Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Iron tonic

I have been trying to write a post on my health issues that led me to going gluten free but it is such a long story that I am afraid that everyone will loose interest before getting to the point....if there even is a point!!?!?

Maybe the point would be the amount of sheer research I have had to do to even get to this point....and I am not there yet.  I am not to the point where my body is reacting normally to 'what I do to it'...Soon I hope...there is a light at the end of this tunnel .....if it isn't a train comin at me.

About 6 months ago I was diagnosed with dangerously low iron.  Like crazy low iron. That and crazy low B vitamins.  It was a great huge puzzle piece to my full health picture.  My doctor got my B vits up with a couple of vit B12 shots but also with heavy supplementation.  My body responded great to this and my next blood draw my B was right where it should be......but the little bugger iron just wouldn't budge.  I managed to get it from 9 (it should be in the 70s for a menstruating woman) into the low 30s but no matter how I supplemented it just wouldn't get any higher.

One of the very few high-lights of our southern vacation last month was a visit with old friends, Rebecca and Brad, who now live down there.  We spent the day trashing their house and eating their food while our collective four children ran around like manics.  It was fantastic!!  While I love them equally, I am particularly fond of Rebecca.  She is a Naturopathic Doctor and we have endless things to talk about.  During this visit the topic of iron levels came up and she had a great suggestion to help bring it up - An Iron Tonic!! She gave me a recipe to make when I got home.

A really dumb thing about it is that when I got home I realized that I own the bloody book the recipe came from!! I had just never made the connection between my iron issues and some of the other resources/tools I have in my arsenal. Of course I added iron rich foods to my diet because I am all about food being medicine but then I stopped thinking.......

So with no other additional changes I added this into my daily routine

Iron Tonic
2 ounces dried Yellow Dock roots
4 tbsps honey (I actually replaced this with 2 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp molasses)
2 tbsp brandy (optional)

Put the roots into a quart jar, fill completely with boiling water, cap well.  Infuse for 8 hours or over night.  Strain plant material out and discard.  Steam liquid over a very low flame until it is reduced to one cup.  Do not boil or simmer.  Add honey (or molasses which increases the iron content) and stir until it dissolves.  Turn up fire and bring mixture just to the boil.  Pour boiling hot into a very clean jar.  Add brandy or other liqueur if desired.  Cap. Cool. Then store your tonic in the refrigerator

Yellow Dock roots concentrate iron from the earth and offer it to us combined with minerals and vitamins needed for best iron absorption in our bodies.  Rises in the hematocrit (a measure of iron) of as much as a point a week are reported by women taking this iron tonic during pregnancy and after hemorrage

The dose is one or tow tablespoons daily
*Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan S. Weed

Now I haven't had any new blood work since I started taking this daily but even if I am in the 40s it is making a slow difference that nothing else has been able to do.  I have noticed a little more brightness in my vision and a quicker recovery of my muscles when I do physical activity which are all good signs.  It is pretty easy to take and doesn't taste terrible at all (although it smells like it might)  My Yellow Dock roots cost $10.00


IPinkYou said...

Do you know if this is something that can be given to a 13 month old? Maybe not daily? I think I will try this for myself, but thought it might be a good natural way to supplement iron for young children.

Emily Grace said...

IPinkYou - although part of me thinks it would probably be safe for kids in a very small dose I would also recommend looking into yellow dock and making sure it is a child safe herb. Susan Weed has written a few book on herbal health but none of them are aimed at children. I will have a closer look and get back to you. I do know that molasses is a great source of iron for the little ones and they will usually even lick it off a spoon because of how sweet it is. Start with that