A Few Sources of Iron

June 19th, 2009 § 3 comments § permalink

Chickweed - Stellaria media
Chickweed – Stellaria media

I am back from vacation and excited to see that Duluth has thought about entering into summer. Yesterday and today it was in the mid 50′s. Not too bad, but not as warm and sunny as I’d like. My seedlings are doing well; they are strong although they are still tiny. They need some solar energy! I am especially excited for Chinese scullcap, African marigolds and spilanthes.

Over the past two weeks I have been putting in a conscious effort to get enough iron, mostly through diet. The dizziness subsided the last two weeks until this afternoon, when I stood up and became really dizzy after being stooped over during an hour long weeding session. As a reminder, I decided to investigate sources of iron a bit more just to be sure.

The following sources of iron (mg per 100 grams) is taken from Ruth Trickey, page 250 of Woman, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle.

  • Animal – eggs 2, beef 3.4, lamb 2.7, pork 1.3, dark chicken 1.9, light chicken .6, cod .4, sardines 2.4, mussels 7.7, oysters 6
  • Grain – wheatgerm 10, wheat bran 12.9, whole wheat flour 4, oatmeal 4.1, soy flour 9 white bread 1.7, whole wheat bread 2.5
  • Legumes – green beans 2.5, lentils 2.4, peas 1.2
  • Vegetables – broccoli 1, leeks 2, lettuce .9, mushrooms 1, scallions 1.2, parsley 8, potato .6, spinach 3.4, beet 3
  • Fruits – dried apricots 4.1, avocado 1.5, currents 1.8, dried figs 4.2, dates 1.2, dried peaches 6.8, prunes 2.9, raisins 1.6, raspberries 1.2
  • Nuts and other – almonds 4.2, Brazil nuts 2.8, hazelnuts 1.1, peanuts 2, walnuts 2.4 curry powder 75, yeast 20

I knew Susun Weed would have some iron numbers for some herbs. Same mg per 100 grams applies. Notice some high numbers here!

  • Herbs – chickweed 253, fresh dandelion leaves 3, cooked dandelion leaves 29, root 96 (fresh or dried? I am unsure), fresh nettle leaves and shoots 41.8,oat straw 4.6 – 57, kelp 8.9 – 100, dulse 150

My favorite and simplest iron tonic recipe is one I got from midwife Aviva Romm. Start with equal parts yellow dock and dandelion root, simmered and reduced until there is about one cup of liquid remaining. Then add a fourth to a half cup black strap molasses after the liquid has been strained. Take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon daily. The yellow dock helps the liver use iron more sufficiently, while the dandelion root is a source of iron (and also acts on the liver) and the molasses is an even better source of iron. I do not know how many milligrams of iron are in one teaspoon, but I can imagine that it is not necessarily high in iron, but rather is more bio-available and assists the body is using what iron is present.

Rosemary Gladstar has a nice “Iron-Plus Syrup” (62) recipe that sounds delicious. In fact, after reading about it I want to go make my own!

  • 3 parts nettle  
  • 3 parts dandelion leaf
  • 3 parts dandelion root
  • 3 parts raspberry leaf
  • 2 parts watercress
  • 2 parts alfalfa leaf
  • 1 part hawthorn berries
  • 1 part yellow dock root
  • 1 part dulse
  • 1/4 part horsetail

Add two ounces of the herb mixture to one quart of water. Simmer, reduce to two cups liquid. Strain and while it is still warm, add one cup sweetener (honey works well), two teaspoons spirulina and two teaspoons nutritional yeast. Add 1/4 cup brandy and 1/4 cup fruit concentrate to finish it; bottle, lable, refidgerate and enjoy! The dosage Gladstar gives is four to six tablespoons a day. 

So now I must ask myself, did I make the recommended 10 – 18 mg (depending on your source)? Let’s investigate:

Eggs – 2, half avocado .75, oatmeal 4.1, lentils 2.4, half serving spinach 1.7, half serving almonds  2, = 12.95 grams, plus an undetermined amount from a some potato, raisins, corn tortilla chips, everything else I ate today, plus whatever is in a tablespoon of Romm’s simple iron tonic and a quart of nettle/raspberry leaf tea.

