nettle & raspberry leaf infusion
In 2015, I went off the contraceptive pill after ten years. I had a really hard time with the transition. Some people come off it with ease and others have such a bad experience they immediately reach for the script again, which I was tempted to do, but fortunately sheer determination stopped me. The withdrawal symptoms alone are reason enough for me to believe it is never something I want in my body again. In desperation I looked everywhere for help, and purchased a copy of Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Healing for Women in the hope that it would save me from being a perpetually angry, pizza-faced, balding woman that I did not even recognise in the mirror (yes I am exaggerating, but only slightly).
I never made anything from the book because ultimately it all seemed too confusing, as most of the recipes had 8-10 different herbs and the methods seemed fiddly and equipment heavy (no thanks). The infusions however, caught my eye. Add herbs to water. Leave overnight. Strain. That I could handle. But the number of herbs was still enough to put me off. So the idea left me until I read about this simpler infusion on Free and Native a year or so later.
Nettle and raspberry leaf are both seriously nutrient rich herbs and drinking this infusion honestly feels as though you're pouring the minerals right into your cells. To be perfectly honest my favourite thing about this infusion is what it does to my hair. Its growing like crazy (my hair usually grows very, very slowly) and is the thickest it has ever been. Its known as a hair, skin and nails tonic, and I would drink it for that reason alone. Cosmetic reasons aside:
Nettle is amazingly rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, especially the critical trace minerals: anti-cancer selenium, immune-enhancing sulphur, memory-enhancing zinc, diabetes-chasing chromium, and bone-building boron. A quart of nettle infusion contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, 10% protein, and lavish amounts of most B vitamins.
Nettle builds energy from the inside out by nourishing the adrenals, which I think of as "energy central." Nettle smoothly and persistently carries optimum nourishment to every cell in the body, and brings a smile to your face. Because the minerals in nettle infusion are polarized to the blood, they are literally magnetized into the blood stream without needing to be digested. Drinking a glass of nettle infusion pumps so much nourishment into the blood; you'll feel invigorated in just a few days.
Regular use of stinging nettle not only increases energy, it brings a shine and swing to the hair, strengthens fingernails, clears and firms skin, restores elasticity to blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, counters incontinence, improves digestion, reduces cancer risk, and strengthens the lungs.
Why Raspberry Leaf?
The calcium, iron, and magnesium found in raspberry leaf are often the very nutrients that women’s bodies need. Other vitamins and minerals present in raspberry leaves include vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3 as well as vitamins C and E, manganese, niacin, and selenium.
the high iron available from raspberry can assist those dealing with anemia and is especially useful when combined with nettle to help with the depleted energy that so often accompanies anemia The high amounts of manganese in raspberry leaf may be used by the body to produce healthy connective tissue, such as bone matrix and cartilage.
How to make nettle & raspberry leaf infusion
Measure out 23 grams of dried herb (just under a cup) - I put 3/4 nettle, 1/4 raspberry leaf
Put the dried herb into a litre jar and fill to the top with the boiling water. Stir with a wooden spoon and add water until the jar is full to the top. Cover, and set aside to brew for at least four hours, or overnight
Strain and squeeze the liquid out of the herb. Store it in the fridge and use within 24hours. Anything you don't use, feed to your house plants!
Often recommended to drink iced though I prefer it diluted with boiling water in the winter.
Where to buy herbs
Southern Light Herbs are a really good source I have found in health food stores in Sydney. They're a little on the pricier side though, so when I wanted to buy bulk (which you need to do if you're making the full strength infusion) I bought from iherb. The quality doesn't seem as good and its not grown in Australia. It's fine for now but I will reassess when I run out. It's important the herbs are organic. If you have a better source, please share!
I actually tried to start drinking this infusion a few times. I gave up because at first it was way too strong for me. It made me feel a little nauseous. So a couple of months ago I started drinking a normal herbal tea sized amount. A tablespoon of each herb plus a few goji berries (as suggested on free & native) steeped for half an hour or so. Fairly quickly my body was craving it to be much stronger and over about six weeks I slowly stepped it up to the full amount. You won't see any of the benefits if you're only drinking it as a tea strength forever, but it worked perfectly for me to slowly introduce in this way.
Do you have any experience with drinking infusions? I'm looking forward to trying hibiscus in the summer too! x