Special Feature Alkalising Herbs Alkaline body is the key to better health ALKALINE foods have become a bit of a modern day buzzword among natural health advocates, who recommend consuming more alkalising foods to ward off diseases such as cancer. We hear how the right foods and practices can heal the body of some serious health issues. One of the most intense alkaline-increasing practices that we might employ is to add herbs to our diet - eating them or taking them as herbal teas everyday to effectively counter common acidic health problems. The human body needs an alkaline environment to continue functioning optimally as nature designed. Once the alkaline reserves are depleted by excessive, acid-forming eating and living habits, the body starts to break down and disease manifests. We may have heard of the 80/20 alkaline-forming diet that is wisely promoted. It recommends 80 per cent of our diet should be comprised of alkaline foods. Indeed this is foundational to any health plan, but now let’s talk to talk about how we can up the ante on this concept through the pertinent addition of powerfully alkalising herbs to our diet. Our cells love alkaline herbs Herbs are naturally alkaline, which we have learned, is fundamental to maintaining healthy conditions in the body that promote its innate healing. Many common symptoms of ill health are indications of acidity building up in the tissues; the build up of toxins around the cells causes pain and disease in the body. A variety of alkaline herbs can be very effective at swiftly helping the body to clear acid wastes; increasing blood quality, circulation and lymph drainage. When our body is very acidic, we are unable to readily absorb minerals and other nutrients from the food we eat. The liver becomes overtaxed and sluggish and accordingly the body is slow to repair damaged cells and detoxify heavy metals or other toxins. This impaired function weakens the immune system increasing susceptibility to fatigue and illness; such is the acidic, congested state where tumour cells tend to thrive. Herbs provide a powerful antidote to excess acidity Alterative herbs are basically blood cleansers that alter and correct a polluted condition of the blood stream. The blood stream is the river of life and when in a state of disease, the blood is constantly trying to neutralise poisons and transport them to be eliminated. Alteratives will gradually restore proper bodily function and increase health and vitality. Many diseases such as skin conditions, the roots of which lie deep within the metabolism of the individual, may be shifted by using alterative herbs. They cleanse the whole body, but their activity is focused in different areas, such as the kidneys or the liver. Our liver’s main function is to detoxify the body by processing and discarding toxins. Unfortunately, the liver sometimes can’t do its job properly as we tend to over-burden it with artificial chemicals, flavours, additives and residual pesticides (to name a few) that commonly lurk in foodstuffs. Acid, food wastes, and the body’s natural cellular waste also can cause accumulation of toxins in the body, resulting in disease at any organ, joint or tissue site. Blood purifying herbs cleanse the blood and lymphatic system of acids and other poisons that are causing disease, imbalance and irritation, by stimulating the cleansing functions of the liver, bowels and kidneys. Ultimately herbs leave the body in an alkaline state for healing to take place. Sure signs of excess acidity Excess acid waste is the cause of many ailments. If your diet is composed mostly of meats, fish, cheeses, breads, white flour foods, white sugar foods, greasy take-aways, coffee, processed chocolate, wine, beer and cigarettes, you are a prime candidate for acidic health problems. These begin to distinguish themselves in myriad common everyday symptoms that you may recognise. These are not serious as such but are the initial precursors to much more serious conditions that could develop were the hyper-acidic condition not kept in check. They are as follows: acne, agitation, bloating, chemical sensitivities to odours and gas heat, cold hands and feet, constipation, diarrhoea, dizziness, excess head mucous (stuffiness), food allergies, heartburn, hot urine, hyperactivity, indigestion, arthritis, joint pains that travel, lack of libido, low energy, metallic taste in mouth, mild headaches, muscular pain, skin problems, panic attacks, PMT, rapid heart beat, rapid panting breath and white coated tongue. Entrenched acidity We could progress now to long lists of more serious conditions that start to arise when acidity becomes more entrenched; some of the more problematic hyper-acidic conditions such as asthma, bacterial and fungal infections, depression, cystitis, gastritis, migraines and psoriasis to name a few. Eventually if left unchecked, the body goes into deeper crisis and advanced conditions present such as various cancers, Chrohn’s disease, lupus and such - this list is exhaustive. Herbs help balancing pH A Healthy body’s pH level should be around 7.4. The time of day or foods you eat may affect your body's pH level, making it either more acid or alkaline. Herbalists teach that all herbs, especially bitter herbs, are alkalising. Once food has been digested it leaves either an acid or alkaline ash. The body uses the minerals from herbs to alkalise the tissues and because herbs are so concentrated in botanically chelated minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and manganese - and because they are low in protein - they will leave an alkaline ash. In order to alkalise the tissues we should include alkalising herbs regularly everyday to our diet. Keeping our joints flexible When the body becomes too acidic, the joints can seize up with conditions such as arthritis or gout. The body needs to maintain a constant pH level of about 7.4 (slightly more alkaline than water) in the blood to help the synovial fluid (for joint lubrication) stay in a fluid state, as the fluid is more viscous in the presence of acids. Pain and stiffness in the joints is due to insoluble calcium complexes formed as a result of the neutralisation of the acid pH in the blood, lodging in the joint spaces. Further to this; an acidic condition can leach calcium from bones and teeth that is used up by the body to neutralise acid in blood and intracellular fluids. This of course increases the probability of osteoporosis and dental caries. Change to a plant-based diet The most significant effect on blood pH and body fluid pH comes from the food that we eat. Each type of food will, after its digestion, leave a residue in the blood, which is either acid alkaline or neutral. The diet, which leaves the greatest amount of alkaline residues in the blood and also keeps the body systems in a more alkaline state, is one that is low in protein, low in complex carbohydrates and is unprocessed. This ideal alkaline diet is fresh, organic vegan food. This can be too hard-core for many, but then making the diet predominantly plant-based by focussing on vegetables and fruits will definitely make an alkalising difference. Other alkalising foods worth including are: buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, almonds, brazil nuts, coconut, chestnuts, sprouted pulses and seeds, fresh vegetable juices, green super foods such as wheatgrass and spirulina and, of course, herbal teas. In short, acid-forming foods to decrease or avoid include meat, dairy products, eggs, sugar, refined grains, liquor, wine, beer, coffee, soft drinks, drugs and tobacco. Most drugs and chemicals are acid-forming and set up a breeding ground for disease. Herbs offer an easy re-mineralising program for the body. Herbs are the most alkaline foods There is so much information now online and in print discussing what to eat and what not to eat to increase alkalinity, and indeed it is recommended that you do further research and make whatever amendments are necessary in your diet to create a more alkaline body so that you can enjoy better health. The purpose of this little article is to point out that it is herbs that can provide a certain, concentrated and rapid way to become more alkaline and thus healthier. Keep them near and make them a big part of your life, and you will find that you are effectively warding off future suffering.