Not too bad, but there is room for improvement, especially in improving iron absorption.

References:

Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women.

Trickey, Ruth. Women, Hormones, and the Menstrual Cycle.

Weed, Susun. Healing Wise.

Women’s Health Study Group

March 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Hello, everybody! Over the past months, I have been considering the idea of forming a women’s health circle. A number of women I have talked to have become interested the idea as well, so it must be time. Please join us in discussing topics about women’s health. I will present an herbal perspective, with a pinch of nutrition, biology, and lifestyle/philosophy to keep things interesting. Bring any of your favorite books, but most importantly your unique knowledge and perspective.

The study groups will be held every 4th Sunday, at 2 pm. The first one is Sunday March 22ed at 630 N 27th Ave W. Duluth, MN, and the topic will be the dysmennorhia (menstrual cramps). Soon I will expand on these topics and add a page for the study group on this site. I am so excited for this to start; I hopeĀ  you will join us! Please, please, send any ideas for study groups, and also any suggestions for dates and times.

Sun, March 22ed – Dysmennorhia

Sun, April 19th – PMS

Sun, May 17th – Horomones

Sun, June 14th – NutrientsĀ  and Nutrition

green ladies Laurel and Stephanie

green ladies Laurel and Stephanie

Make your Own Elderberry Syrup

February 10th, 2009 § 10 comments § permalink

elder_syrup.jpg Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) was one of the reasons I discovered herbalism. As a 19 year old pre-med student, I searched the universities Pub Med database in search for the best proven medication for the awful cold I was having. The doctors were sure it was either strep throat and mono, but both tests came back negative. So I searched for some magic cough syrup, or antibiotic from heaven, but every study that came up said that over-the-counter cough syrups were actually ineffective. I noticed page after page of studies in German that had Holunderbeere (German for elderberry) in the title. I refined my search and found out that Elderberry was an effective treatment for the flu and other winter ailments. I was still skeptical, but the seeds had been planted.

As if we needed any more reasons to drink our elderberry syrup, Matthew Wood adds that “[the berries] have a property not found in the other parts of the plant; they are used as a tonic to the build up the blood and combat anemia. For this purpose they may be combined with blackberries” (434). Dark berries = yum. Cancer-fighting anthocyanins, anybody?

I first saw elder’s creamy white flowers on the slopes of the Blue Mountains in North Carolina, and didn’t see it again until I was at Sage Mountain in Vermont. The last time I saw it was last June in southern Minnesota, on the sides of bluffs and hills outside Winona. Is that just a coincidence that all the places I have seen the black elder growing were either mountains or hillsides? Although I have seen elder growing in Northern Minnesota, it is not the right kind to harvest (it may be red elder). Typical of the elder of fairy tales and folk lore, whenever I find an elder tree in the woods up here, I can never find it again! For you Duluthians, there are a few in Hartley park, in the deer-proofed area.

I have come across many elderberry syrup recipes over the years. This recipe from Rosemary Gladstar is the one I like the most because 1) it is alcohol free, 2) it can be made with fresh or dried berries, and 3) storing it in the refrigerator reminds me to use it was a food and medicine. It is seriously delicious with baked garnet yams, waffles, or mixed with mineral water.

  • 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup honey

1. Heat the berries and water to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 30-45 minuets.

2. Mash the berries, strain, and add 1 cup of honey. I add a half cup of the purple liquid to a measuring cup, then pour in honey until the total volume is 1 1/2 cups. Then stir to mix well, and add to the rest of the reserved liquid.

3. Bottle and store, refrigerated. for 2-3 months.

4. Enjoy a tablespoon daily to keep the immune system strong, use more often when afflicted with the flu.

elder_honey.jpg

 

Refereance: Gladstar, Rosemary. The Family Herbal.

Rhetorical Questions

February 11th, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

Are you sick of your prescriptions?

Are your prescriptions making you sick?

Why do you need them?

Do your prescriptions make you healthier?

Is your reproductive freedom synthetic?

 

 

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