Herbs to Use
When infusing herbs into vinegar, one of the most popular herbs to take this way is stinging nettle. Here's some more about it:
If you have a weary view of this plant, think again! This plant is very rich in vitamins and minerals, similar to seaweed in terms of the level of minerals it contains in the leaves. The stinging hairs cause a sting by injecting a chemical into the skin when contacted - this is de-natured by drying, or by simply putting the fresh herb in boiling water for a few moments. So it's very safe to work with as an herb (just use gloves or a whole lot of care when harvesting!), and it's great for vinegars because 1) vinegars work well at extracting minerals and 2) since nettles is so food-like you can easily incorporate it as a vinegar into your diet.
Nettles is often chosen by people who are looking to get more minerals such as iron in their diet for various reasons. It's high mineral content lends it to also supporting kidney function and lymphatic flow, so people often use nettles for skin complaints. Additionally, if you make a vinegar or tincture of the fresh plant this is something that a lot of people use daily during allergy season for support.
For each of these categories you can make these infusions individually, or feel free to blend them all together and make them into one infusion.
Mineral rich herbs (for cooking or hair rinse)
- Red clover
Antimicrobial herbs (for cooking or cleaning)
Citrus (for cleaning)
- Peels of lemons, oranges, grapefruit, and/or limes
How to enjoy vinegars
We love that herbal vinegars are so versatile and easy to incorporate into everyday life. Here are some of the many ways you can use your herbal vinegars:
- Drizzled over fresh fruit and ice cream
- Use in your favorite salad dressing
- Homemade cleaning products
- Hair rinse
- Shrubs (a fruit and vinegar drink)
- Any recipe calling for vinegar
In the cases of those herbs listed above, the dosing is liberal, meaning it's ok to have 1 to several teaspoons per serving (although with lavender you may want to be a little less liberal, unless you're ok with an impromptu snooze! and also be cautious about overdoing it with horsetail, because it contains a high amount of silica).
If you were using stronger herbs, like lobelia, the dose would need to be controlled much more, in which case you shouldn't eat it liberally in food, but would take it by the drop or dropperful in the same dose as a tincture. If you're not sure the dosing for a particular herb, we advise looking it up (see resources at the beginning at the course) or asking an herbalist (comment here or e-mail [email protected]).
Photo below: Stinging nettle, a favorite herb of herbalists, and a mineral-rich herb that works really well in herbal vinegars. We love nettle!
*Don't consume horsetail in excess, because its high silica content could damage the kidneys.