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Archive for Body Systems

Simples: American Ginseng

The word “simple” can have a few definitions if one were to look it up in the dictionary. One definition of simple is “easy to understand, deal with, or use.”  In reference to plants, the definition refers to an “herb or plant used for medicinal purposes.”  Obviously, as a natural health practitioner, this definition is my favorite, and I am excited to be bringing a “simple” to Natural Health Dialogue each month.  It is my hope that the information I share is “easy to understand, deal with, and use”. 

This month’s simple is American Ginseng.

Ginseng, derived from the Chinese word jen-shen meaning “the essence of man”, has long been valued in Asian countries and was once so revered that only the emperor was allowed to collect the plant.  Panax ginseng is the Asian or Korean species of ginseng and continues to be one of the most highly prized herbs in the world due to its ability to increase energy, physical stamina, and agility.

American Ginseng or Panax quinquefolius has historically been widespread in the Appalachian or Ozark regions of the U.S.   The temperate climate and shady, rich soil in these mountainous regions provide the unique requirements for the growth of ginseng. However, due to overharvesting and urban growth, the ginseng supply is far less than what it once was.  Fortunately, small doses still provide significant health benefits. 

While American Ginseng is less stimulating or energizing than Korean or Asian Ginseng, it contains similar energizing compounds called ginsenosides and a second group of compounds called panaxanes.  These compounds appear to have even more health benefits that include helping the body cope and adapt to stress, boost the immune system, and regulate blood sugar.  Ginseng also has antioxidants that are important in helping to prevent free radical damage that can cause premature aging.

This month, in our holistic dialogues, Dr. Lee has discussed digestion and how important it is for us to be digesting well.  As we age, digesting and utilizing nutrients well can become difficult.  American Ginseng’s medicinal properties make it greatly beneficial in building up and nourishing the digestive organs as well as helping the body to absorb nutrients more efficiently.

While generally safe and non-toxic there are some that should not use ginseng.  Persons with high blood pressure, acute inflammation, or acute illnesses such as cold or flu should not use ginseng.  High doses can cause insomnia and overstimulation.  However, 100 mg one to two times a day can be an effective long-term tonic for digestion, and the other health benefits listed above.

If you think American Ginseng is for you, we would love to help you here at The Health Patch.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030 and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

Healthy Body Systems – Enzymes

We’ve just completed a full year in which we covered the very important topic of how to cleanse each body system to allow it to function at an optimum level, free of toxins and sludge buildups.  Now this year, as we look at the proper functioning of these systems, we’ll consider “what does it take to allow the systems to have the nutrients to allow them to stay healthy.

For this first offering of the year, we’ll consider enzymes – what are they, why do we need them and how do we get them.

What are enzymes? They are biologically active proteins found in every living cell.  They fall into two different categories. Metabolic enzymes are regulatory; they regulate every biochemical reaction occurring in your body. They are essential for overall health. Digestive enzymes primarily turn the food we eat into energy. There are over 1300 different enzymes found in the body and they combine to numerous coenzymes to form around 100,000 chemicals to carry out virtually all of our body processes. As we look at our digestive system, we will be more concerned with the digestive enzymes – those that break down our foods so that we may extract the nutrients we need to “feed” our bodies.

Why do we need them? Nutrients from the foods we eat could not be extracted without their being broken down into a mush-like substance. This allows the friendly probiotics to “digest” them and then excrete them in a liquified form. Then the intestinal villi may absorb them and pass them along into the bloodstream for delivery to the cells that require them. Enzymes facilitate this process as well as allowing the waste byproducts of digestion to be discarded.

How do we get them? There are several functions that allow us to get the enzymes we need.

Firstly, the body produces some of them and they are secreted along the digestive tract.  Around 50 or so are produced and stored in the pancreas. A “trigger” in the stomach announces the arrival of food components and the pancreas secretes those enzymes needed for the breakdown of the specific foods found in the stomach. The liver, gall bladder, small intestine, stomach, and colon also play a role in this process. And the quantities of enzymes our bodies produce are affected by our age and the health of the various components of our digestive systems.

