Monday Health & Wellness: Herbal Multivitamin Tincture

herbal multivitamin

One question that I get very often is “What vitamin supplements do you recommend?”  Frankly, I can’t fully recommend any brand on the market (although I’m not familiar with all of them; it’s possible some are good).  These supplements have many problems, which make them less-than-ideal solutions for getting the recommended nutrients.  It’s why I am excited to share this recipe for an herbal multivitamin with you today!

Commercial Supplements

These are some of the issues we’re facing with commercial supplements:

  • Many vitamin supplements are made with synthetic vitamins and minerals, which are not well absorbed (around 10%)
  • Many are made with stearates, which bind with the nutrients, making them less well-absorbed (especially gummy varieties)
  • Many are out of balance (certain nutrients “compete” in the body and one prevents absorption of another)
  • Many can be dangerous in isolation, leading to a deficiency of another vitamin
  • They’re not “living” foods, and they don’t come with the enzymes and other factors which increase absorption rates

Honestly it’s really hard to take most vitamins and supplements and do it well.  You don’t know exactly what you need or what you’re deficient in (unless you have expensive blood tests done on a regular basis, but who does that?).  You don’t know if you’re going to cause a deficiency in some other nutrient or if you even need the one you’re taking!

But where does that leave you if you’re concerned?  Sometimes diets are not optimal (in times of illness, stress, pregnancy, or with young children who may be picky eaters).  Our soil is depleted, meaning our foods aren’t as nutritious as they once were.  Besides eating a good diet with a wide variety of foods, how do we ensure our health without supplements?

Herbal Multivitamin

I have an answer for you.  Herbs are extremely rich in nutrients, and since they’re plants, these nutrients are in a balanced, synergistic form.  Adaptogenic herbs are known to help balance and help the body gently, without any side effects (which some herbs can have).  These herbs are safe to take daily, and are well-absorbed by the body.

The best way to take this is in a tincture, specifically a glycerin tincture.  Alcohol isn’t that safe to take daily (especially for children) and doesn’t extract the vitamins and minerals very well.  Glycerin does.  The result, when tincturing, is a super-concentrated herbal multi-vitamin.

This formula is safe for children and pregnant women, and can be used instead of standard prenatal vitamins (in my opinion; talk to your health professional).  It’s very easy and quick to make, and it’s sweet, so children will take it.

The herbs I chose for this formula are rich in the following nutrients:

  • B-vitamin complex (B-1 through B-9, including folic acid)
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin K
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Selenium

It’s an ideal way to get your vitamins!  For best results, take it with fermented cod liver oil, so that the fat-soluble vitamins will be properly absorbed.

How to Make It

Here’s the formula (to make one quart):

  • 6 tbsp. alfalfa
  • 6 tbsp. dandelion
  • 3 tbsp. catnip
  • 3 tbsp. nettle
  • 1.5 tbsp. spearmint
  • 2 c. vegetable glycerin
  • 2 c. filtered water

Follow the instructions on last week’s glycerin tincture tutorial.

Basically, add all of these herbs to a quart glass jar, add the glycerin and water, and shake to mix.  Leave it capped for about 6 weeks, then strain.

Easy to take, and very nutrient-rich!

**This post has been entered in Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Motivate Me Monday at Crafts Keep Me Sane, Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative, Make Your Own Monday at Nourishing Treasures, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Healthy2Day Wednesday at Day 2 Day Joys, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Women Living Well Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable.**

Do you take a multivitamin?  Would you try a making your own herbal multivitamin?

Comments

  1. Melissa Kay says

    How much are you to take daily. I haven’t had a chance to double check, but all of these herbs are safe for pregnancy correct? Are there any herbs rich in B12? Thanks!

  2. says

    Where do you get your vegetable glycerin? I’m pretty sure the one I got for cosmetics is food grade, but also made from GM corn. Is it nutritious enough that that is not an issue, or do you have a super duper source? I’m hoping the midwife I plan to go to next pregnancy will be fine with this instead of prenatals. The one I used for both C and N would not take you if you did not take the vitamins she gave you on a consistent basis and we were paying about $50/mo for the ones she had me take. Not wanting to do that again after researching vitamins!

