Herbs are a fantastic way to boost nutrient levels. A plant that you might not have realized can actually be ingested is the nettle plant. Yep, the same one as stinging nettle! It won’t sting you though, I promise!
The plant leaves can be dried and steeped into a tea. I’ve never actually foraged them myself (and don’t have any plans to haha), but if you have an herbal or heath food store near you, you can find the dried leaves there. For those in Vancouver, Finlandia Pharmacy has a great selection of dried herbs.
Add about 1 TBSP of leaves to a mug of boiling water and steep for five minutes. Strain the leaves.
I should mention that some cultures actually steam or fry fresh nettle leaves and eat them much like you would another leafy green.
Nettle is a source of iron, vitamin C, vitamin A and even folate (source). One of the reasons it’s used to increase iron is because the presence of vitamin C makes it a very absorbable source of iron as vitamin C helps increase iron absorption.
The nettle plant also contains anti-inflammatory properties and has been used to help treat seasonal allergies. It’s not fully understood how, but it’s believed to slow down the release of histamine in the body.
Note that this doesn’t replace the need for iron rich foods in your diet, but can be a nice complimentary source of plant based iron, particularly if you are struggling with low iron.
*Nettle tea is not advised for pregnant women.