Special Feature How to begin alkalising your body WE CAN SEE now that there are many good reasons to drink herbal teas regularly to increase the body’s alkalinity more effectively. They can give you emergency support to reverse an acidic condition, purifying the blood and the kidneys. Some of the top herbs to drink or eat are: alfalfa, dandelion, burdock root, milk thistle, red clover, horsetail, meadowsweet, willow bark, chick- weed, nettle, green tea, rooibos, chamomile, lemon balm, lemongrass, marsh- mallow, corn silk, barberry, uva ursi, wood betony, bladderwrack and kelp. Other strong alkalising herbs are: black-cohosh, borage, buchu, buck- thorn, calendula, cardamom, cayenne, celery, chaste tree, cleavers, coriander, damiana, echinacea, elderflowers, elecampane, eyebright, fennel, fever- few, ginger, ginseng, golden seal, hops, lady’s mantle, linden flowers, liquorice, marjoram, motherwort, mullein, myrrh, oat straw, passion flower, peppermint, plantain, prickly ash, raspberry leaf, sage, rosemary, rhubarb root, saw palmetto, shepherd’s purse, skullcap, slippery elm, St john’s wort, thyme, valerian, vervain, wild yam, witchazel, yarrow, yellow dock. You may also note that most of these herbs are in dried form in the Tinderbox herbal tea range. Other alkalising things we can do: Eat raw: Raw living food is alkaline forming. Eat as much as possible - ripe fruits, fresh greens and vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds and some alkaline grains such as quinoa and buckwheat, sea weeds and vegetables, and super foods such as spirulina, certain mushrooms (such as shitake) dried grasses, bee products, maca root and raw chocolate. Herbs: Add fresh and dried herbs to food whenever possible to become more mineral dense. Chew: Chewing food thoroughly increases alkalinity, as saliva is alkaline. Almonds: Snack on raw, unsalted almonds. Almonds are packed with natural alkaline minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which help to balance acidity while balancing blood sugar. Soak and sprout: Soak nuts, seeds and legumes overnight to sprout them before consuming; this leeches them of enzyme inhibiters and makes the nutrients more accessible and digestible. After soaking, you can dehydrate them at 40degC until crispy. (About 36 hours for almonds, 24 for walnuts and 8 hours for pumpkin or sunflowers seeds.) Let them cool and store in an airtight container. Breathe: Deep breathing can release at least 50 per cent of body toxins, so train your self to engage in deeper, more conscious breathing, using all of the lungs. Meditate: Yes it is true, meditation and relaxation techniques are also alkalising. When the body moves into stress mode the digestive system shuts down and toxins cease to be eliminated. Thus the more toxins you keep in your system, the more the body will store them away (acids) in fat cells. Anything we can do to calm the mind/body will have a huge impact on alkalising the body. Exercise: Do healthful exercise such as walking or yoga to help move acidic waste products so your body can eliminate them. The practice of Yoga cleanses the acids from the joints and organs by mindfully and intelligently moving the body with conscious breathing. Balance: Be aware that too much excessive, strenuous exercise can lead to acidity in the form of lactic acid. Bathe: Bathing in Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate), sea salts or alkalising herbs can help to alkalise the skin and tissues. Avoid: Drugs also tend to lead to an acid state; avoid whenever possible. Essential oils: Essential oils, the essence of plants, are highly alkalising, as they possess a special frequency that the body and mind recognises. When they are applied to the air or the body, their electromagnetic vibration increases cell resonance. Some of the most powerful essential oils for alkalising are myrrh, frankincense and sandalwood. Lemon: Squeeze a lemon into warm water and drink first thing in the morning. Remember that the acid in lemons turns alkaline after digestion, but if the lemon is left cut and un-fresh, it will leave an acid residue. Reduce: Sugar is one of the most acidic foods, so try to avoid sugar-laden desserts or soft drinks. (More than 30 glasses of neutral water is needed just to neutralise the acidity from one can of soft drink.)
If you haven’t already, start eating alkaline foods, thinking alkaline thoughts and doing alkaline-forming yoga and meditation so you can create a high energy, well functioning, beautifully aligned body. Alkalising your body allows your organs and cells to function at their optimum – steady blood pressure, slower ageing process, better digestive function and more vitality. Herbs are the very thing we need to help us do the job. Go make yourself up a nice pot of herbal tea to drink throughout today.