Are you one of over 30 percent of the world’s population suffering from anemia, termed by The World Health Organization as "the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world"? Following a plant-based diet could put you in the 80 to 90 percent of vegans and vegetarians facing a vitamin B12 deficiency (NIH1, NIH2). Harvard Medical School warns women of their vulnerability to falling short on crucial vitamins and minerals due to factors like age, hormonal changes, and others, including vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, and calcium, among other essential nutrients.

Whether or not you fall into one of the categories above, minerals are indispensable to us all for achieving optimal health. Yet, many of us overlook their significance, inadvertently leading to deficiencies that can seriously affect our physical and mental well-being. From iron to potassium, calcium to zinc, and magnesium, understanding these essential minerals is pivotal for maintaining vitality throughout life's various stages, from the womb to the golden years. 

To simplify insights on common nutrient deficiencies and offer a few tips on course correction, this brief guide aims to offer: the opportunity to explore some essential minerals you might be lacking, their links to mental health, insights into mineral basics, a spotlight on potent mineral-rich herbs, and step-by-step instructions for crafting your own mineral-rich tea at home.

Recognizing the symptoms of common mineral deficiencies is crucial. For example, iron deficiency often presents with fatigue, weakness, pale skin, and shortness of breath. Potassium deficiency may show as muscle weakness, cramps, and irregular heartbeat. Calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones, muscle cramps, and dental issues, while zinc deficiency may result in impaired immunity, hair loss, and slow wound healing. Magnesium deficiency can cause muscle spasms, insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue. Identifying these symptoms early on can prompt timely intervention to address mineral imbalances before they cause discomfort, dis-ease, or more serious illnesses.

Fortunately, addressing mineral deficiencies can often be achieved through simple dietary adjustments, herbal supplements, and lifestyle changes. Incorporating mineral-rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains can supply essential nutrients for optimal mineral levels. Additionally, targeted supplementation with high-quality mineral supplements or herbal remedies can help replenish depleted stores. Lifestyle factors like stress management, sufficient sleep, and regular physical activity also play a significant role in supporting mineral balance and overall well-being. By adopting a holistic approach that considers both nutritional and lifestyle factors, proactive steps can be taken towards correcting these deficiencies and promoting vibrancy.


Minerals 101: Understanding the Basics 

Minerals are inorganic substances found in nature, essential for various bodily functions. They are categorized into two groups: macrominerals and trace minerals. Macrominerals are needed in larger amounts, while trace minerals are required in smaller quantities.

Here are some key minerals you might already recognize, and a bit about their functions:

  1. Iron: Essential for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, and weakness.
  2. Potassium: Regulates fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. A deficiency in potassium may cause muscle weakness, cramps, and irregular heartbeat.
  3. Calcium: Vital for bone health, muscle function, and nerve transmission. Inadequate calcium intake can increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  4. Zinc: Supports immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. Zinc deficiency may impair growth, weaken the immune system, and lead to hair loss.
  5. Magnesium: Involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including energy production and muscle function. Low magnesium levels can contribute to muscle cramps, fatigue, and mood disturbances.

Minerals are indispensable for maintaining various bodily functions and ensuring overall health. Studies have shown that minerals play vital roles in enzymatic reactions, hormone synthesis, and cellular signaling pathways. Macrominerals, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, are required in larger quantities, while trace minerals, including iron, zinc, and copper, are essential in smaller amounts but are equally critical for optimal health.

Sodium, another macromineral, is crucial for maintaining fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions. However, excessive sodium intake has been linked to hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, emphasizing the importance of balanced mineral consumption. On the other hand, trace minerals like selenium and iodine are essential for thyroid function and antioxidant defense mechanisms.

Research has also highlighted the interconnectedness of minerals and their impact on overall well-being. For example, adequate levels of magnesium are essential for the absorption and utilization of calcium, contributing to superior bone health. Similarly, zinc deficiency can impair the absorption of iron and lead to anemia, underscoring the importance of addressing mineral deficiencies comprehensively. Understanding these interrelationships can guide us in optimizing our mineral intake and promoting improvements in our overall well-being.


The Connection Between Minerals + Mental Health

The link between minerals and mental health is another profoundly rich area of study, infinite possibilities, and potential clues to how we might approach our own journey to restoring or revitalizing our emotional and psycho-spiritual health. It’s fascinating to consider how deficiencies in certain minerals can impact our mood, cognition, and overall mental well-being. For example:

  • Iron deficiency has been associated with cognitive impairment and increased risk of depression (The Journal of Nutrition).
  • Low levels of potassium may lead to fatigue, irritability, and mood swings (Hawai‘i Medical Journal).
  • Calcium deficiency has been linked to anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances (Neuropharmacology).
  • Zinc deficiency has been implicated in mood disorders, including depression and anxiety (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
  • Magnesium deficiency is associated with symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia (Nutr J.).

Alternatively, research also suggests that directly addressing mineral deficiencies can positively influence mental health outcomes. For instance, recent studies have uncovered intriguing connections between selenium levels and mood regulation. Selenium, an essential mineral with antioxidant properties, has been implicated in various mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety. Emerging evidence suggests that optimizing selenium intake through dietary sources or supplementation could play a role in improving mood and reducing the risk of depressive symptoms.

