What is a Mineral Infusion?
Mineral infusions are basically a very strong tea. They steep longer than tea and they are rich sources of minerals and trace elements that your body can easily absorb.
Mineral infusions use a large amount of plant material and a long steeping time. I recommend people steep their infusions overnight to provide an 8-12 hour infusion. Allowing this time for the minerals and nutrients to be extracted turns your tea in a medicine.
Mineral infusions are one of the most effective ways to supply your body with the vital nutrients we require. They are easy to make and a wonderful way to use medicinal and wild plants as food.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. – Hippocrates
The term INFUSION has become quite a buzz word that incites thoughts of complicated extractions almost magically added to drinks, foods and products. In reality infusions are quite simple and if you have ever made a cup of tea then you have already made an ‘infusion’.
An infusion is an extraction method used by herbalists. We extract plant properties into a variety of menstrums including; alcohol, vinegar, oil and water. In this article I going to talk about how to extract the mineral and trace elements of nourishing wild and medicinal plants into water. Herbalists call these extractions; mineral infusions.
Who would benefit from Mineral Infusions?
So many people would benefit from drinking mineral infusions daily. They are a safe and easy way to enrich your body with nourishment that is easily absorbed.
- People suffering from depression and anxiety
- People who feel run down or burnt out
- People living with auto-immune conditions
- People who want to improve their health through diet
- People who have iron deficiency
- people who have mineral deficiency
- elderly people who are losing energy
- people living with chronic fatigue syndrome
- people living with fibromyalgia
- people who are undergoing cancer therapy
- people with allergies
- people with sleep apnia
- people with diabetes
- people with anorexia
- Pregnant women in their second and third trimester
- Breast feeding mothers
- people with weakened immune systems
- people with autoimmune disorders
- people with digestive issues such as: IBS, GERD, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea
Mineral infusions will make your nails grow stronger, you hair more shiny and strong, your skin will improve in its elasticity and vibrancy and you feel more energy.
“In the human body, minerals act as catalysts, participating in enzyme systems that allow the transformation of the food and air we breathe into energy, vibrant health, and consciousness.”
– Paul Bergner, The Healing Power of Minerals.
How to prepare your Mineral Infusion
I find it easiest to make my mineral infusion in the evening. This gives plenty of time for the water to extract the minerals and vital nutrients.
Tools and Ingredients
- a tea pot or a mason jar, or a French press coffee maker or a coffee maker.
- a lid or plate to place over your infusion to keep any aromatic volatile oils from escaping.
- a small strainer. I use a stainless steel strainer. You could also use a piece of cheese cloth.
- honey or maple syrup is optional.
- boiled water
- nutrient rich herbs and flavourful herbs
Use 1-2 generous and heaping teaspoons of dry herbs for every 8 ounces of water.
If you are making one litre/quart of mineral infusion use 3-4 generous and heaping Tablespoons to one liter of water. Remember that your flavour herbs will only be ‘a pinch’ compared to the amount of nutrient herbs you use.
If you are using fresh plant material, chop it up and loosely fill your jar or tea pot and then fill with boiled water.
Place your dry herbs in your steeping vessel of choice. If you are using a coffee maker you will place your herbs in the pot rather than the coffee basket.
Bring your water to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over your herbs. If using a glass mason jar I usually let the water stand for a minute before I pour it into my jar. If you are using a coffee pot, you can pour the boiled water over the herbs and allow it steep while keeping the pot hot on the hot plate.
Place a lid loosely over your jar, tea pot or coffee pot.
Add your honey or maple syrup if you are using it and gently stir.
Place your infusion in a safe place where it can sit and soak all night long. If you are lucky enough to have a wood stove or cook stove, you can leave your infusion sitting on a warm stove.
In the morning, strain your mineral infusion into another jar or a tea pot, or a drinking vessel. If you would like to warm your tea up, it is fine to do so. The minerals in your infusion cannot be destroyed by heat.
I tell people to think of this ‘tea’ as their medicine for the day. The goal is to drink as much of that infusion throughout your day.
Drinking herbal infusions of nutrient rich plants is a practice I can’t recommend enough.
Best Herbs for Making Mineral Infusions
A mineral infusion formula includes one or more rich sources of nutrients plus a catalyst or flavouring herb.
Choose one or more herbs from the list of nutrient rich herbs and one or two herbs from the flavourful herbs list.
I encourage you to trust your own instincts when it comes to this part. I tend to work with a pinch of this and a handful of that. Have fun and be creative, but if you need a guideline use this ratio to start. If the flavour is too mild or too strong, increase or decrease the flavour herbs to suit yourself.
Use 2 parts nutrient rich herbs to a quarter part (or more) flavour herbs.
For example, if you are using two tablespoons of dry nettle, you will add a teaspoon of flavour herbs. You can experiment to find the right ratio for you.You can also buy Sweet Song’s Mineral Infusion here.