Secondly, raw foods we consume contain enzymes to help in the digestion of those foods themselves. Unfortunately, those foods generally only contain specific enzymes, and in appropriate quantities, to digest that food itself. Further, cooking and processing these foods destroy most of the enzymes they contain. This fact has led many people to consider a completely raw diet which is difficult to carry out and impractical for most.

Thirdly, these two shortcomings often lead to the necessity for supplementation. Which supplements you need is determined by the foods you eat and the need to know which enzymes you need to add to your diet.

A list of the most common enzymes which would help your dietary needs would include protease and peptidase for digesting proteins, amylase and glucoamylase and malt diastase for starches, lipase for fat, cellulase for fiber, and invertase and alpha-galactosidase for sugar. And it is good to know that in most cases, plant-based enzymes work better than those that are chemical based.

One article I researched stated that almost “one out of every three people in the US experience some kind of digestive problem. Though many suffer, few have to. The typical benefits of enzyme supplementation include reduced digestive distress, increased energy, and improved regularity.”

If you have digestive issues, talk to us about enzyme supplementation. Add “digestive” to your list of Healthy Body Systems!

–  Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

Annual Cleansing Summary

It’s been a great year for focusing on body system cleansing in general. I started in January talking about each body system and how it functions, trying to focus not so much on the specifics of the functioning as on “what could go wrong” in each system that would cause them not to function optimally. I wanted us to see how the foods and drinks we consume can enhance or be a detriment to our body functions and their proper functioning or led to disease within that system and the whole body as a result.

Consider a car (for one illustration). If it doesn’t get oil, the parts of the vehicle that use the oil can break down when the oil is not applied. But the breakdown of that single or those few parts may cause the entire vehicle to become useless. A broken brake line may not cause the engine to cease functioning, but it makes the entire car useless for transportation – not because it can’t run, but because it can’t stop, and that can lead to a crash.

An untreated liver problem may not stop the heart from performing as it should, but it stops the body from being able to remove toxins and that may lead to any number of diseases and prevent the whole body from giving us the vitality we need to have a good, productive life.

I’ve enjoyed talking about the cleansing regimen that I use. I celebrated my 75th birthday last month, and while that may be noteworthy, even more noteworthy is the fact that while I have found help in finding and “reworking” some of the issues that have cost many of my relatives (i.e., the genetics) their lives at a younger age than this, I have also been able to maintain an active, vital, and enjoyable life.

And, beyond cleansing, I also use:

  • food enzymes and probiotics to aid my aging digestive system
  • products to slow down the aging process
  • products to support my genetic weaknesses (things that “run in the family”).
  • other products focused on whatever is bothering me at this time!

Feel free to drop by the store and talk to us about any of these issues that are troubling you.

I’ve tried not just to present a “possible” annual cleansing regimen but show you in some detail the regimen that I have personally used for several years now. And I can truthfully say that, even at this age, I feel good and have only minor restrictions on my chosen life activities. I still work at my store 40-50 hours each week; I take care of my farm animals on my five acre “farm”; I have a 5000sqft garden that produces much of what we eat; I have an orchard and I mow about half of the acreage each week. I have a loving, caring wife, three married kids, seven grandkids, and our second greatgrandchild is on the way. Life is good and God blesses us in countless (and often surprising) ways each day.

I would encourage you to stay healthy. Eat healthy, nutrient-rich foods; drink healthy liquids including adequate, daily water; get outdoors for a bit of sunshine and at least walk a bit each day; and take time daily to thank friends, neighbors, and family members for the regular support they add to your life, and God for His rich blessings. I can’t say enough about the uplift we get from a grateful attitude.

It’s been correctly stated that life is a journey, not a destination. Don’t try to run through it or walk it alone. Take time to enjoy the journey – with others and with God’s help!

Nothing here is meant to diagnose or treat any diseases. It is simply what I personally do for my health and is given to you for educational purposes. If you have a serious health problem, please consult a competent health practitioner.

Berberine

This month we are talking about the small intestine and the importance of keeping it healthy and what can be done to bring back balance and health to this vital portion of the digestive tract. 

