If you've been reading the blog for some time, you'll know I'm not at all a fan of typical multivitamin supplements. Namely because of what is in them, specifically the folic acid, vitamin D, iron, vitamin A, and beta carotene (but you can read all the specifics of why here). Synthetic supplements have a very poor track record proving positive user benefit, making your monetary investment a real waste.
So why not instead invest in specific real foods that contain a wide variety of real food nutrition?
Today I'm sharing one of my favorites, and it's super easy to make. I mean, did you know you can put herbs in a fresh press, add water and drink the next day to improve your health? This type of strong tea left to steep for many hours is called an infusion and can be used like a daily multivitamin, made from REAL food!
This simple recipe starts with dried nettle leaf (like this) and oatstraw (like this). Simply combine about ½ cup of each herb into a 3-6 cup french press or large mason jar. Pour 3-4 cups boiling water over the dried herbs and leave for 8-12 hours (or overnight). Consume the next day or within 24 hours to get the benefits of this food sourced liquid multivitamin! Oh, and watch out-- whole food nutrients are MUCH more potent than synthetic vitamins will ever be!
Nutrition Facts from Susun Weed:
Oatstraw- "Reduces high cholesterol, increases libido, and strengthens the nerves. A cup of oatstraw infusion contains more than 300 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of many other minerals. Its steroidal saponins nourish the pancreas and liver, improving digestion and stabilizing moods. Oatstraw is best known however for its ability to enhance libido and mellow the mood. Do be careful whom you share it with, or you may find yourself sowing some wild oats. In Ayurvedic medicine, oatstraw is considered the finest of all longevity tonics" (S. Weed, 2002).
Nettles- "Builds energy, strengthens the adrenals, and is said to restore youthful flexibility to blood vessels. A cup of nettle infusion contains 500 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, and zinc. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, D, E, and K. For flexible bones, a healthy heart, thick hair, beautiful skin, and lots of energy, make friends with sister stinging nettle. It may make you feel so good you'll jump up and exercise" ( S. Weed, 2002).
Skip The Multivitamin, Choose Real Food Instead
According to a 2013 article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the debate about supplements should be over:
"In conclusion, β-carotene, vitamin E, and possibly high doses of vitamin A supplements are harmful. Other antioxidants, folic acid and B vitamins, and multivitamin and mineral supplements are ineffective for preventing mortality or morbidity due to major chronic diseases. Although available evidence does not rule out small benefits or harms or large benefits or harms in a small subgroup of the population, we believe that the case is closed— supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful. These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough." 
A 2007 study in JAMA had similar findings:
"Treatment with beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E may increase mortality. The potential roles of vitamin C and selenium on mortality need further study." 
Stop taking supplements that you don't need
That's why I'm a big fan of skipping the multivitamin approach with my clients and taking a real-food supplement approach... You can learn more about my approach by watching the video below:
Instead, we collect data on their own nutrient levels and use a combination of food and food-sourced supplementation (with tiny doses!) whenever possible to support any identified deficiencies. And then let your otherwise healthy diet do the rest of the work.
Here's a few other tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid GMOs and non-organic foods that are contaminated with herbicides that are known to chelate mineral levels (specifically iron, cobalt, molybdenum, and copper) . Eating organic and avoiding GMOs is the best way to reduce your intake of synthetic herbicides like Glyphosate.
- Use testing to identify any nutritional deficiencies and use food + very small amounts of supplementation if needed for short periods of time to address any deficiencies.
- Always listen to your body in the process and pay attention to how you feel whenever you introduce new foods or supplements.
Ready to get your own custom food + supplement plan? Click here to get started.
Weed, Susun S. "Healthy Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way." Menopause-metamorphosis.com. Susun Weed & Ash Tree Publishing, 2002. Web. 20 May 2012.
Hi there! I just popped over from your comment on my butter post and found this post on oat straw and nettle infusions - Funny, I just recommended this same blend to a patient who is trying to conceive and dealing with a lot of over-thinking and worry. Great minds think alike. 😉
Great minds indeed! I personally love the milky flavor of oatstraw added to the nettles, and it adds a bit of nutritional diversity 🙂 Comfrey is another favorite!
Do you strain it before drinking it?
Yep-- just like you are making tea. You can also make this in any sort of jar, but a french press makes straining easy 🙂
I would have never thought of making my own liquid multivitamin... thanks for sharing
Can't wait to try this! Is this safe to consume while breastfeeding?
I believe it is safe during breastfeeding (I recall oatstraw actually helps with milk production). You might want to start with a very small amount to be cautious, and slowly increase. I'd also recommend checking with you Dr. or Midwife to be sure.
Lately I have been reading a lot about the benefits of oat straw. I would like to try it, however I have a gluten sensitivity. Is oat straw gluten free, or is it, like most oats, cross-contaminated?
I can't guarantee it won't affect you (since every source of oatstraw is probably different). But none of my gluten sensitive clients have had a problem with it.
How much of the herbs would I use if they were powdered?
I'm not quite sure. Sorry!
Hi Catherine...I'm curious about the dosage. Do you really drink the entire batch the following day, or is it better to take a smaller dosage? I guess it just seems it would get expensive to make that quantity every day, so I thought I'd ask.
A batch will last a day or two (depending on whose drinking it). Even just a few times a week is great!
How's the taste? I ordered these herbs after watching Susan's videos and found the tea undrinkable- and I really tried! Good idea using a French press!
Would it be more pleasant if you diluted it more or added honey? I personally like the taste, so it might just be a preference thing 😉
Thanks for reading!
I put a little peppermint tea leaves and we like it that way. We feel much more energetic since starting to use this in place of the multiple vitamin supplement we used to use.
Thanks Catherine and Jeanie, I think I was using too many herbs for the amount of water, or maybe over-steeping. I'm following this recipe and I actually really like it now!
Found it hard to stomach as well. Very acidic feeling.
Would this be good for men as well as women?
I have a question. My hubby already takes stinging nettles for his allergies which works wonders! Are stinging nettles the same as nettles?
The capsules I get are 100% nettles... no fillers. SO I was thinking I would just get the outstraw and start taking some of his capsules. What do you think?
I made this last night in my french press and tried it for the first time this morning. I thought the flavor was fairly mild and not unpleasant. Will try to do this a few times a week and see if I notice any differences. Thanks for the recipe - I love this site.
Is there a limit to long term use or taking it everyday? Could these be used everyday indefinitely or more just a few times a week? I love your website. Just tried making this- and LOVED it- made me feel GREAT!
Could this be made into a tincture, or would that cut down on the potency, since it wouldn't all be getting used right away?
Hello, can I use my coffee french press for this? or will my coffee start tasting like these herbs? Also, Does this take the place of all my supplements? Krill oil, enzymes, umbiquinol, Whole food multi, Astaxanthan ect. Sorry for the misspelling of some of these.
I ALWAYS drink my herbal tea this way OR in a plain ol' canning jar if I am on the run..
The BODUM presses also have a 'to go' attachment -- which is on my list 'to buy"
Great post. Yes.. I've gone through 4 or 5 French presses. LOVE THEM!!
Just wanted to comment as a follower of Susun Weed that the infusion should always be made in a jar with a kid that be tightly sealed. Susun always recommends using quart canning jars and specifically recommends against the French press method.
Ginny Jones Jeffery
Is it okay to combine herbs in one infusion? I think I read somewhere that Susun doesn't combine. It would certainly be easier, and adding some raspberry leaf to the mix improves the taste for me. Does anyone know the answer to this? Is combining two or more herbs into one infusion contraindicated?