  3. says

    wow yes this is fantastic. i cant believe it never even occured to me that it could be done this way. thanks for sharing. i will get on this program and also share inshallah (God willing).
    have a blessed day:)

  4. says

    I’ve always liked taking my herbs has “multi-vitamins”… You can also powder those herbs and mix them in juice or smoothie for daily doses. There are some good ideas at Bulk Herb Store. I will save this though! Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    OK, a couple more questions: Nettle leaf or nettle root?
    The Mountain Rose Herbs website says that catnip is not recommended during pregnancy — what are your thoughts? Mountain Rose Herbs also says that nettle is not recommended for long term use — thoughts?
    Thanks for all you help!

    • Rachel says

      Nettle leaf, not nettle root. Nettle root is good for prostate problems but not so much for what most people want out of nettle. Nettle leaf is one of the herbs that almost anyone can take at any time. I’ve never heard of a recommendation to only use it for a limited time. I know Susun Weed recommends it daily for all seasons of life. It’s gentle, supporting the liver and kidneys, full of nutrients. I drink an infusion of it almost daily and can the difference (low energy) when I stop for a while.

  6. Jacque says

    I only make glycerin tinctures and I have found that essential wholesale has the cheapest glycerin. On the nettles, I belong to herbmentor.com and they encourage us to have a nettle infusion daily. I don’t know everything about herbs but what I have read many times is that nettles is a nourishing herb and can be taken daily.

  7. says

    Cool idea. How do you know that the vitamin K is being moved from your vegetables to the water? Vitamin K is fat soluble and I am not sure if the redistribution to equillibrium from the vegetables to the water will produce much vitamin K on the side of the water. I am worried that the vitamin K will equillibrate with most of the vitamin still left in the soggy vegetable. In this case you are assuming that most of the vitamins that you want will go into the water.

  8. Nicole says

    Hi! So my question is this, my 9 mo old is anemic and just starting solids. I don’t want to do the drops and would like to try this…here is the question part, does this takes 6 weeks before we can use it? And if so, what do we do in the meantime? Thanks!

  9. Dori M. says

    what about using the dried herbs in a tea? would the goodness also come out of the herbs in hot water?
    Thank you.

    • Kate Tietje says

      Hi Dori, yes, but it wouldn’t be as potent. The hot water will extract the vitamins and minerals but since the tea would sit only for 20 – 30 minutes, it wouldn’t have as much. A better idea would be to add the herbs to hot water in large amounts (in a mason jar) and then let it sit overnight to make an infusion. I’ve been doing this lately with red raspberry leaf and it helps me.

        • Kate Tietje says

          Argh, how did I not know vegetable glycerin contains corn? Seriously? Apparently the baby isn’t as sensitive to it as he used to be….

          Anyway, the answer is vinegar. Vinegar is great at extracting the nutrients and safe. It just won’t be very fun to take. :)

          • Rachel says

            Vinegar isn’t so bad if you add a TBS or so to a cup of water with some raw honey :) Or as a salad dressing. Lots of ways to get it down without having to “shoot” it.

  10. Jennifer Narlee Horstman says

    I was wondering what part of the dandelion to use? and the others too? I can pick all these things around my house but need to know what part of the plant to use. Thank you, I am very excited to try it.

  11. Tara Mehna says

    I’m taking vitamin K2 supplement these days. Can’t feel any improvements yet but I’m certain there will be in the next few months. :) Hmm, I’m actually curious about what you mentioned – herbal multivitamin! Will probably try it as soon as I feel it is better than I try right now. :)

  12. says

    Couple questions for you Kate – are you guys still taking this? Can you tell a difference (or did you) in your energy level when taking it versus not? Also, is it good for men too?
    Thanks! I appreciate your help and all the research you put into your site.

    • Kate Tietje says

      Hi Deanna,

      Yes, still taking it. I am, anyway. I feel like I have more energy and generally feel better. I was having some joint pain that may have been deficiency-related and this is rare when I am taking this. Sure, it is a general multi-vitamin so it is good for men. I am working on a formula that is more specific to men but this is fine for anyone.

    • Kate Tietje says

      You need either glycerin or vinegar — something to extract the nutrients, yes. But one or the other will work.

    • Kate Tietje says

      From what I can tell (from Susun Weed and other sources), this may be better avoided if you are at high risk for a miscarriage or otherwise are sensitive. For many women this is not a problem. It is on the “maybe” list.

