Herbal Supplements and Micro-nutrients

Micro-nutrients are very important for our overall health, and by incorporating certain herbs into our daily diets we can receive many benefits.

We all have heard about how our processed food of today is bad for us, but what seems to be missing in the conversation is what exactly these foods lack and why we need them. If you look at this chart comparing the average diet in the US in 1970 and 2010, you will some interesting shifts.


The amount of grains and fats and oils (The fats and oils section include butter, cream, and other diary fats) have skyrocketed. From the old culture of “everything in moderation” to “the bigger the better” of today, we can see why physical and mental health issues are much more prevalent. Our society and culture definitely play a role. Today’s modern world is GO GO GO. We are conditioned to feel bad if we are not always piling on more things to get done. Fast food and delivery make it easier to add more to your schedule. There’s no need (or time) to cook! But what are we missing when we grab that Big Mac or that frozen pizza?
Micro-nutrients.


Micro-nutrients are small molecules (as compared to the large molecules of Macro-nutrients, IE. fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) that we need is lesser quantity but are still important and essential to our health, such as vitamins and minerals. Our bodies cannot manufacture all of the micro-nutrients so we have to get them from food, with the exception of Vitamin D (which we can produce from exposure to the sun) and Vitamin K2 (which can be produced through intestinal bacteria). Both can also be obtained through consuming foods. Our bodies also cannot make Omega Fatty Acids and Essential Amino Acids.


There was a study done a few years ago with children ages 5-8 to measure the affects of micro-nutrients on immunity and physical growth. 60 kids were chosen, half were given an herbal supplement and the other half a placebo. Over a period of 6 months, they watched and measured the children. The results were quite interesting. The ones who took the herbal supplement grew taller, gained more healthy weight, the occurrence of respiratory diseases and other illness were minimal, had a high appetite, and they performed better on IQ tests. While this is only one small study, we can see the correlation between micro-nutrients and growth. Especially in developing children, getting the right nutrients is vital.

So what plants can we eat to supplement what is missing in our diets? Below is a list of common vitamins, what they do for us, and some plant allies.

Common Vitamins:
Vitamin A (Retinoid)– dandelion greens, mamjoram, basil, ginger, lemon grass, cayenne, and burdock root. Vitamin A is essential for your eyes, immune system, and cell growth.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)– alfalfa, cayenne, chamomile, catnip, chickweed, dandelion, fenugreek, nettle, hops, bladder wrack, burdock root, red clover, sage and yarrow. Vitamin B1 helps to prevent complications with the nervous system, brain, heart, stomach, muscles, and intestines. It also helps regulate the flow of electrolytes in and out of your muscles.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)– cayenne, alfalfa, chickweed dandelion eyebright, chamomile, fennel, hops, ginseng, fenugreek, nettle, bladder wrack, burdock root, catnip, peppermint, parsley, oat straw, raspberry leaf, red clover, rose hips and sage. Vitamin B2 converts carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy, protects your skin and eyes, and is responsible for your nervous system.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)– burdock root, alfalfa, fennel, ginger, catnip, chickweed, eyebright, cayenne, peppermint, raspberry leaf, chamomile, hops, parsley, oat straw, nettle, red clover and slippery elm. Vitamin B3 sustains your mood, boots your serotonin, and helps your digestive system.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)– Black catnip, eye bright and red clover. Vitamin B5 synthesizes cholesterol and keeps the metabolic system in check.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)– alfalfa, straw, oat, catnip, berries and licorice. Vitamin B6 is important for brain development because it helps synthesize dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin. It also supports he heart and immune system.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)– alfalfa, dandelion, hawthorn berries, hops, bladder wrack, and white oak bark. Vitamin B12 is essential in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the product of DNA.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)– Nettles, Lobelia, Peppermint, Mustard Greens, Yarrow and Thyme.
Vitamin C is an oxidant, so that means it helps to protect our cells against the affects of free radicals (molecules produced when you are exposed to radiation, extreme chemicals, and smoke). It is essential for your immune system and helps the body absorb iron.

Vitamin D– alfalfa, carrot, eyebright, fenugreek, grains, mullein, nettle, chickweed, dandelion, horsetail, lemongrass, lettuce, oatmeal and parsley. Vitamin D regulates your mood, increases your absorption of calcium and magnesium, and is critical for bone health.

Other top common kitchen herbs that are micro-nutrient rich include:
Iron: Thyme
Zinc: Oregano
Potassium: Dill
Copper: Thyme
Fiber: Rosemary
Magnesium: Oregano
Phosphorus: Chervil
Manganese: Thyme
Protein: Thyme

As you can see, there are many plants that offer a wide range of different essential micro-nutrients It’s not hard to work them into your diet, you just have to get creative.
A few ways to utilize these plants are:
Infusion with water
Teas
Spice Blends
Marinades
Infused Honeys and Oils

**This is not the time to make a tincture because alcohol does not extract vitamins and minerals.

In conclusion, micro-nutrients are very import to our overall health. They can be easily integrated and customized with spice blends, teas, and infusions.By Adding these herbs to our every day cooking, we can receive the essential nutrients and feel our best, along with always building our relationship with our plant friends.

Sources:

academia.edu/13205424/Micronutrients_and_herbal_formulation_supplement_in_school_children

pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/13/whats-on-your-table-how-americas-diet-has-changed-over-the-decades/

yourindoorherbs.com/the-super-culinary-herbs-highest-in-vitamins-minerals/

***All information and content on this site is presented for educational and entertainment purposes only. Nothing presented on this site is intended to constitute or be used as a substitute for advise from a licensed medical professional and should not be taken as such. If you are experiencing any medical emergency including possible envenomation, please contact your local emergency services immediately. Always consult with your primary care physician before beginning any herbal treatment.***

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