Whole foods that are rich in minerals are often more effective than isolated mineral supplements.
Lunch Hour Lesson #42
Today I want to talk about a food that is one of the best sources of balanced minerals and trace minerals that you can find.
It is called nettle leaf, and sometimes is also referred to as stinging nettle, although don’t worry – if you buy the dried herb there’s no sting to it.
Speaking of minerals, having a good balance of all the different minerals in your diet is very important for many body functions, one of which is contracting and releasing muscles appropriately.
Have you ever had a leg or foot cramp? Or do you suffer cramping during your period? These could be indications that your mineral intake needs improvement. Even some heart conditions can be mineral related – the heart is, after all, a muscle that is contracting and releasing 24 hours a day to keep us alive.
I, as well as a few other members of my family, do suffer from painful leg cramps. Well, I should say that I used to, before I started making nettle infusions.
It is hard to find good food sources of minerals because most of the soil our food is grown in no longer has the diversity of nutrients that it used to. This is partly due to the practice of growing a single crop on a piece of land year after year. This and herbicides intended to sterilize the soil can dramatically reduce the nutritional content of most of our food.
But high-quality growers of nettle leaf will make sure that their soils are as mineral-rich as possible, and this herb uptakes and retains a lot of minerals.
Before I share how to make a nettle Infusion, I want to mention that it’s not just effective for cramping – that’s just what I have found it to be so useful for. But it also:
- is a wonderful source of folate – do you always enough leafy green vegetables? Nettle infusions can make up for a lot of that.
- increases energy and stamina and lowers stress by nourishing the adrenal glands
- strengthens bones and can improve bone density
- supports the kidneys and urinary tract
- has anti-histamine properties
- is safe for all ages and stages of life, including pregnancy and nursing
Give yourself the gift of doing nothing other than being present in the moment.
For these benefits and more, I recommend incorporating nettle leaf, made into an infusion, into your diet.
Now, what is it, really? An infusion is like a very potent tea, and is more effective than taking the herb in a capsule, because it uses a full ounce (or cup) of the herb to one quart of water.
Nettle especially benefits from being prepared as an infusion, because it takes a lot of the herb to show real benefits. You’ll get more bang for your buck this way than purchasing nettle leaf in tea bag form.
How to make a Nettle Infusion:
Step 1: Gather Supplies
- one pound bag of organic nettle leaf herb
- two 1 quart glass mason jars with screw-top lids
- a fine wire strainer
- wide-mouth funnel (optional)
Step 2: Make the Nettle Infusion
- Get out one of the 1 quart glass mason jars.
- Boil 1 quart of filtered water.
- Measure 1 cup of the dried herb, and pour it into the mason jar.
- Pour the hot water carefully over the herb and stir it gently.
- Cap the jar and let it sit for 6-8 hours on the counter.
- Strain the herb out into your second jar and save the liquid. This is your infusion. Compost or throw out the leaves.
- Store the infusion in the refrigerator and drink it over two days. Don’t let it sit longer than two days; just make a fresh batch.
- The infusion tastes mildly leafy; you can add fresh mint while brewing if desired.
Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite company from which to order loose herbs in bulk. I would recommend purchasing the North American Nettle Leaf for a mild and tasty infusion.
Lunch Hour Lessons with Allison
Watch this week’s Facebook LIVE – Lunch Hour Lesson #42: Nettle Infusions: Minerals for Leg Cramps and More. Each week I bring you a topic related to nutrition and health that I think is interesting, and give you a lesson to take with you into your daily life. Watch Live on Facebook, Wednesdays, 12:30pm PST!
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