Saturday, May 25, 2019

DIY Liquid Multivitamin

     I grew up in the era of Flintstones Multivitamins, and while taking your vitamins is a great daily routine. Just how good are those vitamin supplements? Some can be really good and effective, others not so much. One of my major hangups about supplements is that I'm not sure what process the herb/vitamin goes through before it becomes that little pill. So why not make it myself so I know 100% what goes in it, and can tweak it for any special needs that come up?

A Word on Ingredients:

Each of the ingredients I've chosen for these recipes has several different benefits. They're all powerhouses nutritionally, but they also add a bit more than just nutrition. Some of the following herbs are not included in specific recipes, but are really good to think about adding into yours.
Alfalfa Medicago sativa is most famously known as livestock feed. However, it's used in this manner because of it's high concentration of nutrients. Alfalfa contains a wide variety of minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, silicon, and trace elements. It is also a good source of vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and super important towards the end of pregnancy. It also contains essential amino acids that are not made by the body but must be obtained from food sources. Medicinally, alfalfa is often used to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Its high concentration of alkaloids make it useful in reducing blood sugar levels and it is also commonly used as a blood purifier as well as for any types of arthritis or joint problems. One major caution, however, alfalfa is not safe to use in combination with blood thinning agents or medications as it is so effective it can interfere or amplify the effects of these. 

Catnip Nepeta cataria makes most cats go a bit crazy. However it's super beneficial for cats, dogs, and even humans. In ancient times, it was believed to be a remedy for insanity. This is due to it's soothing and calming effect. In animals, catnip has a strong sedative effect, yes, even on your crazy cat (just think about what your cat does after going nuts...sleep!).  It's also used to help calm the nerves, reduce anxiety, reduce menstrual cramps, sooth the stomach, and relieve headaches.  Catnip is also a great antiviral herb that helps to reduce fever. As a member of the mint family, this herb has a whole host of nutritional value. One of it's most concentrated nutrients is Folic Acid, which is helpful for women, children, and unborn children.

Chamomile Matricaria recutita is a great herb for so many reasons. It helps sooth the stomach and nerves. It helps the body move through fevers faster. It's great for children, and as an added bonus, it tastes great! Chamomile is a bitter herb (you'll taste the bitterness if you steep it too long) and all bitter herbs help aid in digestion. So it's a great herb to add to any formula that you use prior to eating. Chamomile has been tested extensively and science has backed quite a few of the traditional uses of this herb, especially it's use as an antipeptic, antispasmodic, antipyretic, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-allergenic. 

Dandelion Leaf Taraxacum officinale is often despised as a weed, but it's full of amazing properties. It's a traditional salad green and pot herb. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B6, C, and K, one can see why traditional cultures would search out this abundant food. It's also a very beneficial herb for liver health, helping reduce oxidative stress in the liver and suppress fat accumulation.

Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra (or G. uralensis) is one of those flavors that you either love or hate. But no one can doubt the natural sweetness that it contains. That's why it's such a good herb for children. Adding licorice to an herbal formula, quite often, makes it more palatable for kids, so that you have an easier time getting them to actually take their medicine. It does have some nutritional value, but I mainly added it to these recipes for the flavor and additional benefits. It's an amazing little adaptogen, helping one to better deal with stress and adapt to stressful situations.

Mint Mentha spp. covers a whole host of beneficial herbs. They all have the same uses and similar nutritional profiles. They help to calm the stomach and nerves, fight diseases, and relieve upper-respiratory issues. It's also a great catalyst, helping move other herbs and nutrients throughout your system more efficiently. 

Mullein Verbascum spp. is the name for over 300 species of medicinal plants. This herb is commonly used for upper-respiratory issues and illness. It's also a common treatment for earaches. However it's also packed full of amazing nutrients including proteins, beneficial fats, and flavonoids. It's also safe for children.

Nettle Urtica dioica is an herb I call upon almost daily. It's so useful for so many reasons, not to mention it's a tasty green. In my home, we use nettle to help reduce our allergy symptoms, reduce joint stiffness and pain, to prevent anemia, lower blood pressure, tone kidneys, and break down any kidney or gall stones that may be developing. I put this herb in every one of my nutritive teas and tinctures for all of these reasons, but especially for it's nutritional value. Nettle contains calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, iron, sulfur, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, and quite a bit of protein.

Oatstraw Avena sativa is a whole body tonic. It's super beneficial to just about every organ and system in the human body. But it's also super packed full of nutrients that we don't always get a lot of from our food. Oatstraw is an excellent source of magnesium and chromium, an important mineral for maintaining a healthy blood sugar level. It’s also a good source of calcium, vitamin A, niacin, iron, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and vitamin C. And even better, all the nutrients contained in this little herb are super easy for the body to absorb, digest, and use. 

Red Clover Trifolium pratense is full of benefits for everyone, but especially for women. It helps with hormone issues associated with menstration, early pregnancy, and menopause. However, it's also an important herb for men as it helps prevent prostate problems such as BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia) and even prostate cancer. Red clover is also a source of many valuable nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C. 