Bacteria is necessary for the function of the digestive system but most of the bacteria needs to be in the large intestine not the small intestine.  Too many bacteria in the small intestine can cause a condition called SIBO or Small Intestinal Overgrowth.  SIBO can cause the small intestine to not be able to keep up with its important job of breaking down food and absorbing nutrients, leading to vitamin deficiencies and uncomfortable symptoms like gas and bloating.  Berberine has been found to have great benefits for the small intestine by helping to restructure the balance of the microbiome and reducing bacteria overgrowth.

So what is this Berberine?  It may sound like it is something new, but Berberine has been used for centuries by natural health practitioners.  It is an alkaloid—a naturally occurring compound—found in plants that have traditionally been used where infections have been present such as Barberry, Goldenseal, and Oregon grape Root. 

Modern studies are showing that not only is the Berberine found in these plants beneficial against infection, but this alkaloid may be helpful in other conditions like diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and high cholesterol.  In fact, it was written in the December 2012 issue of Natural Medicine Journal  “Any condition that would be favorably impacted by a patient losing weight and or exercising more may be impacted favorably with oral berberine supplementation.”

“It makes sense to consider berberine for clients with insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, heart disease, dyslipidemia, cancer, depression, and other neuropsychiatric diseases.”

In a 2015 Endrocrinol journal it was stated: “…..modern pharmacological effects of berberine on glucose metabolism…include improving insulin resistance, promoting insulin secretion…..”

Not only has berberine shown to help improve the regulation and function of insulin, but it also appears to inhibit the growth of fat cells.  Good news for those of us needing to lose weight!

Losing weight and controlling insulin levels are both great benefits for the heart and the use of berberine is showing some even more positive effects on the heart and high blood pressure by stimulating the release of nitric oxide, a molecule that relaxes arteries.  That means better blood flow and lower blood pressure.

High Cholesterol?  Yep, berberine may help there too.  Eleven clinical trials with a total of 874 participants noted that berberine may reduce LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL.  That means down with the bad and up with the good, just what a healthy body needs.

Increase insulin function, inhibit growth of fat cells, stimulate nitric oxide, lower cholesterol, fight infection, and reduce bacterial overgrowth. Could we have a silver bullet here?  Maybe not, but when you add in the anti-inflammatory properties of berberine and research showing positive effects on pain reduction in arthritic conditions, we may be getting close

Especially in America where nearly 34 million people have diabetes (95% is Type 2), 54 million people have an arthritic condition, 4 in 10 Americans are obese, and approximately 60% of people diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrom also have SIBO, supplementing with berberine in either isolate form or in an herbal sounds like something to look in to.

Always be sure to use quality supplements that have been sourced and harvested well.  We here at The Healthpatch are always happy to help you find your best supplements.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Small Intestine Detox

The dictionary tells us that the “primary functions of the small intestine are mixing and transporting of intraluminal contents, production of enzymes and other constituents essential for digestion, and absorption of nutrients.”

I consider that the small intestine is the most important part of the digestive system! Why? Well, VERY simply put, we could put our food in a blender and add some enzymes (particularly ptyalin – an enzyme secreted in saliva to change starches into sugars for digestion) to replicate the functions of chewing and carb breakdown. Then we could add the bile salts, hydrochloric acid and enzymes from the liver, stomach, and pancreas to further break down the food into its nutrient components.  And then we could add alkalizers like the duodenum does to neutralize the acids so they don’t “burn” the rest of the digestive tract. On a macro level, we’d then have what our bodies dump into the small intestine – a nutrient-rich, mostly liquefied “mush”. But we still haven’t caused the body to absorb the nutrients for use by all the cells. For our survival, that’s the essential function of the small intestine.

Obviously, from the product name Small Intestine Detox, we know that this product I use every December is focused on the small intestine. Not so clear, is the knowledge that the formula is designed to support the absorption of vital nutrients in the small intestine. The components of this product include pepsin, which is an enzyme used to help digest proteins. But it also helps to clear accumulated protein wastes from the intestinal walls, allowing the intestinal walls full contact with the digested food for improved absorption. The other major ingredient is marshmallow, which absorbs and carries bowel toxins out of the body. That all sounds technical and comes from a card on the product produced by Natures Healthy People!

