If you’ve ever been iron deficient, you know it isn’t fun. Even though it’s not hard to combat, especially in the United States, it is unfortunately, pretty common.
Most people suffering from iron deficiency think they’re just tired or feeling moody because those are the first noticeable signs. It can take a while before this deficiency comes to light and by then it’s usually a bit more severe.
We like to say that when someone is “iron deficient” they need “blood builders” and our community clinic knows exactly what to do. One of those things is making our Herbal Iron Tonic. The recipe for the syrup is below, but before we jump into it, how about some information, hm?
What does Iron Do for the Body?
Iron is found in every cell and is an essential component of the creation of blood. It is a main component in the protein hemoglobin, which helps to carry oxygen to our organs and tissues. In our muscles, it helps to accept, store, transport, and release oxygen when we need it… which is all the time.
Iron is also an important part of proper metabolism, immune function, building collagen, healthy nervous system functioning, some neurotransmitters and brain activity.
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency is no joke, and it can masquerade as a lot of other issues. The most common symptoms are general fatigue, weakness, and cold hands and feet.
Some other symptoms to look for are regular headaches or lightheadedness. A loss of appetite or not feeling satisfied after meals is common. Chewing ice is a strange but accurate way to identify iron deficiency.
If you’ve noticed brittleness in your nails, limp hair, and/or pale skin, you might be working with a more chronic deficiency and should probably give your herbalist a call.
Causes of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency can come from several different places. Most commonly it comes from not getting enough iron in your diet. Try eating leafy greens and add bone broth to your diet if you haven’t already.
If you’re dealing with a diet-related deficiency you also need to make sure that you’re able to absorb iron into your bloodstream. We need vitamin C in our body to absorb iron into our blood, so make sure that if you’re getting enough citrus in your diet and you should be just fine.
Iron deficiency can come from blood loss – including having heavy periods. If your cycle makes you really tired, it’s worth adding more iron-rich foods to your diet.
Should you take an iron supplement?
The short answer is probably not.
Studies have shown that having too much iron in your blood can be as detrimental to your health as not having enough and taking pure iron supplements can tip you over the edge.
Our approach is gentler and safer for your body over time. For most people a change in diet can help with iron deficiency, but for pregnant women, women with heavy cycles, and some particularly deficient people, we suggest regular doses of our delicious herbal iron tonic syrup. (Recipe Below)
BHC Herbal “Iron Woman” Tonic Syrup
This recipe changes a bit from year to year as there are different herbs that resonate with the certifications programs. This particular version comes from 2014-2015 Berkeley Herbal Center Foundations Class. The class named it the “Iron Woman” Syrup and for good reason.
This syrup is great for increasing iron levels and improves the health of the organs that transport blood, absorb iron, and remove waste—the liver, kidneys, and digestive system.
Herbal Iron Tonic Ingredient Breakdown
Nettle Leaf is high in iron, vitamin C, and other trace minerals.
Yellow Dock Root is bitter, known as a blood and liver tonic, and great for the digestive system – especially relieving constipation and loss of appetite.
Dandelion Root is a well known liver tonic, specific to improving the health of the liver’s ability to cleanse blood. This herbal ally is also very nutritive for the body.
Burdock Root is another root here to support the liver and kidneys in their actions. This ally is helpful for clearing heat and balancing blood sugar.
Astragalus Root is an adaptogen helping with fatigue and stimulating blood building and kidney circulation.
Rosehips are very high in vitamin C and mucilages. They add a higher healing vibration to your syrup and make it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients from all of the herbs.
Fo Ti Tincture is added to offer it’s kidney restoration essence here. It is especially good in this recipe for people that have
Water is life. It pulls out an amazing amount of nutrients from our herbal allyes and it helps to flush our liver and kidneys.
Molasses is dark and iron rich in its own right. We add it here predominately for the strong flavor that blends well with the bitter herbs from the recipe.
3 Tablespoons Nettle Leaf
1 Tablespoon Yellow Dock Root
1 Tablespoon Dandelion Root
1 Tablespoon Burdock Root
Tablespoon Astragalus Root
2 Tablespoons Rosehips
1 Tablespoon Fo Ti Tincture (optional)
8 cups Water
1 cup Molasses
How To Make Your Herbal Iron Tonic Syrup
Add yellow dock, dandelion, burdock, astragalus, rosehips, fo ti, and water to a pot.
Heat on low and simmer the herbs for 30 minutes to an hour, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Don’t let the pot come to a rolling boil, but keep it simmering.
Turn the heat off and add your nettle and stir in molasses.
Let your syrup cool and strain it into bottles.
Take a tablespoon 1-3x per day.
Did you make this Iron Tonic Recipe? Let us know how you like it in the comments!
Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash