6 Herbs High in Copper

Copper is a vital element that plays a role in cardiovascular and lung health, blood vessel growth, and more.  Copper is found in bones and muscles, it must be consumed …

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Written by: Siobhan Mendicino
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Medical Review by: Daniel Powers, MS
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Copper is a vital element that plays a role in cardiovascular and lung health, blood vessel growth, and more. 

Copper is found in bones and muscles, it must be consumed through a copper-rich diet.  It’s essential to receive adequate copper levels so the body can function at peak capacity. 

Providing the body with a diet of herbs high in copper is a great way to increase your copper intake.

In this article, we’ll review a list of copper herbs as well as the benefits of copper.

herbs high in copper

Copper Overview:

Copper is an element that naturally occurs in soil, water, and rocks. Its highly beneficial for both human and plant health. 

As one of the essential minerals, copper is important for many bodily functions. It supports the integrity of the cardiovascular system, lung elasticity, and the formation of red blood cells. Copper also helps with iron absorption and metabolism.   

Copper deficiency can lead to weak bones, anemia, reduced immune function, and an irregular heartbeat.  

6 Herbs High in Copper:

Below is a list of herbs high in copper. Add these to your diet to improve your daily copper intake.

herbs with a high copper content - mace

1. Mace (Myristica fragrans)

Mace is an herb from the “aril”, or covering, of the nutmeg seed. It has a rich therapeutic history in multiple traditional medicine systems, including Unani Tibb (Perso-Arabic traditional medicine) and Thai traditional medicine. 

This aromatic herb can be found when a nutmeg shell is cracked open. It appears as an orange/red lace that surrounds the nutmeg seed. Mace is dried and used as a “blade” or powdered in culinary cuisine and herbal preparations. 

Mace has a slightly bitter taste of cinnamon, black pepper, and pine. It is commonly used in soups, cakes, pastries, doughnuts, and fish. 

Apart from its widespread use as a kitchen spice, mace has also historically been used to ease indigestion, increase appetite, reduce inflammation, and support cardiac conditions. It is also used as an antioxidant to reduce the effects of oxidative stress and topically to relieve pain. 

It is estimated that 1 tsp of powdered mace contains .042 mg of copper. Mace can be added to various dishes or consumed dry as tea or in tincture form. 


Beyond being an herb with a high copper content, mace is also thought to provide benefits for indigestion, appetite, inflammation, and heart health.
herbs with a high copper content - poppy seeds

2. Poppy Seed (Papaver somniferum

Poppy seeds are tiny, kidney-shaped seeds from the poppy plant. They are most commonly used in various bakes, such as bagels, cakes, and bread. Apart from its copper content, poppy seeds are rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium.  

Poppy seeds are also used therapeutically to promote digestion and boost skin and hair health. The seeds’ fiber and mono- and polyunsaturated fat content are responsible for these actions. 

Contrary to popular belief, there are insignificant levels of the alkaloid opium in the seeds. 

It’s estimated that 1 tsp of poppy seeds contains .04 mg of copper. Poppy seed oil is used to make soap, varnish, and paint. Washed poppy seeds can safely be enjoyed in culinary cuisine.


Copper rich poppy seeds also work to improve digestion and promote healthy skin and hair.

herbs with a high copper content - turmeric

3. Turmeric (Curcuma longa

Turmeric is a popular herb in culinary cuisine and is the famous main kitchen spice in the Indian dish, curry. 

This herb comes from the rhizome, or underground stem, of the turmeric plant and is in the same family as ginger – the Zingerberaceae family. Turmeric has a characteristic orange color and can be consumed fresh or dried. 

Research shows that turmeric may reduce inflammation, help with arthritis symptoms, protect the heart, and alleviate allergies. Additionally, turmeric may have antimicrobial properties. 

1 tsp of turmeric is estimated to contain .03 mg of copper.

Turmeric can be used as a culinary spice or consumed therapeutically in tea or capsule supplement form. Additionally, turmeric is the main ingredient in the popular therapeutic beverage, golden milk


Turmeric contains high levels of copper while showing evidence of benefits for inflammation, arthritis, allergies, and cardiovascular health.
herbs with a high copper content - basil

4. Basil (Ocimum basilicum

Basil is a common garden herb that is easy to grow and popular in Italian cuisine. Frequently called “sweet basil,” this aromatic herb belongs to the Lamiaceae, or mint, family, along with holy basil and lavender

This herb has a potent taste with hints of anise, pepper, and mint. 