Novel findings like these open up new avenues for exploring the intricate relationship between minerals and mental wellness, offering potential insights into innovative approaches for mental health management that could possibly weave together traditional and modern medicinal practices.

Plant Allies That Support Mineral Deficiencies 

There are countless herbal allies that are naturally rich in essential minerals, offering botanical remedies that may effectively address deficiencies and promote whole person wellness.

Here are some notable examples of potent plants that may counteract the symptoms of mineral deficiencies, their potential benefits, and how they work:

  1. Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) Algae: A nutrient-dense superfood, spirulina is packed with iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and other essential minerals. It also contains antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable addition to any diet.
  2. Chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris) Algae: Similar to spirulina, chlorella is a nutrient-rich algae that provides an array of minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. It also supports detoxification and immune function.
  3. Moringa (Moringa oleifera) Leaf: Known as the "miracle tree", moringa leaf is a powerhouse of nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It offers antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
  4. Chanca Piedra (Phyllantus niruri) Leaf: Traditionally used for kidney and liver support, chanca piedra is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Spanish for “stone breaker”, it also aids in digestion and detoxification.
  5. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Root: Dandelion root is a natural diuretic that supports kidney function and helps maintain electrolyte balance. It contains minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
  6. Nettle (Urtica dioica) Leaf: contains high levels of vitamins and minerals such as  Iron, Calcium, and Potassium. Strengthens kidneys, adrenals, and urinary tract. Gentle daily detoxifying agent. 
  7. Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) Flower: Also known as tulsi, holy basil is revered in Ayurveda for its adaptogenic properties. It contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, and it helps reduce stress and promote mental clarity.
  8. Lemon (Citrus limon) Peel: Lemon peel is a potent source of vitamin C and minerals like potassium and calcium. It supports digestion, detoxification, and immune health.
  9. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) Leaf: Lemongrass is rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, making it a valuable addition to teas and culinary dishes. It aids in digestion, relieves stress, and supports immune function.

Different types of greens have been utilized throughout every culture in history for their ability to provide many essential nutrients to the body. The microbiome thrives on micronutrients and minerals that these wondrous herbs provide, which is why we also recommend you try these master mineralizers from our apothecary:

Collagen Booster: This botanical blend is the ultimate beauty boost! It may also aid in repairing and restoring body tissue. Our plant-based collagen is an easy-to-use, bio-available extract powder formulated with adaptogens, ancient herbs, and flowers that help to support radiant hair, glowing skin, healthy nails, and more. Horsetail (Equisetum arvense), for instance, is especially rich in minerals, particularly silica, which plays a crucial role in collagen formation, an important ingredient for maintaining the strength and elasticity of connective tissues.

Additionally, horsetail contains other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, vital minerals for various physiological functions in the body, including bone health, muscle function, and nerve transmission. Horsetail is often used in herbal medicines as a natural source of minerals to support overall health. Many holistic practitioners believe that consuming horsetail supplements or infusions can help replenish mineral deficiencies, particularly silica, in individuals who may not obtain sufficient amounts from their diet alone. 

Read more about these miraculous herbs on our blog.

Viridem Elixir: This highly cleansing green formula is made with some of the most iron-rich botanicals, leafy greens, and algae available today. Viridem, meaning Green Light or Green Healer, is packed with superfoods and high potency mineralizers with the ability to oxygenate the blood, encourage alkalinity, support deep nourishment, and purge the body of toxic buildup. The high chlorophyll content further supports the liver by digesting old fat, releasing bad oils, dispelling inflammation, and bringing in potent nutrient chemistry. 

To learn more about the powerful herbs in this formula, keep reading here.

Whether enjoyed as teas, supplements, or culinary ingredients, natural remedies like these offer a holistic approach to nourishing your physical, mental, and emotional bodies with thoughtful plant-based formulations by trusted herbalists (like us!). By prioritizing your mineral intake and letting Nature lead the way, you’ll be thriving in all aspects of life—only a few simple adjustments required. 

How to Make a Mineral Rich Tea 

Nettle - contains high levels of vitamins and minerals such as  Iron, Calcium, and Potassium. Strengthens kidneys, adrenals, and urinary tract. Gentle daily detoxifying agent. 

Gynostemma  - Adaptogenic leaf that reduces inflammation, balances brain activity, and reduces stress and anxiety. Rich in antioxidants and minerals.

Horsetail - strengthens bones due to its high concentration of silicon, a mineral needed for bone health. Boosts hair, skin, and nails. 

Oatstraw  - Nervine rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, and B Vitamins. Reduces inflammation and deeply soothes the nervous system. It’s high concentration of minerals strengthens bones + teeth. 

Alfalfa - rich in minerals + vitamins A, C, E, and K, which play important roles in muscle function and bone health. 

Rosehips - Packed with vitamins and minerals. Particularly high in Vitamin c, which benefits the skin, muscles/joints, and the immune system  

How to make a mineral rich tea: 

  • To make a mineral rich infusion, simply place one ounce of dried herb in a quart jar or French Press. Add one quart hot water, cover and let steep for several hours or overnight. Heat up as desired or drink as an iced tea. 
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