But regardless of the technicalities, I love how this product helps me get the nutrients I need from the good foods I eat. And, truth be said, I use the product in December because with all the “holiday eating” – usually not so healthy – I use it to remind myself that I strongly need the nutrients from the good foods I do eat.

It IS important to eat healthy. And because our prepared foods and eat-on-the-go habits may not be the BEST for the nutrients our bodies require, I encourage everyone to do some regular cleansing of their body systems.  Life is fuller and richer if it is healthier! Make the most of the life with which God has blessed you!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Nothing here is meant to diagnose or treat any diseases. It is simply what I personally do for my health and is given to you for educational purposes. If you have a serious health problem, please consult a competent health practitioner.

Putting the “Can Do” in a Candida Detox

Candida is a type of yeast that is one of many microorganisms that make up the intestinal microflora.  The balance of microflora is important for our bodies to stay in good health.  However, when these microorganisms are out of balance due to poor diet, medications, and stressful lifestyles, what once helped create health can now create havoc.  Overgrowth of Candida Albicans can then become an adversary responsible for intestinal inflammation and leaking toxins into the bloodstream that weaken the immune system.

Some common symptoms of Candida overgrowth can include:

  • Sensitivities to foods
  • Fungus in the nails or feet
  • Mental confusion, or inability to focus
  • General fatigue
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Poor Digestion Reoccurring yeast infections

While getting the gut flora back into balance can take some dedication and time, it is possible to regain health with a few “can do” steps:

  • Repopulate the body with probiotics.  This helps bring the “good guys” back into balance so they can keep the Candida Albicans in check.
  • Detox. Using natural Anti-fungal supplements to help create an unfriendly environment for the Candida Albicans.
  • Modify diet.  Changing the diet alters the environment for Candida.

Modifying the diet can be the most challenging part of keeping Candida in check, but it is also the most crucial because the yeast needs sugar to build cell walls and reproduce.  Not only are the simple sugars found in candy, soda, and pastries a food source for yeast, but even more complex carbohydrates in fruit and whole grains will break down into a glucose source. Eliminating junk food is always in our best interest for better health, but when detoxing from Candida, the elimination of even more complex carbohydrates that include fruit, potatoes, rice, bread, yams, and fruit juices, will be necessary for a time to have the best benefits.

So, what can we eat on a Candida diet? The “can do” list of nutritious, low-sugar, anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables: leafy greens, spinach, kale, green beans, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, etc.
  • Low sugar fruits such as limes, lemons, avocado, and berries can be eaten in moderation.
  • Meat, fish, and eggs.  Avoid processed meats with sulfates and nitrates.  Many deli meats have added sugar in the form of dextrose, so learn to be a label reader.
  • Bone Broth!  Bone broth is wonderfully restorative with naturally occurring collagen and glutamine.  Both compounds help restore the integrity of the gut lining.
  • Fermented foods. These can include unsweetened yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, pickles (unsweetened), and olives
  • Nuts such as cashews, almonds, and pecans.  Peanuts can be high in mold and should be avoided.  Mold does not necessarily feed the candida, but when there is an overgrowth there can be a high sensitivity to mold present, and eating peanuts could trigger a reaction.
  • Spices!  Spices add wonderful flavor and some such as turmeric and cinnamon are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and have anti-fungal properties that add another layer of nutrition and health benefits.
  • Good Fats such as avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil.  Both olive oil and coconut oil have anti-fungal properties and can help boost the immune system.
  • Herbal teas and plenty of water. There are some sweeteners that can be enjoyed in herbal tea if desired:
    • Stevia
    • Monk Fruit
    • Erythritol

Along with choosing nutritious foods to eliminate the candida food source, there are foods with special properties that make a wonderful addition to assist in the candida detox processes:

