Herb Questions Answered! A look at Iron and Calcium Absorption

For the past few weeks I have been participating in our local farmers market. Being a work at home mom, it is so enjoyable to get out and talk to people about something I am so passionate about. During these days I get asked many questions and to be honest I don't always have a very thorough answer; often later in the day I think of so many other options I could have mentioned and sometimes I am left with research to do. Being a herbalist truly is an ongoing learning process, and I am certainly a 'learn by doing' type as opposed to someone who can remember tons of info. Lots of it I do have banked away in the old brain, that is why I spent nearly 5 years practicing on friends, family and pets before I felt confident enough to begin this venture but some things do still stump me, and some are asked so commonly I thought it would be good to share them with you here.

Please feel free to comment or email in any questions you would like to see answered during this series, it is highly inspirational.

So here is the first one I wanted to share; as I was promoting my Vitali-Tea blend I was mentioning how it is loaded with Iron, Calcium and other vitamins and minerals and a woman said 'Well doesn't the Calcium interfere with the Iron absorption?' and went on to explain that her doctor had advised her to take her Iron and Calcium supplements at separate times. Intuitively I knew that the plants worked differently and there was no issue but I really wanted to get to the bottom of it so I went into full research mode. I consulted my herbal teacher and she told me what I already knew that the plants worked synergistically with your body and to myself this is a perfectly reasonable explanation but I wanted to be able to back it up and understand it fully. As I delved in further and further I became more confused. The studies showed that heme and non heme (plant and animal) while they are absorbed through different receptors in the body were in fact both affected by Calcium when consumed in levels higher then 40 mg. and equal to 300 mg in a meal, this particular study added Calcium in the form of dairy which led me to study and think about how pasteurized dairy actually leaches calcium from our bones and does more harm then good... which led me totally off topic! Finally I concluded to give up the research. I couldn't find anything that was completely conclusive in any way so I am left with my experience; while I was pregnant with my first child (currently I am expecting my second) I drank my Vitali-Tea blend each and every day. During pregnancy your Iron levels are checked during your first trimester and then again in the last trimester to make sure that your levels are high enough. Many women are so low by their last trimester that they need intravenous iron infusions because during pregnancy you create 3 x the regular amount of blood for you and your new baby. When my levels were tested my Iron levels had increased. My midwife said I was a freak of nature... maybe that was my term but it was similar, she was very surprised and impressed and I truly believe it was the tea that helped. So after all of the research all I can say is that it worked wonders for me! And I am led back to understand that the reason is that the herbs work synergistically with our bodies, allowing them to absorb whatever is needed.