Spring is in full swing here in Oregon! As the plants find their way from seed through soil to the brilliant light of the world it's a wonderful time to develop your relationship with herbs or deepen your connection to them. An herbal infusion is a great way to extract the nutrients and healing properties from plants and it's very simple to do as it's basically just a strong tea. All of these herbs are available from the wonderful herb shops we have here in Portland, or can be purchased online through Mountain Rose Herbs which only sells sustainable and organic products.
Nettles (Urtica Dioica)
Alfalfa (Medicago Sativa)
Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense)
Oat straw (Avena Sativa)
Put one teaspoon of each herb in a one quart mason jar, cover in boiling water, cap, and let steep for at least one hour and up to eight. Strain, enjoy the nourishment, refrigerate the excess, and use within a few days.
These are all fantastically nutritious and safe herbs. Nettles are famous for having high levels of iron, calcium, trace minerals, protein, vitamin A, vitamin K, and many B vitamins. It is energizing but also helps with sleep. It benefits hair, skin, nails, and blood vessels. Alfalfa is alkalizing and soothes irritability, nervousness, and insomnia. Red clover is an herb that enhances fertility and has anti-cancer effects. It can have estrogenic qualities so use caution in case of hormonal imbalances characterized by excessive estrogen. Oat straw is the herb of longevity in Ayurveda. It helps the nervous system, emotional stability, and sexual health.
This tea is wonderful to drink any time of year, but for spring it’s nice to restore the adrenals and build up our energy stores in preparation for the long days and activity of summer. Nettles grow abundantly in the pacific northwest so spring is the perfect time to get out into the forests and harvest the top most part of the plant in a respectful and sustainable manner for eating, tincturing in alcohol or cider vinegar, or drying for infusions.
For more information on these herbs look at the books and websites of herbalists Susun Weed, Rosemary Gladstar, and Matthew Wood.
Victoria is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and Oriental medicine practitioner in Beaverton, Oregon. She specializes in pain relief, digestive disorders, women's health, insomnia, and stress relief. Victoria loves to empower patients to heal themselves using meditation, tai ji, qi gong, nutrition, visualization, and affirmations. When not learning more about medicine and healing, you can find Victoria on adventures with her husband and dog, playing in nature, cooking, gardening, meditating, and getting suckered into giving her dog more food.