  • Garlic not only fights Candida Albicans, but it also helps to maintain a healthy digestive system by destroying harmful bacteria while leaving healthy bacteria in place.  Garlic also helps with detoxification by boosting the lymphatic system.
  • Onion has anti-parasitic as well as anti-fungal properties.  It also helps support the kidneys, helping to rid the body of waste through the urinary system more efficiently
  • Ginger, along with being anti-inflammatory helps with detoxification by assisting the liver in flushing out toxins.  Ginger also increases oxygen throughout the body (which aids in healing) as well as helps soothe irritation in the intestinal tract caused by yeast overgrowth.
  • Pau d Arco tea is an excellent addition to a Candida detox as It is packed with powerful yeast-fighting compounds.  Pau d arco can found in tea form or capsules in health food stores such as The HealthPatch.
  • Cayenne Pepper is not the biggest hitter on being anti-fungal, but it is still valuable in detox because, like ginger, it is particularly good at increasing oxygen throughout the body.  Oxygen in the cells is vital for healing and healing the body is the ultimate goal in a detox.

Some final thoughts:  Changing your diet and detoxing is not easy and may become even more uncomfortable for a time as the body goes through a healing process.  If this happens, do not give up.  Instead, adjust your program if needed, drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins, rest as much as possible, and give yourself grace.  Often a mental shift is needed when working to make permanent changes for better health.  The title of this article is cheesy, but I chose it for a purpose.  In the middle of processes such as detoxing, it can be very human to want to give up when the changes become challenging and the physical symptoms seem to have worsened. When we want to look at the diet and think “look at all I have to give up”, instead of shifting to “look at the foods that can help me reach my health goals” can often make a difference in moving forward.  Emphasis on Can.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030, e-mail pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Movement-The Natural Cleanse

This year (2020) I have made “cleansing” the topic of the first blog of each month. And I’ve consistently made the topics in line with the annual monthly program that I personally follow. But I mentioned back in April that I repeatedly do a lighter “whole body” cleanse.  The one I use is a Nature’s Sunshine product called Tiao He Cleanse. This packaged product contains a 15-day regimen of two packets per day of six capsules each.  Each packet contains products to cleanse the colon, the bloodstream, the digestive system, various organs, the individual body cells, and many common parasites.  It was developed to be a “general, all-purpose” cleanse and I find it helpful to use twice each year. But if you want more information on this cleanse, you may refer to my April blog on the subject of regular, total body cleansing.

Since we are now in the middle of a global pandemic, I definitely wanted to remind our readers that the need for regular cleansing is even more important. I read a medical article a few months back that reported that “a sedentary lifestyle is the new cancer!” The report stated that we now have more people dying from “doing nothing” than from many diseases – like cancer.

Also, in previous blogs, we’ve mentioned the importance of exercise to the functioning of every body system. But the importance of exercise on the eliminative organs of the body is essential.  Systems like the colon and the lymphatic system, which are basically eliminative in their very function, have no pumps to move the waste material from your basic cells all the way to the outside world. The same is true for the gall bladder, the kidneys, and the liver. So, if YOU don’t move, they don’t move.

I’ve researched the life expectancy of those who work hard all their lives, then retire and decide to just sit and “watch football” or the like. According to research, most only live a couple of years.  Consider that if you don’t move, your body holds on to all those toxins generated by the body and recirculates them all through your body. It doesn’t take long for the body to become totally septic! Sepsis is caused by infection and can happen to anyone.  There are, of course, many other causes of increased inflammation, but natural toxicity due to the neglect of excreting wastes is certainly one of them.

As I considered the effects of the current pandemic, I realized that decreased mobility (exercise) is on the rise.  More of us work from home, so we don’t even move from office to office, in and out of our workplaces, or up and down stairs.  We don’t even go shopping – we even have basic essentials like food delivered to the home! Many of our exercise programs, and the places we go to participate in them, are on shutdown, and we become more and more sedentary.  Unless we work on it, we accept a sedentary lifestyle by default. We gain weight, we feel sluggish, and we succumb to more sepsis.

So, I have begun to call this a sedentary, sepsis-producing lifestyle that could become more life-threatening even that the root causes of the pandemic. And forcing ourselves into more movement-generating activities could only help our condition.