  13. Charity says

    I made this and it has been about 4 weeks so far. There is the clear brownish liquid and then a cloudy liquid. Is it still okay? Thanks!!

  14. says

    I made this recipe yesterday and found out that I couldn’t double it because I only ordered 16oz of glycerin (duh!). So I went back online to order more and found that what I had used was organic soy derived glycerin. Soy- YUCK! I started my search and found that there are several vegetables to derive glycerin from: coconut, palm kernal, soy, and corn. The coconut derived glycerin has been the most expensive and is coming in smaller quantities (4oz), but I did find palm kernel derived made by NOW Foods in a 16oz bottle for about $12. For now, I’m using the soy and palm kernel, but will likely save my pennies to make it again with the coconut (about $6/4oz). Other than that, I’m super excited to start with my multivitamins… only 5.5 more weeks.

  15. Ashley says

    Hi!
    I know this was written a few months ago but someone in a FB group shared it and I decided to check it out! I love herbal multivitamin tinctures! Nettle is a favorite of mine :) it alone is such a good multivitamin! Reason I comment though is about a statement you made, that alcohol “doesn’t extract the vitamins and minerals very well.” I was just wondering if you meant for this tincture specifically? As everything I’ve read up until now has always advised that alcohol does a better job of extracting on the constituents in herbs. I’d like to try glycerin, as I prefer the taste and have small children as well, but I’ve avoided due to it being made from either GMO corn, or organic soy (and I just don’t like using anything soy). If it does a better job extracting the vitamins though, the benefit may outweigh all of that (or hopefully I’ll find a superior source of glycerin!).

    • Kate Tietje says

      Hi Ashley,

      Alcohol does do a superior job of extracting the medicinal compounds, but not the vitamins and minerals (this according to Susun Weed, I believe). When I am making medicinal tinctures to be used in tiny amounts, like my pain tincture, I use alcohol. If I’m after the vitamins and minerals, then I use glycerin. A water infusion is good too, or vinegar is supposed to be even better, but not very palatable!

      There are other forms of glycerin besides those derived from corn or soy. NOW brand, I have been told, is derived from palms (I used that). There is also coconut glycerin. So I’d just choose one of those. :)

        • Kate Tietje says

          Try taking about a teaspoon and mix it into something else. I have not done it as an alcohol tincture before so I am not sure, but I wouldn’t start with more than that.

  16. LM says

    I still haven’t been able to find a recommended daily amount to take (or more likely, I’ve just missed it!). Can you please confirm what that daily amount should be. Thank you!!

    • Kate Tietje says

      About 1 tbsp. for adults and 1/2 – 1 tsp. for children, although I usually take as much as “feels” right to me — which may be 2 – 3 tbsp. if I am deficient (like in early pregnancy).

  17. Kelly Villarreal says

    Can the herbs be fresh or dried, or a combination? I have catnip and spearmint growing in the garden but the others I will have to find, just not sure if I have to dry them or if I can pop them in fresh? Thanks-I’m so excited to try this!

    • Kate Tietje says

      Some say fresh are really even better for tinctures, but I don’t have access to them. If you do, go ahead and use them!

  18. says

    Question (or two)… I would need to leave out the catnip and mint, as I am at high risk for miscarriage when we decide to try again. If I take out those herbs, do I need to add more of the others or adjust the liquids or anything else in some way?
    Also, how strong of a scent does this have once finished? I have hyperemesis gravidarum when pregnant, and even the thought of my natural multivitamin literally makes me sick. So, I’m thinking this might be good to try when we get pregnant again and am hoping the scent isn’t too strong. Maybe if I could just get a little down it would help me some, even if some came back up! I most definitely can’t take other vitamins, so it’s worth a shot! Every little bit helps. I definitely have time to make it before I would need it, and I just placed an order with Mountain Rose Herbs that actually contains all of the other herbs that is due to arrive today, so I have the main ingredients – just need to get the glycerin. Thanks so much for this post!!

