leaf
1 part Peppermint (unless breastfeeding- will decrease milk supply)

Soak the Yellow Dock in 1 quart + 1/3 cup COLD water in a saucepan as long as possible. I like to leave it overnight, but half and hour is also fine if you can't spare the time. Try to make your infusions the night before if they include roots. If your infusion does not include roots, just boil the water plain.

Next, bring the water and the Yellow Dock to a boil and immediately reduce it to a low simmer for 15-20 minutes tightly covered. While the water boils, add your remaining herbs to a large glass quart jar. I like to use about half an ounce. This is a nutritive tonic infusion, similar to a broth, and as such you can drink plenty because these herbs double as edible foods.

When the timer goes off, pour the entire contents of the saucepan into the quart jar. Since you'll have lost a little water to steam, you should have just about 1 quart now, and enough to fill the jar with herbs to the rim. This is why I suggest adding a little extra water. With the roots and leaves brewing together, put the lid on immediately and leave for at least 2 hours, preferably 3-4. This makes enough infusion for one person to drink throughout the day by the cup.

There are plenty of other herbs I've left out here, such as Alfalfa and Red Clover, but I don't like to use too many herbs in an infusion. 2-3 is plenty, and single herb infusions are extremely powerful themselves, so use what you can source locally, and wildcrafted is best. Just drinking a strong nettle infusion will give you a huge boost of chlorophyll, phytonutrients, minerals, as well as lend support to many areas of the human body.

Other advantages to this blend are it's abilities to calm my children down gently (Oatstraw), it's liver supporting action (Yellow Dock and Nettle), it's tonifying action on my currently stressed out uterus (Red Raspberry Leaf), and it's tummy soothing effects on nausea and indigestion (Peppermint). This brew comes out extremely dark, like a deep amber/black due to the color of yellow dock and the extremely high concentration of chlorophyll in the nettle leaf. Adding 5 drops of stevia to the entire quart will neutralize any unfamiliar "earthy" flavors, until your tongue remembers the taste of real food :)


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