Are you a fan of drinking herbal teas for your health, but annoyed at the packaging waste that comes with them? An array of packaged teas line part of one aisle in every supermarket, but at what cost?
It’s great when companies are dedicated to using recyclable metal or cardboard to package their teas, but not everyone recycles or repurposes containers like metal tea tins into a hip toothbrush holder. When it comes to choosing a product, it helps to ask questions about the company such as: What is it costing the environment to create these packaging materials and ship these products? Which tea companies are adding preservatives to extend a product’s shelf life? What other unnecessary ingredients are formulated into a recipe that may not be beneficial to health? Where are these packaging materials going when thrown away and how is that impacting the environment, the soil, and future food grown there?
Purchasing organic loose leaf in bulk is a great first step toward minimizing packaging waste. Plus, using organic loose leaf herbs as a nourishing infusion is an amazing way to support hormonal health! More tips at the bottom on how loose leaf herbs bought in bulk are eco-friendly.
What Are Nourishing Infusions?
A nourishing (a.k.a.herbal or tonic) infusion is similar to tea. The main difference is that herbal tea is made with a small quantity of herbs that steep for only 10-15 minutes; where as herbal infusions are made with a larger quantity of herbs that steep for 4-10 hours. The amount of nutrients in a cup of an infusion is several times higher than in a cup of tea.
Nourishing herbs (also called tonic herbs) are a classification of herbs that strengthen, enhance, and tonify the body to build up health over time. Nourishing herbs come from plants that are considered a super food to many. All plants in this classification have been found to meet certain specifications for over many centuries that qualify them as both nourishing and safe to drink on a daily basis long term.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on nourishing herbs that are great for supporting female hormonal health and you'll get to see photos of just how easy it is to make your own! I founded Red Coral Fertility in 2013 which has expanded into JustinaThompson.com. These are pictures from my very own kitchen!
Top 3 Nourishing Herbs for Maintaining Hormonal Health
- Organic Red raspberry leaf*: Has been used traditionally to help improve nutritional levels, encourage normal menstrual flow, support normal tissue formation within the body, support normal iron levels in the body, slow occasional excessive menstrual flow, strengthen the uterus in preparation for pregnancy and labor, aid in recovery during postpartum period, and support healthy breast milk production in lactating mothers.
- Organic Nettle leaf*: Has been used traditionally to help support healthy iron levels, (balanced iron levels are necessary to balance menstrual bleeding), support proper liver function, support hormonal balance and to support energy levels.
- Organic Red Clover*: Has been used traditionally as a blood purifying herb to support detoxification of environmental pollutants, support skin conditions such as cyclic acne, to help improve circulatory function, to improve liver function thus hormonal balance, and is high in calcium and magnesium which are important for reducing menstrual cramps.
Additional Flavor + Fertility Enhancers
Peppermint Leaf: Known to support digestion and adds tastiness to infusion.
Sprinkle desired amount into infusion with other loose leaf herbs.
Fresh Lemon: Known to support digestion and adds tastiness to infusion.
Squeeze some fresh lemon juice into infusion before drinking, add to taste.
Royal Jelly : This is a special source of honey that may be beneficial to increasing libido, supporting egg and sperm health, reducing inflammation, boosting immune system and certainly adds tastiness to infusion.
Add to cup of infusion before drinking, add to taste.
*While these nourishing herbs are found to be safe taken in an infusion (including women who are trying to conceive and women who are pregnant), I recommend consulting with your health practitioner or certified herbalist to understand what is best for you. For example, a woman who is trying to conceive should avoid red raspberry leaf after ovulation, in her luteal phase, and then start again with the onset of menstruation. Another example is that red clover is a phytoestrogen in the legume family and may not be ideal for every woman based on her sensitivity to inflammation and the amount of exposure to synthetic estrogens.
Steps for Making a Nourishing Infusion
1. Place one cup of dried herb in a quart size mason jar. If combining herbs, the total will equal one cup. For example: 1/3 Red Raspberry Leaf, 1/3 Nettle Leaf, 1/3 Red Clover, plus a couple of Tablespoons of Peppermint leaf for flavor. Because these herbs are nutritive and water soluble, it is not necessary to measure to an exact science. General measurement is practical.
2. Fill the jar to the top with boiling water (No worries, the glass won’t break unless it was just taken from the freezer).
3. Put the lid on tightly and steep for 4-10 hours. (Letting it steep overnight in the fridge is super easy.)
4. Strain into a cup, storing the rest in the refrigerator to slow spoil. (The infusion can spoil at about 36 hours after being made).
5. Drink 2-4 cups a day. Can drink cold, room temp, or can be warmed back up on the stove.
6. If the infusion sat longer than 36 hours in refrigeration, then use whatever remains to water house plants, or pour over your hair after conditioning as a final rinse.
Green Your Spring Challenge:
I mentioned the pros for hormones when drinking nourishing infusions over herbal teas above.
Now, here are pros that loose leaf infusions have on the environment!
Pros for Environment
- Loose leaf instead of packaged teas = less waste!
- Buying organic loose leaf herbs in bulk = less waste!
- Buying organic = no pesticides in soil or in you!
- Growing in your garden = less mileage waste, no pesticides!
How to Find Nourishing Herbs?
Choose organic herbs or wildcrafted herbs (that have been gathered by a certified herbalist ) whenever possible. Most of these herbs can be found at your local health food store. Also, depend on your city, search for a local herbalist or apothecary shop that grows, gathers and sells these organically.
If you cannot find herbs locally, other options are:
3. Wise Woman Herbal for The Childbearing Year, Susun Weed, Ash Tree Publishing, 1986
4. Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Tori Hudson, ND, McGraw Hill, 2008
5. All the photos are taken by me. JustinaThompson.com was formally RedCoralFertiltiy.com prior to expanding in 2015.