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Archive for kidney health

Simples: Horsetail

With our emphasis on the skeletal system this month, our “Simple”—a single herb used for medicinal purposes—is Horsetail.

Horsetail has mild diuretic and kidney nourishing properties, making it helpful for encouraging the release of fluid in the body and for nourishing the kidney and urinary tract.  In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are directly related to the skeletal system and are said to “build the bones”.  The connection lies in the function of the kidney to flush acid waste from the body and when this waste is not eliminated adequately the body must neutralize the acid to keep a proper PH level.  The body completes the alkalizing step by using minerals and if there is not enough mineral “reserve” in the system, they will be borrowed from the bones.  If this borrowing system occurs frequently throughout one’s life, it can lead to structural problems such as neck and back pain, weakness in the legs and ankles and even osteoporosis.  Herbs like horsetail that have mineral electrolytes can help the kidneys flush waste as well as replenish mineral reserves. This helps keep the body from having to borrow from our skeletal system.

Horsetail is especially high in the mineral silica.  This is a natural compound made of two of earth’s most abundant material: silicon and oxygen and is found naturally in the body’s tissues.  Silica adds elasticity to tissues, making them strong and not brittle.  It is an essential element in collagen that helps hold our body together, providing elasticity, flexibility, and strength to the skeletal system.

Horsetail favors sandy soil and grows well in North America.  It is hearty and, once planted, can be hard to eradicate.  So, plant wisely 😊

Using horsetail in a powder (capsule) form or tincture is recommended.  It can be combined with other herbals for maximum benefit.  For hair, skin, and nails add Irish moss.  For urinary health, adding cornsilk is helpful.

We here at The Healthpatch can help you find the best herbal supplements for you.

Kimberly Anderson, ND

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose disease.

Staying Healthy: The Importance of Exercise

For the first almost half of this year our first blog/podcast of each month has covered a holistic monograph (our 2021 focus) dealing with family preparation.  For the remainder of the year, we’ve been looking at various ways of staying healthy. I wanted to focus this article on the importance of exercise.

In a previous blog I referred to an article I read in a medical magazine on this topic. It stated that for a person who retires from his active job and decides that he’s “done his part” and is going to just sit down and watch [football] for the rest of his life, his life expectance is only about two (2) years. That may surprise you but remember several of our body systems don’t have pumps to move nutrients along. And notable, the waste disposal systems – the kidney, the bowel, and the lymphatic system – are among them. I call it the “toothpaste effect”. How do you get toothpaste out of the tube? You squeeze it! And how do you get the dead cells out of your lymphatic system? You contract the muscles, which squeeze the lymph nodes and lymphatic tubing to move the waste to the disposal locations. If you don’t move, then neither does the toxic, dead waste your body produces. Is it any wonder the body becomes toxic and diseased?

Now, be assured, I’m not telling you you have to go join a gym and do vigorous, daily workouts. While that may be important to some, I just think of exercise as movement! Regular, active, get-your-heart-pumping movement! One writer said it’s anything that makes your muscles work and makes your body burn calories.” I like that! Just don’t become a “couch potato” and bind yourself to the TV.

While researching this article, I read dozens of resources on the importance of exercise from sources like the Mayo Clinic, the Better Health Channel, Healthline, and many others. Most come to several similar conclusions:

  • It improves your mood and makes you feel happier; reduces stress and anxiety and reduces depression by generating and mobilizing “feel good” hormones.
  • It helps you build and maintain strong muscles and bones. It is great for your skeletal system. Just like plants grow stronger in the wind, your skeleton grows stronger when it is exercised.
  • It reduces fatigue and increases energy levels by moving vital nutrients throughout the body.
  • Obvious to most of us is the fact that burning more calories also helps us to manage our weight and helps us loose weight.
  • One writer quoted “regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, heart health, and body composition, and can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”
  • Blood and oxygen flow from exercise improves memory and brain function and may slow the aging process.
  • It helps prevent and manage many other health problems, such as Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, strokes, arthritis and many types of cancers.
  • It can improve sleep quantity and quality, especially for the older folks among us who are prone to many sleep disorders. Let’s face it, a good restful sleep is certainly more forthcoming when we go to bed tired!
  • Several writers noted that it can “put the spark back in your sex life” not only by increasing your energy, but by increasing your confidence about your physical appearance.

And quoting from an article from the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise can be fun … and social! Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. They give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy.”

How much is enough? I loved my Fitbit and used it for several years. It advocated 250 steps every waking hour as a minimum. Several references stated you needed to get your heart rate to 200 minus your age for 15 minutes each day. The Mayo Clinic article advocated 150 minutes each week of moderate aerobic activity. Most references have suggestions for healthy activity.  Choose one that works for you – one that you will do regularly.  The bottom line is “get up off the couch and MOVE every day.” Find something active that you enjoy and stay at it.  One of my best friends lived to be 95, and she did water aerobics at the “Y” regularly.  It’s not so much WHAT your do, but that you do something – regularly!

–  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 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.