Nutrient dense seeds, powders, supplements

Densely nutritious Hericium mushroom

 

 

There are a variety of ways to bring densely nutritious herbs into our diet.  From soups to salads to supplemental powders and seed, take a look through this section and get some ideas for increasing your intake of nutrient packed herbs.

 

Nettle Seed 

Nettle leaf is commonly used in infusions and powders but nettle seed is even more

Nettle

densely nutritious and is one of the most strengthening herbs that one can take.  Esteemed herbalist David Winston calls nettle seed an adrenal trophorestorative.  That means that it helps strengthen the adrenals when there has been stress, trauma and burnout leading to hyper secretion of adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal gland.  Nettle seed helps slowly restore us at a core level when we develop symptoms of severe fatigue, brain fog, confusion and associated depression.  Nettle seed has traditionally been given to horses to give them a shiny coat and more bounce in their step.  Nettle seed has similar stimulating and strengthening properties for us humans as well.    Try adding a 1-2 teaspoons to your daily diet by sprinkling the seeds in your meals.

 

Nettle Pesto  

Maybe you are already are an herbalist that knows how to ethically wildcraft nettles, or you can tag along with a friend who knows what to do.  But if you can get a hold of some fresh nettles in the Spring, one of the best things you can do is make up a batch of nettle pesto and then refrigerate and freeze it for use over a few months.
Ingredients:

8 cups of fresh nettle leaf

3 cloves of garlic- chopped

1 cup of walnuts

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/4 lemon- squeezed.

salt to taste

Take your nettles and place them in a pan.  Place a half inch of water at the base and then gently steam your nettles for 5 minutes until they are completely wilted.  Then remove the nettles, squeeze out as much water as possible and then let them dry out on a baking sheet.  Then chop them up and add them to a food processor.  Then add the rest of the ingredients, squeeze in the lemon juice and blend until the mix has become a paste.  Remove and place in a container.  Add salt to taste and mix it in well.  Refrigerate.

 

 

Seaweeds  

There are a variety of seaweeds and they are all tremendously nutritious with loads of vitamins and minerals,   Seaweeds are composed of 20-50% minerals and that they are the best dietary source of essential minerals.  Some of the best seaweeds to consume include hijiki, nori, dulse, wakame and kombu.  Mineral rich seaweeds  help improve thyroid function (due to high levels of iodine) and reduce chance of osteoporosis (high levels of calcium).

In general seaweeds are deeply nourishing and rejuvenating and can play a key role in helping people with long term exhaustion and depletion.  Seaweeds feed our nerves, muscles and sinews, improves cardiac function, lowers blood pressure and soothes and nourishes an inflamed digestive system (ulcers, constipation, colitis, etc).

Seaweeds in general are anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic and useful for those who feel hot, wired and tired with inflammation, pain and anxiety.  Seaweeds are great for those with CFS or fibromyalgia who feel stressed, exhausted and suffering from neuralgia.

Finally studies have shown that common seaweeds can reduce the effect of radiation.   Seaweeds are truly a nutritional powerhouse that are easily available to us.

 

Seaweed salad

Ingredients:

1 ounce of dried seaweeds

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

First place the seaweed into a bowl of cold water and let it soak for 15 minutes until it is expanded and nice and tender.  Then mix your other ingredients together separately.  You can replace the honey with sugar but I like to warm up the honey until its nice and runny.  Honey adds even more nutritive value.    Then strain out your seaweed and add in the other ingredients.

 

Seaweed flakes

Ingredients:  Several varieties of seaweed.

Take an ounce of dried seaweed and place in a coffee grinder or a blender.  Cut the seaweed into small flakes and then place in an culinary herb jar.  Add to meals and beverages as desired.

 

Korean Seaweed Soup

We all know chicken soup is one of the healthiest foods and rejuvenative when you are feeling down, depressed and lethargic.   Koreans have long integrated seaweeds into their diet and this is one of the best soups with seaweed that they make.

Ingredients:

Herbal bone broth (see above to make this)- 6 cups

1/2 pound chicken or beef

1/2 ounce seaweeds

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/2 onion chopped fine

First take your seaweed and soak in warm water for 10 minutes.  Then cut up the seaweeds into smaller pieces.  (You can do this dried too with scissors).  Then first sauté your meat, garlic, ginger and onions in a pot with the sesame oil and soy sauce for about a minute or two.    Then add the seaweed and water, heat it to a boil  and then simmer for 20 minutes.  Add salt to taste.

 

Moringa Powder    

This is truly one of the most nutritious herbs available to us.  Known as a “miracle plant”, Moringa comes to us via South Asia where it has long been consumed as a medicinal herb.  Moringa is now grown in tropical areas throughout the world for its amazing properties.  Moringa is foremost a nourishing tonic herb with high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, large amounts of calcium, protein and iron.  Moringa contains 9 times the vitamin A of carrots, 16 times the calcium of milk and 24 times the iron of spinach.

Moringa relaxes the artery walls and reduces high blood pressure.  With huge amounts of antioxidants, it helps protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress.  Studies point to Moringa being useful for preventing atherosclerotic plaque formation, protecting and strengthening cardiac function.

Moringa is used in Ayurvedic medicine to heal stomach ulcers, urinary infections, help with arthritis, joint pain and other inflammatory conditions.  It has also been used  to improve libido, likely due to its highly nutritional features.  In India it its also commonly added to external oils and liniments as an analgesic and wound healing aid.

