Most people don’t realize the importance of trace minerals, probably because they are required in amounts too small to be significantly appreciated in the diet.
Nevertheless, they are incredibly important.
Read on to learn exactly what trace minerals are and how you can ensure proper levels of each with select mineral rich herbs.
What Are Trace Minerals?
Also referred to as micro minerals, trace minerals are inorganic substances needed by your body in small amounts to facilitate normal physiologic functions. Generally, you only need about 20 milligrams of each trace mineral on a daily basis.
However, specific amounts required by the body vary with age and sex. Despite the fact that they are only required in small amounts, they are very vital to your overall health because each trace mineral has its unique benefit to the body.
A few of the most common trace minerals include:
Why Should We Care About Getting Enough?
It is important to keep your mineral stores in their proper proportions by eating a healthy and balanced diet and supplementing with mineral rich herbs where necessary.
Trace minerals contribute to the makeup of enzymes – protein substances in the body that aid in metabolic processes. Some trace elements are even constituents of hormones and some cellular components.
Consequences of insufficient intake of these trace minerals can be devastating.
Complications often present with symptoms of nutritional deficiency, which can lead to a long list of diseases.
Symptoms of trace mineral deficiency include:
- bloating or abdominal pain
- reduced competence of the immune system
- loss of appetite
- irregular heartbeat
- increased muscle cramping
- numbness and tingling of the extremities
- nausea and vomiting
Fortunately, you can prevent many of these symptoms and their associated diseases by eating a variety of mineral-rich foods and certain mineral-rich herbs and supplements.
Dangers of Trace Mineral Deficiency
The data is frightening. Some estimates propose that about 80% of adults are in one way or another deficient in trace minerals responsible for a whole host metabolic processes in the body.
The dangers of trace mineral deficiency include:
- breakdown of the cardiovascular system
- weakened bones
- reduced brain function
- and much more
Without some of these trace minerals, certain cells in the body can’t make energy. There are also certain nerves and muscles that won’t work properly as well.
Over time, uncorrected trace mineral deficiencies can even start to harden your blood vessels, leading to serious vascular diseases.
To prevent these complications from coming to fruition, health and nutritional experts advocate for adequate consumption of trace minerals.
That, of course, begins with diet, but there are also some herbs rich in minerals that can protect you against mineral deficiencies.
4 Mineral Rich Herbs
Alfalfa, also known as Medico sativa or lucerne, is a plant that has been grown chiefly as livestock feed for many years. It became reputable and highly prized for its rich content of minerals, vitamins and proteins when compared to other feeds.
Although it is considered an herb, alfalfa is part of the legume family. It owes its origin from South and Central Asia. Nevertheless, it has since been grown in many parts of the world over the centuries.
Besides being used as animal feed, alfalfa has also been used historically as a medicinal herb for humans.
It can be consumed in two forms. You can either take its seeds or dry leaves as supplements or sprout the seeds and eat them as alfalfa sprouts.
Alfalfa contains a variety of nutrients in impressive quantities. For instance, a cup of alfalfa sprouts, which weigh about 33 grams, contains the following nutrients:
- 13% vitamin K
- 5% ascorbic acid
- 3% manganese
- 3% copper
- 3% folate
- 2% magnesium
- 2% riboflavin
- 2% thiamine
- 2% iron
- 1 gram protein
Studies have shown that alfalfa can help reduce the levels of total body cholesterol. These studies have proven that about 40 grams of alfalfa can decrease total cholesterol by 17% after 8 weeks of continuous consumption. This effect is attributed to the high levels of alfalfa saponins.
Alfalfa also helps to lower blood pressure, increase breast milk production, treat arthritis, and get rid of kidney stones as it is an effective diuretic.
2. Dandelion leaf
The scientific name of dandelion leaf is Taraxacum officinale. It is often considered the powerhouse of herbal medicine due to its varied nutrients.
Dandelion is often regarded as a weed, which is a mischaracterization since dandelion leaf can be of great benefit to human health.
Dandelion leaf is a mineral rich herb that contains a wide array of beneficial nutrients. Every part of the plant is edible – from the roots to the leaves, to the crown and flowers.
Comparatively, dandelion has more potassium than bananas, more vitamins than carrots and more protein than spinach.
Nutritive value of half a cup of dandelion leaves can be broken down as follows:
- 4% fiber
- 3% protein
- 5.1% calcium
- 2.5% magnesium
- 5% iron
- 3.11% phosphorus
- 0.87% sodium
- 0.73% zinc
- 5.5% riboflavin
- 56% vitamin A
- 4.3% thiamine
- 3.45% vitamin B6
- 16% vitamin C
Traditional Chinese medicine used dandelion leaf mostly for supporting the liver.
Ideally, it supports liver health by suppressing the process of fat accumulation in the liver. It also contains antioxidants that promote normal profiles of lipids as well as blood sugar. These antioxidants are effective in protecting the liver and other body organs against oxidative stress from free radicals.
There are about 500 different species of nettle found in tropical and temperate climates around the world. It is commonly called stinging nettle, and its scientific name is Urtica dioica.
Throughout Europe, nettle leaves are consumed more like spinach, exhibiting remarkable nutritive value.
And don’t worry, its infamous “sting” is removed by drying, cooking, and/or soaking the leaves.
Nature is remarkable. It seems extraordinary that a plant that appears so unpleasant at face value can yield such health benefits when they are prepared well.
Nettle is an incredibly mineral rich herb. Its mineral profile includes:
It also has a rich measure of beta carotene, quercetin, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
The benefits of nettle include improved differentiation of cells, enhanced vision, and boosted immune system. It also helps with bone metabolism and has been proven to enhance blood clotting.
Nettle also has some pain relieving properties, anti-inflammatory effects as well as antioxidant effects.
4. Red Raspberry Leaf
The red raspberry plant is the source of the widely eaten red raspberry fruit. Besides providing sweet and tasty fruit, both the fruit and the leaf can be used as medicine. In fact, they have dominated the world of herbal medications for centuries, especially in the realm of women’s health.
Red raspberry leaf is mostly used to manage disorders of the gastrointestinal system such as diarrhea, disorders of the respiratory system such as flu and disorders of the cardiovascular system.
It also manages fever, diabetes, and some vitamin deficiencies.
Red raspberry leaf is sometimes indicated for skin and blood purification, promoting sweating, encouraging urination, and enhancing bile production. Raspberry leaf is also a classic remedy for painful periods (dysmenorrhea), heavy periods (menorrhagia), morning sickness secondary to pregnancy, as well as to ease the process of labor and delivery.
The theory behind its use during labor is because it has nutrients that relax blood vessels and cause smooth muscle contraction and relaxation depending on the dosage.
The mineral-rich nutritive value of raspberries and red raspberry leaf includes an impressive amount of manganese and potassium as well as vitamins K and E. It also provides minute amounts of riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, calcium, and pantothenic acid.
Trace minerals play an essential role in keeping physiologic processes in sync. Most people suffer from mineral deficiencies due to a lack of mineral rich foods in their diet.
One way to ensure you get enough minerals is to supplement with mineral-rich herbs like the 4 mentioned above.
Knowing the importance of trace minerals, we created our organic liquid trace mineral supplement with the above herbs and others to make it easier than ever to protect against mineral deficiencies!