Top Iron-Rich Herbs: Boost Your Health Naturally

herbs high in iron

Feeling fatigued or experiencing pale skin? These could be signs of iron deficiency – which is especially common among women and children. There are plenty of supplements that can help cater to the problem, but more and more people are now looking towards nature’s pharmacy. Case in point: herbs high in iron.

With that said, this article dives into herbs that are high in iron – and can help you combat low iron levels naturally. These include some of our favorite dried herbs high in iron.

Before getting started: be sure to consult a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing severe anemia and health problems.

So, what herb is high in iron? Let’s find out!

Common Treatment Options for Anemia

People who have been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia are treated in multiple different ways. For one, they are recommended to take iron supplements. While these are effective in raising iron levels, they have gastrointestinal side effects, too. For example, you may feel nauseous and constipated. Digestive upset is another common side effect. And if you take them for too long without monitoring your levels, you’d be at risk of too much iron – which is toxic for your body. In severe cases, doctors may administer blood transfusions or intravenous iron therapy.

However, those with mild deficiencies are simply suggested to add more iron to their diet. This is also a great practice if you’re hoping to avoid anemia. According to a 2020 study on iron-rich foods, pulses, cereals, nuts, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of iron. Closely related to the final category (physically, biochemically and nutritionally) are herbs high in iron, our topic of discussion today. Below, we list herbs that are high in iron and should be consumed if you’re looking to give your iron levels a boost.

Herbs Rich in Iron for Anemia Support

Herbs have long been seen as a dietary source of iron, and have been leveraged as such. Even then, some varieties have higher iron content than others, with the top 10 listed below.

Yellow Dock

Yellow dock is one of the best plant-based sources of iron. It combines iron from the earth with vitamins (including B and C) and minerals needed to absorb it. The root vegetable also has bio-flavonoids – natural chemicals that boost blood circulation. Being a bitter herb, yellow dock stimulates the production of digestive enzymes, thus speeding up digestion. For such reasons, yellow dock makes for an excellent herb for treating mild anemia.

Nettle

nettle for anemia

Studies show that nettle is a good source of dietary iron. Beyond that, it is also packed with calcium, vitamin C (which helps with the body’s ability to absorb iron), and other essential nutrients. Nettle helps with inflammation and blood sugar levels, too.

Dandelion

Dandelion greens pack several minerals, including iron, as well as vitamin A, B, C, and D. It supports liver health and aids the absorption of iron—thus boosting the production of red blood cells and fighting anemia. Dandelion also has detoxifying properties.

Moringa

Moringa leaves pack high levels of iron, calcium and vitamin A. Studies show that moringa can also help with anemia in pregnant and lactating mothers. Fun fact: every part of the moringa tree is beneficial for humans and animals, giving it the name “the miracle tree”.

Spirulina and Chlorella

Spirulina and chlorella are blue-green forms of algae, both packing plenty of nutrients. When it comes to iron, however, chlorella takes the prize; an animal study shows that its consumption can help combat iron deficiency.

Alfalfa

Sprouts and young alfalfa leaves are herbs high in iron and vitamin K, giving them an antianemic effect. For mild deficiencies, regular consumption can bring haemoglobin levels into a normal range. People also consume alfalfa as a source of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Parsley

Parsley is one of the most frequently used herbs, and rightfully so! Along with being a blood purifier and detoxifier, it is used to treat anemia. This is because of its high iron content—and its ability to improve red cell counts.

Burdock Root

Burdock root is considered one of the top herbal blood purifiers. It can cleanse the liver and promote gut health, all while providing plenty of nutrients. These include iron, fiber, and prebiotics.

Red Raspberry Leaf

The popular red raspberry leaf not only provides iron but also supports women's health. Because it is full of essential vitamins and minerals, this herb is also widely used in traditional medicine.

Bonus Herb: Rosehips

rosehips for anemia

A bonus plants herb on our list is rosehip. While the herb itself may not be packed with as much iron as the options above, it is effective for anemia because of its high vitamin C content. This means it can help with the absorption of iron—an equally important part of fighting anemia.

How to Use Herbs for Anemia Support

Now that you know what herb is high in iron, we come to our next point: how can you use them for anemia support? There are plenty of ways to add herbs to your diet—it’s all about getting creative with recipes. For example,

  • Eat them fresh! Consuming herbs raw is one of the best ways to make the most of their iron content. You can add them to salads or use them as garnishing.
  • Brew herbal teas. Steep a teaspoon—or two—of dried herbs in hot water for a couple of minutes and then strain the liquid. You can also squeeze a lemon for extra vitamin C (to help with iron absorption).
  • Infuse herbs in hot water overnight. Place them in a jar, add some water, and let them sit for upto 12 hours. Strain them in the morning and enjoy throughout the day.

However, it is important to note that tinctures (made by soaking herbs in alcohol) are not a great option if you’re looking to obtain iron from the greens. Instead, consume them raw or opt for choices that involve the use of hot water.

Other Plant Foods Rich in Iron

Herbs high in iron aren’t the only way to add the mineral to your diet! There are plenty of other plant-based options that brimmer with iron andd are great to manage herbs anemia. For example,

  • Dried beans and legumes
  • Seeds,(e.g., sesame, pumpkin, flax) 
  • Nuts (including almonds and cashews)
  • Tofu
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Whole grains
  • Fortified cereals
  • Cocoa powder
  • Mushrooms
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
leafy greens for anemia

Precautions

Most of the the herbs we’ve listed are safe to consume, but it’s important to exercise caution, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. So, if you’re already taking certain medications—or are pregnant/breastfeeding—be sure to consult a healthcare professional before consuming them. Also, introduce new herbs slowly into your diet. This helps monitor for any adverse reactions.

Using Plants and Herbs for Anemia Support

If you’re looking to get more iron from your diet, adding herbs that are high in iron can boost your mineral intake. Be sure to consume them regularly—and as teas or syrups—to make the most of their iron content. Tip: Combine them with a balanced diet rich in other nutrients essential for red blood cell production. Especially vitamin B and C! These can optimize your body's ability to overcome anemia naturally.

FAQs

What are 3 foods naturally high in iron?

Three foods naturally high in iron are spinach, lentils, and tofu. You can consume these individually. But there are also plenty of recipes that use these foods all in one dish, for example, a curry to enjoy with pita.

How can I increase iron naturally?

Increase your iron naturally by consuming iron-rich plant foods. (Taking a start with the herbs high in iron is your best bet). There are also plenty of hydrating drinks high in iron, for example, apple juice, apricot nectar, and beet juice. Pair these with vitamin C sources (such as oranges) to ensure the iron is effectively absorbed into your bloodstream. Also, we recommend limiting your tea and coffee intake as these can inhibit iron absorption.

Conclusion

If you’ve been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia – you’re probably relieved to know what’s causing the symptoms! Now that you’ve caught the exact problem, it’s time to begin solving it. And supplementing your diet with iron-rich foods makes for a great (and natural!) start. Consider consuming the herbs that are high in iron, as well as other plant-based sources that you can use more often while cooking. For example, you can take dried herbs high in iron or consume them fresh. From yellow dock to red raspberry leaf, there’s plenty of variety to add. (Not to forget the vitamin C power of rosehip).

Working alongside a healthcare professional – such as registered dietitians and clinical herbalists – is the best way to determine which herbal combinations will be the best fit for you.

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