Red Raspberry Leaf Rubus spp. has been used throughout history to help aid in pregnancy and labor. This herb is one of my favorite herbs to use for women, helping balance female hormones, increase fertility, and tone the uterus. It regulates menstrual cycles, reduce cramps, PMS, and other symptoms that come with irregular menses. Raspberry leaves also help relieve respiratory infections, strengthen the intestines, and help speed the healing of minor wounds. Nutritionally, red raspberry leaves contain iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin C, and vitamin E. 

Pygeum Pygeum africanum is an herb from Southern and Central Africa. This plumb tree is actually used more for it's bark than it's fruit, being used for treating benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), boosting fertility, preventing urinary tract infections (UTI), and reducing inflammation. It's also used to help treat and prevent age related issues that some men have, such as male pattern baldness. 

Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens is well known as a male herb, helping to balance testosterone levels and prevent BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia). It's also super nutritious, being packed full of vitamins and minerals. 

Spirulina Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima is a blue-green algae that is being studied for quite a few of its actions recently. First off, it helps control candida, helping to prevent and treat yeast infections. It's also a great herb to use to help detox heavy metals, being shown to be especially potent against Arsenic. Spirulina is also great for the circulatory system, helping to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and reduce the chance of stroke. It provides a bit of an energy boost, making it a great choice to add to your morning routine. It also helps to improve memory and brain function. While all of this is amazing, the number one reason I include this in so many of my recipes is for it's nutritional value. Spriulia contains copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, calcium, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin K, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin A. 

Turmeric Curcuma longa is a great herb for just about everyone. It's anti-inflammatory, antiviral, helps aid digestion, and full of beneficial nutrients. Turmeric contains good amounts of minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc, and magnesium. It's also super rich in vitamin C.

Basic Multivitamin Tincture

2 parts Nettle Leaf
2 parts Alfalfa Leaf
1 part Oatstraw
½ part Mint

Alcohol Preparation Instructions:
Combine herbs in a 16oz mason jar, fill the jar about ½ way with the herbs. Cover, and fill the jar, with alcohol. Label and leave in a dark, cool place for 6 weeks. Make sure to shake it once a day. After 6 weeks, strain out the solids and enjoy your liquid multivitamin. 

Glycerin Preparation Instructions:
Combine herbs in a 16oz mason jar, fill the jar about ½ way with the herbs. Cover, and fill the jar, with glycerin. Put the lid on the jar. Place a wash cloth, or silicone baking mat on the bottom of a crock pot (crock pot must have a “keep warm” or “Very Low” setting), place the jar on top of the cloth/mat. Fill the crock pot up about ¾ of the way (or about ½ inch under the lid of the jar) with water. Turn the crock pot on it's lowest setting and allow to stay there for at least 1 day (up to 3), adding more water if needed. Strain and enjoy!

Overnight Infusion Option:
Instead of making a tincture, you can use the same herbs in an overnight infusion. Combine the herbs in a 16oz mason jar, fill the jar about ½ way with the herbs. Cover, and fill jar with boiling water. Seal the jar and allow to sit, in room temperature, 8-12 hours or overnight. Enjoy the next day!

This basic recipe can be altered simply by either reducing the amount of one or two of the herbs and adding in whichever other herbs you desire, or using the basic recipe as a starter and adding in the additional herbs on top of it. Here are a few alternative recipes I use as an example. All the instructions are the same so I'm only sharing the ingredients.

Women's Daily/Prenatal Vitamin

2 parts Nettle Leaf
1 part Alfalfa Leaf
1 part Red Raspberry Leaf
1 part Red Clover
½ part Oatstraw
½ part Mint

Men's Daily/Prostate Health 

2 parts Nettle Leaf
1 part Alfalfa Leaf
1 part Saw Palmetto
1 part Pygeum
½ part Oatstraw
½ part Mint

Children's Daily Vitamin

2 parts Nettle Leaf
2 parts Alfalfa Leaf
1 part Mullein
1 part Red Raspberry Leaf
½ part Oatstraw
½ part Licorice (or Chamomile if your child hates Licorice like I did)

Healthy Pets Dog/Cat Multivitamin

2 parts Nettle Leaf
1 part Catnip Leaf
1 part Dandelion Leaf
½ part Turmeric

I hope this vitamin recipe helps improve your daily routine. Feel free to do some research and add in whatever herbs you feel would help you and your family. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!


7 Benefits of Pygeum: Organic Facts: 

Alfalfa Benefits & Uses: Wellnessmama: 

Best Herbs for Prostate Health: Healthfully: 

Catnip Herb: Alternative Nature Online Herbal: 

Chamomile Benefits: Herb Wisdom: 

Licorice Root Benefits: Herbs with Rosalee: 

Mint- Medicinal Uses: Mother Earth Living: 

Mullein- The Medicinal Herb that Fights Infections & Inflammation: Dr. Axe: 

Nutrition of Stinging Nettle: Livestrong:

Oatstraw- Stress Reliever, Love Potion, Brain Booster, and More: GrowNetwork: 

Red Clover Benefits: Herb Wisdom: 

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Dr. Mercola:

Saw Palmetto Benefits the Prostate & Stops Hair Loss: Dr. Axe: 

Spirulina Benefits: Dr. Axe: 

Turmeric Nutrition and Benefits: Nutrition and You: 

What Are the Benefits of Organic Dandelion Leaf?: Global Healing Center: 

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