Saturday, August 4, 2007

Herbal Infusions

Sounds like something you'd mainline, huh? Actually, an herbal infusion is a large amount of dried herbs brewed for a long time. Herbal infusions are chock full of minerals and phytoestrogens, especially healthful for women coming into their menopausal years. I first learned of herbal infusions from the book, "New Menopausal Years, The Wise Woman Way", by Susan Weed. (see link below) To make an herbal infusion take one ounce of dried leaves/flowers of the herb, place in a quart jar of boiling hot water with a tight lid, let brew for 4-8 hours, strain, refigerate and drink within 48 hours. A word about infusions is in order here: you don't drink them for the taste. Although the oatstraw is not bad tasting, the others will take some getting used to, but I find that they feel so good to my system that I enjoy drinking them anyway. The four main herbs that Susan recommends are stinging nettle, oatstraw, red clover and comfrey. The following information is directly from Susan's excellent website,

Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) builds energy, strengthens the adrenals, and is said to restore youthful flexibility to blood vessels. A cup of nettle infusion contains 500 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, and zinc. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, D, E, and K. For flexible bones, a healthy heart, thick hair, beautiful skin, and lots of energy, make friends with sister stinging nettle. It may make you feel so good you'll jump up and exercise.

Oatstraw (Avena sativa) 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. Oatstraw is best known however for its ability to enhance libido and mellow the mood. Do be careful whom you share it with, or you may find yourself sowing some wild oats. In Auryuvedic medicine, oatstraw is considered the finest of all longevity tonics.

Red clover (Trifolium pratense) is better in every way than its cousin soy. It contains four phytoestrogens; soy has only one (isoflavone). Red clover infusion has ten times more phytoestrogens than soy "milk," fewer calories, more calcium, and no added sugars. Red clover is the world's leading anti-cancer herb; soy isoflavone encourages the growth of breast cancer cells in the lab. Red clover improves the memory; Japanese men who ate tofu twice a week doubled their risk of Alzheimer's disease. Soy beverage can contain up to 1000 times more aluminum than milk, according to Sally Fallon, lipid researcher and fat specialist. She believes that "the highly processed soy foods of today are perpetuating . . . nutrient deficiencies. . . ."

(Symphytum) leaf is free of the compounds (PAs) found in the root that can damage the liver. I have used comfrey leaf infusion regularly for decades with no liver problems, ditto for the group of people at the Henry Doubleday Research Foundation who have eaten cooked comfrey leaves as a vegetable for four generations. Comfrey is also known as "knitbone," and no better ally for the woman with thin bones can be found. And, don't forget, comfrey contains special proteins used in the formation of short-term memory cells. Its soothing mucilage adds flexibility to joints, eyes, vagina, and lungs.

I'll be writing more about herbal infusions as I blog about some of the ongoing health issues I deal with. I've been very lucky and so far the only life-threatening problem I have is alcoholism/addiction, the others are mostly bothersome, but can be very uncomfortable. I'm talking about insomnia, restless legs syndrome, fybromyalgia, sinus problems and tendonitis/sciatica.

I find that the more I care for myself, especially using the abundance provided by the earth, the better I feel, mentally, physically and spiritually, and the more likely I am to remain on a sober path.

Now I'm off to make a stinging nettle infusion and see if I can't get these legs of mine to settle down!


claud said...

I keep forgetting about oatstraw. I used to get Avina Setiva in a tincture when I was still drinking and I know it's something that is helpful to me.

Monday I'm off to the health food store for some oatstraw. I bet it's not it?

Angela said...

You're right - it's cheap, they're all cheap, cheap, cheap. Especially compared to prescription drugs. Love that oatstraw for the calming effect.