Vinegar is a great medium to use to extract vitamins and minerals from herbs. A long, cold infusion, known as a maceration, is used to get maximum phytochemical extraction from the plants.
Vinegar extracts are also a great method to use when dealing with fresh plants as the high acidity and low oxygen does not allow for pathogenic fungi or yeasts to grow.
When making a herbal medicine with vinegar, or in this case a mineral food supplement, I choose to use apple cider vinegar because it already has a whole host of beautiful benefits of its own, including being antioxidant, improving gut health, being anti-inflammatory, and good for heart and circulation health.
For this vinegar I chose weeds that were growing well in and around my garden and orchard. While there’s a lot of interest in eating weeds these days and wild foraging of edibles, many weeds are not the most palatable to include in your diet on a daily basis, even if they are packed with good-for-you nutrients. An easy way to extract some of this goodness is by infusing mineral rich weeds in vinegar and enjoying that as a supplement, or in salad dressings, marinades and other meal add-ons.
- apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”)
> Stinging Nettle
> Dandelion Greens & Flowers
> Red Clover Flowers
> Yarrow Flowering Tops
Harvest fresh weeds and give a cursory shake or rinse to get rid of dirt and bugs. *
Pack into a clean glass jar (wide mouth is easier)
Top up with apple cider vinegar, tapping and inserting a bamboo skewer to get rid of all the bubbles
Close jar with a non-reactive lid (plastic), or if you only have a metal lid, first do a layer of plastic or baking paper so that the vinegar does not interact with the metal lid.
Leave to infuse in a cool place (not direct sunlight) for at least a month (4 weeks) or preferably longer.
Strain the weeds and compost
Bottle the vinegar and take a spoonful a day **for a mineral boost, or use it instead of pure apple cider vinegar in sauces, dressings and marinades.
** Try not to have prolong contact between your teeth and the cider vinegar as it is corrosive to tooth enamel. Some people dilute the vinegar in water and sip it wiht a straw.
Nutritional values below from specialtyproduce.com, healthline.com, juliasedibleweeds.com, and draxe.com
Chickweed Stellaria media
Vitamins: C, A, B vitamins (such as thiamine, riboflavin and niacin)
Minerals: magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc.
Other: protein and fiber, saponins, flavonoids, tocopherols, phytosterols.
Apparently chickweed has 6x more vitamin C, 12x more calcium, and 83x more iron than spinach.
Stinging & Burning Nettle Urtica dioica & Urtica urens
Vitamins: Vitamins A, C, K, as well as several B vitamins
Minerals: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium, also chlorophyll, cromium, cobalt, sulphur
Fats: Linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid
Amino acids: All of the essential amino acids
Polyphenols: Kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids
Pigments: Beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids
Plantain Plantago lanceolota & Plantago major
All plantain varieties are high in protein
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, boron, calcium, iron, molybdenum, potassium and sulphur
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Dandelion greens are an excellent source of:
Vitamins: A, C, K, E, B-vitamins
Minerals: Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Potassium
While medicinal uses abound for yarrow, including it being styptic (stops bleeding), good as a sedative, for gut health and blood pressure, inflammation and skin health, not a lot of nutritional info could be found.
One text mentioned : flowers and leaves are rich in nutrients and phytonutrients, including flavonoids, carotenoids and terpenes.
Red Clover Flower Trifolium pratense
Although it’s not usually taken to provide high amounts of essential nutrients, Trifolium pratens is also a source of many different vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, including calcium, chromium, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C and more..