Certainly, a regular program of cleansing and detoxifying along with good nutrition and proper supplements will add quality to your life and ward off many of the diseases that rob us of real joy.  But don’t neglect exercise – what I am calling “The Natural Cleanse!”  Good health and God’s blessings!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Let’s Talk Antivirals

So, what is a virus anyway? We all know what they do to us. But what are they? According to Wikipedia, “A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to microorganisms, including bacteria and archaea.” They may lay on a table, float in the air, or ride on your vehicle, but they can’t replicate until they have an organic “host”.

Further research on the internet led me to an article that stated that there are already over 50 pharmaceuticals which have been shown in clinical trials to kill viruses. So why are they still an issue? Mutation. Just like bacteria they are clever little critters.

If the neighborhood bully catches up with you every day and takes your lunch money, you start looking for ways to avoid him. Take a different path to school, get a big buddy to walk with you. Carry a big stick. Take a self-defense class. And so on!

Well viruses do that too. If they are constantly wiped out by one drug, they develop an “immunity” to that one and we have to find another one. So, what can we do? Play on its weaknesses. Remember, it needs a host to survive!

  • Find a new drug – we’re hard at that all the time. But it takes time!
  • Know it’s coming and prepare for the season – You can do this by working on strengthening your immune system. There are at least two other blogs here that address ways to do this.
  • Take a two-pronged approach. Look for supplements that set up an environment in your body where viruses cannot thrive, AND look for supplements known to kill viruses in general. I wrote about several of these in our March blog about viruses and bacteria.

In addition to the herbs I mentioned in the March blog, I’ve spoken with a couple of doctors and searched the internet for some other vitamin and mineral supplements that help prepare you to fight viruses in general. And I’m notating the daily dosages recommended by the medical sources that I have found and reported to me by my customers from their doctors. They won’t apply to everyone, so check with your health care provider about your specific needs.

  • Vitamin C – 1,300-3,000mg per day. Most references seemed to think this worked best if the supplement also contained some citrus bioflavonoids.
  • Vitamin D3 – up to about 5,000IU per day.
  • Vitamin E – around 15IU per day. This is a major fat-soluble antioxidant that plays numerous roles in modulating the strength and breadth of your immune system.
  • Zinc – an interesting aside is that my shelf stock the first of this year was 2 bottles because it was normally only taken supplemental to a multivitamin/mineral by a few men. Men generally/normally need about 15mg per day. Now my shelf stock is up to 50 times that amount as customers come in saying their medical doctors are suggesting 50mg per day. We carry several brands and several strengths up to 50mg.

Refer back to the March blog on our website www.thehealthpatch.com under the “resources” tab for the list of some helpful herbal supplements to help manage viruses.

Use sensible precaution. Remember viruses need a host to replicate. Don’t be the host!!! Sanitizers, masks, and managed contact with carriers are all necessary. And a strong immune system is your best defense. Stay healthy.

Kidney Health

When my customers ask me “exactly where are my kidneys?”, I ask them to stand like little tin soldiers with their fists at their back. In fact, they are about the size of your fists and are rather bean-shaped, one on each side of your lower back. They filter wastes from the blood at the rate of about a half cup of blood every hour, filtering the complete contents of your entire blood supply about 40 times each day. They do the filtering through around a million “nephron filters in each kidney, which remove the wastes through your urine and return needed water and needed nutrients back to the bloodstream.

The kidneys also do a couple of other things that are also important to body functions:

  • They monitor and are primarily responsible for maintaining your body pH. They do this by removing the excess acids that your body produces through its normal functioning and balancing water, salts, and minerals such as sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium.
  • They make hormones. Some of the functions of these hormones are making red blood cells, keeping your skeleton strong and healthy, and controlling blood pressure. It is interesting to me that if you have a loved one in the hospital for evaluation of their blood pressure issues, you will probably find them in the kidney ward of the hospital. It’s the first place they look for high blood pressure issues.

In my previous blog on kidneys, I shared “We once had a test in which customers brought in saliva and urine samples to find weak body systems. The developer of that test told herbalists that upwards of 90% of our customers would find their weakest organ to be the kidney because of all the work it had to do.” I would add that the other cause is the fact that most of us do little with our kidneys in mind. If they work at all, we think they are working fine! We only notice them when we develop a problem with them, such as burning urine; dark-colored, thick, or bleeding urine, or are very painful; developing kidney stones.