Nutrient Rich Herbs:
Stinging Nettle – Nettles are incredible medicinal food simply because of the nutrient content. Nettles are strengthening and tonic to all cells, organs and systems in the body. Nettle is also deeply cleansing on a metabolic level which makes them great for people with edema. Nettles can be quite drying. If you live in a dry, arid climate or if you have a dry constitution, add a small amount of violet leaf and flower or marshmallow root to moisten and balance this effect.
Oat straw- Always include Oat Straw in your mineral infusions. The medicine of Oat Straw comes from its minerals that nourish our nerves. Oat Straw is quite neutral in terms of it’s medicinal effects making it safe for just about anyone to use daily.
Marshmallow Root – One of my favourite medicinal herbs is Marshmallow. This is where our modern confection comes from. The roots of marshmallow are full of mucilagnous goodness which coats and soothes tissues. I tout this herb as being the most soothing plant in the entire kingdom. Much of marshmallows medicine comes from it’s nourishing qualities. Use a small amount in your mineral infusions to add some ‘soothing’ to your cup as well as to moisten any drying herbs like nettle or red raspberry leaf.
Red Raspberry Leaf – Beautiful raspberry leaf, is so dense in nutrients it is renowned as a pregnancy tonic. Perfect for women in their second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Raspberry leaf is also well suited to anyone with digestive issues such as heartburn, gastral reflux, leaky gut syndrome, IBS, diarrhea etc. Raspberry leaf is even more drying than nettle leaf. Add marshmallow root to your brew to balance the astringent dryness.
Burdock root – An excellent food and a great source of prebiotics (food for the healthy bacteria in your gut). Burdock root is particularly well suited for people with chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and allergic reactions which manifest on the skin. Burdock is also renowned as an ingredient in the famous ESIAC tea and is an excellent food/herb for people with cancer. Because burdock is a root it is best burdock to prepare it as a decoction. Used in a mineral infusion you will still receive strong nutrition from burdock root.
Violet Leaf and Flower – Often over-looked for tea is the wild or cultivated viola. I grow Viola tricolour in my garden and constantly harvest the blooms. I set them in a little basket out of the light where they dry so easily. They are a wonderful addition to an infusion; rich in mucilage, nutrients as well as being cleansing to the lymph. Violets are often used in herbal cancer therapy. To learn more about violets, please read Michigan Herbalist jim mcdonald’s exceptional writing on this beautiful medicinal flower.
These herbs will be added to your mineral infusion for flavour but they all have their own medicinal qualities and will add their own unique properties to your infusion.
Flavorful herbs are aromatic and when you add them to a mineral infusion, they act as catalysts which strengthen the impact of the infusion by rapidly increasing the exchange of nutrients and wastes on a cellular level. Their flavors are truly wonderful and much needed when drinking herbal greens.
Drinking pure nettle infusions, while being very healthy would taste somewhat like drinking a tea made of spinach. In order to enjoy the infusions enough to drink them daily you want to find a flavour that suits your taste and that offers you some personal health benefits as well. Adding a flavour of your choice is a great way to personalize your infusion. Find space to include these wonderful, fragrant spices in your herbal pantry to add to your infusions. Experiment to find the best choice for you and your familu.
Peppermint– Surprisingly full of nutrition as well as being a stimulating aromatic herb, peppermint leaf will strengthen the effects of your infusions as well as providing a wonderful flavour. If peppermint is too strong for you and you like the mint flavour try using spearmint instead.
Fennel Seed– another lovely aromatic herb, fennel offers a great flavour, and helps to settle digestive complaints. I add fennel seed to my mineral infusions most of the time.
Ginger root – pungent and aromatic, ginger will warm you up and will help settle digestive complaints as well as nausea. Dry ginger is much spicier than fresh ginger so if you like to add a bit of spice and stronger heat to your infusion use dry ginger root. If you want the ginger flavour and the digestive aid ginger gives, use fresh sliced and chopped ginger root. Ginger warms the digestive fire and is a great herb for people who tend to feel cold and who have a slow metabolism.
Cinnamon – contraindicated for use in pregnancy and diabetes in large, consistent amounts. Cinnamon is wonderfully warming and is great for people with slower metabolisms and digestive complaints. Use the ‘cassia’ variety if you are using it regularly. Cinnamon is helpful for people who tend to feel cold. Also helpful for chronic yeast infections and to lower blood glucose levels. (Rosalee de la Foret Cinnamon Health Benefits)
Spearmint – Milder than peppermint but similar in action, spearmint is a great choice for children and nursing mothers.
Lemon Balm – Calming and relaxing, lemon balm is a great choice for anyone who tends to get an upset stomach when they feel nervous. Its lemon flavour is lovely especially when used fresh. If you are buying dry lemon balm, be sure it is coming from a reputable source. You can tell this by the smell and flavour of your lemon balm.
Making mineral infusions is a practice worth cultivating. Thinking of food as medicine is especially important in today’s world of modern agriculture which leaves our vegetables and fruits lacking the nutrients our bodies need. Try supplementing with nutrient rich herbs as mineral infusions.
You can visit your local Herb Store, health food store or order herbs online.