    • says

      Hi there – I was wondering if anyone could help with the questions I posted above, since it involves needing to leave out a couple of the herbs in this recipe due to miscarriage concerns and how the recipe might need to be adjusted. I read that these herbs are good for adding B vitamins in, as well, which is important b/c I have hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancies, and extra B vitamins is often part of the treatment. So, I’m trying to find out how to adjust the recipe to leave out the mint/catnip, if anything else could be added to replace the minerals/vitamins those herbs would have given, and then if the liquids need to be adjusted with different amounts of herbs, as well. I’m hoping to make this really soon before we start trying, but I need to figure these other details out first. Thank you so much!

      • Rachel says

        another option for you would be to get a capsule machine and put the herbs in one to take. Dr. Christopher has a couple of different vitamin’s if you want to buy already made ones. Not sure if I’m allowed to post his website, I’m a studying to become a master herbalist through his school, but if you google Dr. Christophers herbal combinations you will find the site.

  19. Rachel says

    Really appreciate your website/blog/info…but IF THIS BLOODY WEBSITE DOESN’T STOP POPPING ALL OVER THE PAGE I’LL HAVE TO UNSUB–don’t take the caps as mean, but as an indication of how much I WANT TO READ YOUR WEBSITE…today is Sunday….

  20. Angela says

    Hi Kate. I would love to make this but we are on a VERY VERY tight budget so I don’t have money for “extras” and the glycerin is kind of expensive. If I used raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar would that be okay? Then we’d have the added benefit from the daily ACV. Would I use it in the same quantity as the glycerin, or just straight ACV with no water?

    • Kate Tietje says

      Yes. Vinegar is actually excellent at extracting the vitamins and minerals. Just not very palatable. :) I *think* you still want 1/2 and 1/2 but I have not used vinegar yet to make a tincture so I’m not sure.

    • says

      Thanks, Vinessa! I actually recently sent them a message on faceboook and just received their Making Babies book that we ordered. I am planning on asking them some of these specific questions to make sure I get the herbs I need without using some of these others that concern me with my history. Thanks!! :)

  21. says

    I purchased all of these herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs and I have a batch going. I would like to know if these herbs can be pulverized and into capsules and taken that way? And, if so how much is recommended to take? Thanks for any assistance that you may be able to provide.

    • Kate Tietje says

      I am not sure about the capsules — you might have to take a lot more, but it would still be beneficial. It is more easily absorbed in the liquid form but you can certainly try it. I am uncertain on dose.

  22. Kate says

    I’m pretty sure alfalfa was one thing WAP doesn’t recommend taking, there is an article in Nourishing Traditions that specifically mentions it not being good for you. Thoughts?

    • Kate Tietje says

      I think that has more to do with the fact that alfalfa has been approved as a GMO crop. I searched for it and can’t find anything about WAP speaking against alfalfa, and because of its high vit K content and I have heard many recommend it.

      • Val says

        I am also concerned about alfalfa’s estrogenic properties since I’ve had uterine fibroids and other signs of estrogen dominance–would you say the concern is valid? Do you have another herb that you’d recommend in it’s place? And in what proportions? Thanks so much for your help–I am truly in love w this idea!!!:)

    • Kate Tietje says

      You could add red raspberry leaf. I wouldn’t add echinacea because it shouldn’t be used on a regular basis — only during illness. I’d make a separate tincture of that just for times of illness if you wanted. You could add oatstraw. Make sure you stick to adaptogenic herbs and not ones that cause specific effects on the body.

        • Kate says

          “There is only one seed we do not recommend in spouted form (or in any form) and that is–suprisingly–alfalfa! After mung beans, alfalfa is the variety of sprout that has caught on in the health food world. Unfortunately, it seems that all the praise heaped on the alfalfa sprout was ill advised. Tests have shown that alfalfa sprouts inhibit the immune system and can contribute to inflammatory arthritis and lupus. Alfalfa seeds contain an damino acid called canavanine that can be toxic to man and animals when taken in quantity. (Cavanine is not found in mature alfalfa plants; it is apparently metabolized during growth)” – nourishing traditions
          So is the dried alfalfa mature and therefore doesn’t contain cavanine?

          • Kate Tietje says

            Right, the mature, dried alfalfa doesn’t have the same issue as the sprouts. Those who have blood clotting issues, lupus, or other known conditions shouldn’t use it, but for others it’s a rich source of vit K.