In terms of mental health, this is an immensely nutritious herb that can help with those who appear tired, depleted, exhausted and malnourished.

Dose:  You can take moringa by daily adding 1-3 teaspoons of the powder to warm meals, juice, smoothies and others beverages.  You can also take it in capsule form for a far better source of minerals and vitamins than synthetically produced multi-vitamin tablets.

 

Mushroom powder

I love it when people take medicinal mushrooms as part of their daily meal such as delicious maitake and shitake mushrooms.  Mushrooms such as these and a number of others are incredibly health giving and possess polysacharides rich with beta glucans  that are protective and immune boosting.  When taking powdered extracts of multiple mushrooms, it is essential that the mushrooms have been subject to a type of extraction that pulls out these important polysaccharides as well as other glycoproteins, antioxidants and triterpenes.   Otherwise they are worthless.  The key health giving constituents of raw mushrooms will not be bioavailable.

One other note:  Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) requires alcohol extraction to pull out its health giving terpenoids.  More about that in the recipe section on adpatogenic herbs.  Finally, some of these mushroom powders contain chaga, an incredibly powerful fungus but one that has been unsustainably harvested.  Please be careful when purchasing and buy from ethical harvesters.

OK so when purchasing combined mushroom powder, here are some of the best medicinal mushrooms available.

Lion’s Mane, Turkey tail, maitake, shitake, cordyceps, reishi, agarikon, oyster, chaga, mesima, poria, mesimakobu.

 

Bone Broth

Traditionally  it has always been important to get the most value from eating meat.  And that has meant simmering bones to extract the nutritional value and then use that as stock for soups and meals.  Bone broth infused with tonic and nutritious herbs is one of the most powerful ways to improve physical and mental health for a number of reasons.  Bone broth contains collagen that helps heal the gut lining.  The breakdown in the gut lining (leaky gut) allows for inflammatory compounds to pass through into the blood stream and cause systemic inflammation that has been implicated in both physical and mental illness symptoms.  Bone broth helps protect and restore that gut lining to reduce systemic inflammation.  The bone broth also contains amino acids such as glutamine, proline, glycine and arginine that are key proteins that strengthen the intestines, the immune and the nervous system.  Bone broth also contains chondroitin sulfates and glucosamine that helps reduce inflammation in the system.

When you add in an assortment of medicinal herbs you are augmenting the nutritional and tonic value of your bone broth to an amazing level.  Tonic herbs such as astragalus, codonopsis and shitake mushrooms  strengthen immunity, build strength and stamina, while nutritional herbs such as nettles, seaweeds and burdock are filled with vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed in the form of warm broth.

This is perhaps the best and healthiest substance you can make for yourself- a true elixir.  For those who appear dull, depressed, deficient with multiple health problems, bone broth can be a key stepping stone to greater health.  To make bone broth it is best to work with bones that are made from wild game or free range grass fed animals. I often like to work with the left over bones from a whole roast chicken and sometimes beef bones but it can be made with lamb, pork and fish as well.   To really get the most flavor out of your bones you can roast them for a half hour at 450.

Ingredients:

Big Stock pot that can hold a couple gallons of liquid.

Bones from a whole roast chicken (or 4-5 pounds of meaty bones)

6 quarts of water

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

2 Cut up whole onions

6 cloves of garlic

Assortment of herbs:

1 tablespoon of codonopsis,

8 stalks of astragalus

1/2 cup of nettles

1/2 cup of burdock

1 tablespoon of burdock

1 tablespoon of assorted seaweeds

12 shitake mushrooms.

After roasting the bones for a half hour, add the bones to a big stock pot. Then add 6 quarts of water and pour in a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  The vinegar helps breakdown the bones.  Add in the onion, garlic and the herbs listed above and bring the whole thing to a light boil and then simmer the broth for at least 4 hours and 12-24 hours is best.  After the broth has simmered for that time then strain out everything except the liquid and pour it into containers that can be refrigerated or frozen for later use.

I like to use the broth for the base of my soups, for making rice, for stews and congees.  I see it as my essential vitamin and mineral source and a prime way to receive nutrition in a way that my gut can easily absorb.

 

 

Berry Strengthening Syrup

Along with bone broth, I also recommend regularly taking a syrup made with deeply nutritious and strengthening berries.  This is especially important in the winter when we are more vulnerable to flus and colds.

Berries are filled with antioxidant flavonoids that protect the body as it ages and brings needed vitamins and minerals in a way that is easily absorbable.  Children also tend to to love this syrup as well.   Elder is particularly protective against the flu virus, hawthorn is cardiprotective and hypotensive, schisandra  decreases fatigue, improves endurance and stamina while astragalus strengthens the immune system and protects against colds and the flu.

Ingredients:

1 cup black elderberries (sambucus nigra)

1/2 cup hawthorn berries

1/2 cup schisandra berries

4 sticks astragalus

2 teaspoons dried ginger

1 cinnamon stick

4 cups of water

local raw honey

In a pot add the herbs to the water and bring to a boil and then simmer for 40 minutes.  To get more out of it really mash the berries during the process.  Then  strain out the herbs and let the berry juice cool until it is warm.   Then add an equal amount of honey to the juice.  I find that I will use a bit less honey at times if I don’t want the syrup quite as sweet.  Then bottle and label it and preserve it in the refrigerator.  I find it can last about 2-3 months like this before getting a bit sparky.  You can also add an ounce or two of brandy to your syrup to preserve it for longer.