As important as it is to us parents to feed good foods to our families, it’s very difficult to make sure they get all the vitamins and minerals they need. Supplementing with vitamins is a great option!
Finding the right vitamin can prove to be more difficult than anticipated. Children’s chewable vitamins can contain synthetic ingredients, fake colors and flavors. There are even vitamins that contain aspartame. Considering that aspartame is linked to 92 different health problems, and is banned by other countries, I think I’ll pass on those.
And then there are the whole food vitamins that are an excellent choice, but I do have to consider my pocketbook. Does anyone relate?
So…what’s a mom to do but make her own vitamins with herbs she has on hand!
My girls recently ran into the house with arms full of fresh red clover they had picked, because unbeknownst to me, the lawn mower was making its way to the red clover patch. They knew I didn’t want red clover to go to waste, so they rescued it just in time. Smart girls! I immediately said, “I’m going to make some vitamins!” I went to my herb shelf and grabbed some other herbs to use along with the red clover.
Here’s what I chose:
- Red Raspberry – Great for nutrition in general, keeping hormones balances for men and women. ” …filled with essential minerals and vitamins like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, E, A and B complex. It also contains easily assimilated calcium and iron.” (Source)
- Astragalus Root - boosts energy levels and increases stamina
- Spearmint – promotes good digestion and adds a natural sweetness
- Red Clover - high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, chromium. Is a cancer fighter. (Source)
Note: Red clover is similar in nutritional value as alfalfa is, so you can substitute alfalfa for the clover. Red clover is what was growing for free in my yard, so I chose it. Alfalfa doesn’t have the cancer fighting properties that red clover has, but it is loaded with essential amino acids and encourages the other herbs to assimilate well, so it is popular in vitamin mixes. If I had had alfalfa on hand when I made my tincture, I would have definitely put some in there!
Another Note: Nettle is another herb that I adore for its nutritional value. I am currently out, but would have added that to my vitamin tincture as well. I love it for its protein, dietary fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. You can read more about nettle here.
How I made my DIY Vitamin Tincture
- Combine 2 equal parts of red clover and red raspberry
- Add 1 part spearmint (or less if you don’t want it too minty)
- Add 1/4 part of astragalus
In simpler terms, you would place 1 cup of red clover, 1 cup of red raspberry, 1/2 cup of spearmint, 1/4 cup of astragalus. Mix all together and fill your jar halfway with dried herbs and to the top with fresh herbs. Since I had fresh red clover but the rest of my herbs were dried, I added more like 1 1/2 -2 cups of red clover instead of 1 cup. If you have any leftover vitamin mix, you can make teas or infusions, make more than one jar of tincture at once, or simply store the extra mix in a container for the future. You can also mix less herbs together at once by starting out with 1/2 cup of clover and raspberry, 1/4 cup of spearmint, 1/8 cup of astragalus, etc.
- As I said, fill the jar halfway with dried herbs and to the top with fresh. Make sure you leave a 1-inch headspace if filling full with fresh herbs.
- If you have dried herbs, pour boiling water over the dried herbs, just barely covering. If you have fresh, fill the jar about 1/4 of the way with boiling water. This will assist in pulling out the vitamins in the herbs. Water does a great job of pulling out vitamin content. Place a lid on the jar and let the jar sit for 30 minutes while the water extracts vitamins.
- Pour vegetable glycerin over the herbs to the top of the jar, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Do not strain the water. I really like adding water with glycerin so the tincture isn’t quite so thick or sweet.
- Place a lid on the jar.
- Put a towel in the bottom of a crockpot.
- Place jar in the crockpot and fill the crockpot with water to the shoulder of the jar, or until the water is right below the lid.
- Turn crockpot on low or warm for 3 days. You don’t want the herbs to cook or become too hot, so make sure the temperature stays on low.
- Be sure to add water as needed when the level gets too low to keep the water level high enough.
- After 3 days, strain the herbs from the liquid with a fine strainer or white cotton material.
- Bottle your DIY vitamin tincture and store in a cabinet out of sunlight.
All of these herbs are nutritious and non-toxic, so you can’t really overdose on them. A recommendation is 1 tablespoon 1-3 times a day for adults, and 1 teaspoon 1-3 times a day for children.
Note: I made this tincture with glycerin using the crockpot method. You can also made a separate alcohol tincture and combine the 2 finished tinctures to receive the benefits of both the glycerin and alcohol.
Have you ever made your own vitamin tincture? Do you have a favorite whole-food vitamin you buy? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
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