  23. says

    Hmm… I’m not sold on the use of dried herbs for tincturing. I would use them perhaps but glycerin creates a very weak tincture compared to alcohol. I’ve also never read about glycerin extracting vitamins while alcohol does not. Tinctures are not typically used for vitamins but infusions are. I think infusions are the route to go with these herbs. Using your herb combo and steeping a 4-day infusion (1 quart of infusion, drinking 1 cup per day) would be a better use of these herbs. Another glaring issue is that herbs should be measured by weight and not volume.

  24. Joni says

    My husband is concerned about taking this because, in switching to natural tooth care, we’ve read that glycerin (in toothpaste) coats your teeth and prevents them from remineralizing. Is this an issue in just swallowing the tincture? Otherwise, I think it is a wonderful idea and can’t wait to try it!

  25. says

    Just wondering if there was anything to replace the dandelion that would be nutritionally equivalent? My husband is allergic to dandelion. Thanks!

  26. melydia says

    I have purchased all of the ingredients to make this tincture, but I had a few questions. Is this safe for nursing mothers? I assume that it is since it is safe for pregnant women. I sort of thought that any kind of mint would dry up your milk, should I leave out the spearmint if I am nursing?
    Thanks!

    • Kate Tietje says

      Yes, I take it while nursing. Some women find that mint affects their supply; others don’t. I haven’t had an issue. You could try a small amount of mint tea a couple times to see if it’s likely to affect you, then decide if you want to leave it out or not.

      • melydia says

        Thanks! I might just leave it out for now, my baby is just 6 weeks old and I want to make sure he’s gaining as much weight as possible. I will definitely be making this tincture soon. I’m tired of taking expensive supplements that aren’t properly absorbed anyway!

  27. Leah says

    What is the dosage for this? I’ve made it and it’s definitely helping my energy level, but I really don’t know how much I should be taking.

  28. Tara says

    From what I read catnip isn’t safe when pregnant… It can cause uterine contractions (miscarriage, premature labour etc) are there any other herbs that have similar nutritional value that are safe when pregnant?

    • says

      Catnip is in the mint family, and any mint is “iffy” while pregnant. I used it (all mints) because I have no history of complications. If you are worried, you can skip both the catnip and the spearmint and try oatstraw. If you have no issues, using them in small quantities this way should be fine.

  29. says

    This is such wonderful & helpful information to Vegans. I will be preparing mine with Apple CIder Vinegar instead of alcohol or glycerin. Thank you so much for taking the time to put together this information for the world!

  30. Amethyst Leroux says

    I cannot wait to try this recipe!! I just wanted to know if it is dandy lion leafs or flowers or roots??? Thanks

  31. Jillian says

    I’m curious if you could mix this up dry and brew it as a tea? If steeped for 10-15 minutes and consumed daily, would you still get the benefits? We drink a lot of tea and it seems like it would be more enjoyable than 3 T of glycerin or other tincture medium. Thoughts? Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Jillian,

      Sure, you could use it as a tea. It wouldn’t be as potent, but you can. I like the glycerin personally but feel free to try whatever makes the most sense to you! Have you thought of a decoction? That’s where you boil the herbs for 20 – 30 minutes. So it would be really strong.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Liquid, herbal multi-vitamin — I usually make my own, because this is cheap and relatively easy.  I have noticed a significant difference when I’ve been taking it regularly again lately.  I feel more tired at night, I fall asleep more easily, and I sleep more deeply.  In the morning I feel more rested and I have more energy.  I have a better appetite.  Overall I just feel better.  Because this is based on real herbs, with all their vitamins and minerals in synergistic proportion, it is also not going to lead to overdoses and out-of-balance nutrient levels.  I take both of these supplements together right before I go to bed.  The fat in the FCLO increases the absorption of certain nutrients in the liquid herbal vitamin.  When I don’t have my own on hand, or if I’m traveling, I usually take Trilight Health’s Blue-Green Minerals.   […]

  2. […] Herbal Multi-vitamin — I thought this was a good idea when I came up with it.  But now that I’ve been taking it for a few months, I think it’s a really great idea.  It’s made me feel so much better.  It’s so simple and easy, too.  It takes a few weeks to make (i.e. ‘wait time’), but it will last on the counter for several months after that.  I’ll be talking about one of my favorite uses for this in a couple of weeks. […]



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