While basil is famously used in the kitchen for dishes like pizza, pasta, and mussels, it may also be used therapeutically to support digestion, increase brain functioning, boost mood, and reduce inflammation.   

It is estimated that 1 tsp of dried, ground basil contains .02 mg of copper. 

Basil leaves can be consumed fresh or dried and is the main ingredient in pesto. You can also enjoy basil as a tea.


Copper rich basil has been found to have the ability to improve digestion, cognition, mood, and inflammation.
herbs with a high copper content - spearmint

5. Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Known for its fresh and minty flavor, spearmint is an herb that is often used in oral products like gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. 

Spearmint also belongs to the Lamiaceae family with basil, and its leaves and oil have been used medicinally and to flavor various foods.

Research shows spearmint may help to improve memory, reduce inflammation, and act as an antioxidant. Spearmint also has adequate levels of calcium and potassium.   

It’s estimated that 1 tsp of spearmint contains .02 mg of copper. 

Spearmint leaves can be consumed fresh or dried and added to various dishes or enjoyed as tea.


Spearmint, another herb with high levels of copper, works to promote memory, lower inflammation, and has been found to possess antioxidant effects.
herbs with a high copper content - cilantro

6. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)

Cilantro is the common name for the leaves of the coriander plant (which also produces the coriander seed). It is highly aromatic and grows best in cooler spring or fall weather. 

These herbaceous leaves are often consumed fresh as a culinary flavoring or garnish. Cilantro also contains therapeutic properties, as its said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and pain-relieving activity. The seeds are used to help with indigestion, diarrhea, and nausea.

It’s estimated that 1 tsp of cilantro contains .01 mg of copper. Cilantro can be consumed as a kitchen herb, tincture, or tea. 


Copper rich cilantro is thought to also exhibit benefits for inflammation, diabetes, and pain.

Health Benefits of Copper:

Copper is a naturally occurring metal and the 25th most abundant element on Earth. It is essential for the processes of plants, animals, and humans but can also be highly toxic in large doses. 

One of copper’s main benefits is its ability to support an enzyme responsible for iron metabolism, energy production, and producing connective tissue. Humans can receive copper by ingesting plant and animal products. 

Copper food sources include

  • Seeds and nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Organ meats
  • Whole grain products
  • Wheat bran cereals 
  • Spinach
  • Avocado
  • Tofu
  • Chocolate 

Research shows that copper may support cardiovascular health, lung elasticity, blood vessel production, immune function, and brain development. Copper also works with an antioxidant enzyme to protect proteins, fats, and DNA material from free-radical damage. 

Copper is absorbed by the small intestine and stored in bones and muscles. If adequate doses are consumed, the body absorbs around 75% of ingested copper.

A copper deficiency can lead to various health conditions, like osteoporosis, anemia, immune issues, loss of skin pigment, and heart complications. 

Since copper is highly water-soluble, herbal infusions are an excellent way to consume copper.   


Your daily copper requirements differ based on your age.

Below is a helpful chart.

Age GroupRDA (micrograms/day)
Men + Women (19+ years)900 micrograms (.9 mg) 
Men + Women (14- 18 years)890 micrograms (.89 mg) 
Young Adults (9 – 13 years)700 micrograms (.7 mg) 
Children (4 – 8 years) 440 micrograms (.44 mg) 
Children (1 – 3 years) 340 micrograms (.34 mg) 
Infants (7 – 12 months) 220 micrograms (.22 mg) 
Infants (0 – 6 months) 200 micrograms (.20 mg) 
Pregnant + Breastfeeding Women1,000 – 1,300 micrograms (1 – 1.3 mg) 

It is important to note that these are the recommended daily allowances, which are the minimum amount of a nutrient a person needs to avoid a deficiency. Some individuals may need more or less depending on their needs and health conditions.


Supplementing with herbs high in copper provides numerous health benefits, supports bodily functions, and may prevent health complications like bone, heart, and immune issues. 

Although the body doesn’t require large amounts of copper daily to carry out essential processes, it’s crucial to ensure you consume copper-rich foods and plants to avoid problems.

 While copper supplements are sufficient, receiving copper from natural sources is best. 

Do you have a favorite copper herb? Let us know!

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About Siobhan Mendicino

Siobhan is a herbal researcher and writer. She has a bachelor of science in communications as well as having completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in herbal studies.