|Article by Debs Cook|
Did you know that low iron levels in the body can lead to the body’s immune system being lowered, making you more susceptible to colds, flu and an assortment of viruses that generally surface in the winter?
The human body needs iron to make haemoglobin; in fact 70% of the iron found in the body is found within haemoglobin and is used to supply oxygen to red blood cells. Iron is also found in myoglobin, which supplies oxygen to the muscles and is a constituent of many enzymes and immune-system boosting compounds found in the body. This makes iron a vital element to have in the diet to keep your immune system ticking over.
Most of us find it easy to get the iron we need from our everyday diet when we eat dried fruits such as apricots and figs, vegetables including watercress and spinach, and pulses like beans and lentils and also red meat. Yet studies in the UK have shown that 91% of women in the UK aged between 19 and 64 years are getting far less iron in their bodies than the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
Those women not getting their RDA of iron can suffer from fatigue and have low energy levels, which can, in turn lower their immune systems and leave them open to colds, flu and viruses. The RDA in the UK for dietary iron is 8.7mg a day for men and for women over 50 and beyond who fall into the post-menopausal category, younger women need around 14.8mg of iron per day.
Often people who don’t get enough iron in their daily diet turn to conventional supplements in tablet form to boost their iron quotas, but there can be some difficulty in absorbing iron from supplements, which can lead to unwanted side effects, such as constipation and headaches.
Finding alternative means of adding iron to the diet such as making homemade tonics and drinks can be of benefit, taking small amounts of a herbal tonic wine can help top up iron levels gently and effectively, and several herbs can be added to herbal tonic recipes to give your iron RDA a boost.
Making your own herbal tonic wine at home is easy and within a few weeks you can be enjoying the benefits of the tonic. A tonic based on dried nettle is a good choice to boost low iron levels. Nettles are rich in Iron and full of minerals that make them an excellent tonic for the blood. The following recipe is full of iron from the dried nettles and apricots and has useful Vitamin C content from the nettles and orange.
You can make this old herbal tonic in any quantity you desire, add 1 part orange peel to 4 parts nettle and 4 parts apricot, so if you used 25g of orange peel you would use 4 times 25g or 100g of nettles and 100g apricots.
Nettle & Apricot Iron Tonic
1 Part Orange Peel
4 Parts Nettle Leaf
4 Parts Dried Chopped Apricots (Unsulphured)
Organic Fruity Red Wine (Choose a type containing 12-14% alcohol).
Method: Put all the ingredients in to a wide-necked lidded jar and cover with enough wine to completely cover the dry ingredients. Leave to stand for 14 days, stirring daily. After the 14 days, use a muslin cloth or fine meshed sieve to strain off the liquid, squeezing the pulp to extract all the liquid. Bottle the tonic in to an amber glass bottle, and store in the fridge. Take 1 dessert spoonful in the morning and 1 dessert spoonful in the evening, diluted with warm (not hot) water in a small