So, what can we do to help keep our kidneys healthy?

  • Drink adequate water. I’ve defined that in several other blogs, so I won’t belabor the point here.
  • Monitor your body’s pH. Testing strips are available at almost all health food and supplement stores. If you eat properly and guard against substances that acidify your body, you’ll take a great load off the pH balancing duties of the kidneys.
  • Lower your sugar intake. Sugar is among the most inflammatory substances you can put in your body. As the inflammation attacks your body it taxes the cleansing effects of the kidneys.
  • Work with your medical advisors to control your blood pressure. Again, if you keep your blood pressure in a healthy range, it alleviates much stress on your kidneys.
  • If you are a “big-time” salt user as most Americans are (virtually all of our many snack foods are salty), you not only increase blood pressure issues, but you cause health issues as the kidneys try to balance the excess with the nominal body needs for salt.

And where any of these issues address your concerns, consider herbal supplements to help you where lifestyle issues are not manageable for you. The herbs can help wash wastes as you move urine (diuretics), strengthen the kidneys themselves, and aid in addressing most of the issues mentioned above. Talk with your doctor, herbalist, or other health care practitioner.

Kidney issues are a major cause of premature death in America. Take care of yours – don’t take them for granted! Good health and God’s blessings!

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Kidney Cleansing

The kidneys are tasked with constantly cleansing all the liquids taken into the body. And my family (and many others that I know personally) have many family members with weak kidneys. Some suffer from genetic weaknesses, some from lack of proper care of their kidneys, and some from the abuse of putting things in their bodies that are damaging to the kidneys. There are many things we can do to strengthen our kidneys and we need to be diligent in doing so or kidney disease, dialysis, or kidney loss are in our futures.

We will talk about how we can promote proper kidney function and health in our next blog, but here I want to discuss this year’s topic – cleansing – and specifically “how to keep the kidneys clean.”

In almost every article I write the subject of water is addressed. Water is essential to virtually EVERY body function. Medical articles I have read say that “66% of the body is water.” So, NO body system functions well without adequate water. Remember my rule of thumb regarding water: our goal should be to drink half our body weight in ounces of water each day, keeping a minimum regardless of your body weight of 64 ounces and normally, a maximum of 100 ounces. More than that may wash out some essential body salts and other essential nutrients. This is a general rule and you should consult a doctor for specific guidelines if your condition warrants it. The body can only assimilate about four ounces per hour, so sipping all day will hydrate you better than guzzling a 16-ounce bottle four times each day.

So, as we address cleansing the kidneys, adequate water is the first order of business. The kidney is removing foreign matter, toxins, and other impurities from the whole body. It does this through a series of around one million nephron filters. We don’t want them to get clogged in the system and begin to make the whole structure toxic, blocked, or developing stones.

Next, don’t hold on to those toxic substances. Use of some light diuretic may need to be a regular part of your dietary program if you know you have weak kidneys. You may be surprised to find that our best two common herbal diuretics are dandelion root and parsley. Fresh dandelion greens make a great addition to spring salads and taste much like arugula, slightly bitter. And common dandelion tea is popular and a roasted version is a popular coffee substitute with no caffeine.

We once had a test in which customers brought in saliva and urine samples to find weak body systems. The developer of that test told herbalists that upwards of 90% of his customers would find their weakest organ to be the kidney because of all the work it had to do. I found that to be true with my customers as well. So, he worked with customers to develop a liquid supplement specifically to drain the kidneys. It consisted of extracts of asparagus, plantain leaves, juniper berries, and the aerial parts of goldenrod. You simply put 20 drops in a bottle of water and sip on two such bottles throughout the day. It works great!

Other popular herbal kidney cleansing formulas contain extracts of rosemary, fennel, nettle root, horseradish, and others. Some products promote proper functioning, stimulate weak kidneys, and are called “activators” and some are simple “cleanses”. They come using both American and Chinese herbal formulas and both seem to work effectively for putting your kidneys back in proper functionality.

Keep your kidneys clean and they will serve you well. Good health and God’s blessings!

For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.