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Archive for Skeletal structure

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.

Healthy Body Systems: Structural

Again, we’ve 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.

This month, we’ll consider necessary nutrients for the structural system. The basic functions of the skeletal system are to give our bodies form and mobility, house all the other body systems, and protect the insides from the outside environment. Components of the structural system are:

  • the bones – which serve as the framework for the body and protects the internal organs,
  • the muscles – some 620 various special types of tissue adapted to contract, allowing body movement and mobility,
  • connective tissue – tendons (a soft, yet strong tissue that connects muscles to bones), and ligaments (the tissue that holds bones together).
  • skin – it is the largest organ in the body; it is the tissue that holds everything together! It helps eliminate toxins, supplies its own surface oils for keeping itself pliable, and helps regulate body temperature.
  • hair – a major component of the body’s sensory system, and the roots draw out toxic elements from the body and store them in the hair itself.

Years ago, manufacturers learned that adding the element carbon to iron produced steal – a building material that was lighter weight, more flexible and stronger than the iron itself. Likewise, in our bodies we add silica to calcium to get a structure that is also lighter weight, more flexible, and stronger than a calcium structure on its own.  So, while we tout the benefits of adding calcium to our diets (and it does have a lot of benefits), we have other herbals that help us maintain a strong complete skeletal system as well. Some of them include:

  • horsetail – a rich source of silica. It is involved in the formation and maintenance of all the skeletal structures. Interestingly, it grows well here in Oklahoma. It can be consumed as a tea, a tincture or in supplements.
  • dandelion – it is a rich source of both calcium and silica. It not only helps the body grow strong bones, but can improved the strength of bones by providing calcium for repair and new growth. It also contains boron to help produce strong bones. I found a recipe that said use one teaspoon of dried dandelion in a cup of boiled water, steep it for ten minutes, strain it and drink three cups a day for best results.
  • lemongrass – great as a simple tea, it is rich in flavonoids which have been found to prevent bone loss!
  • hawthorn – these berries can be beneficial for bone repair in that they increase blood circulation and oxygenation, aiding in getting calcium from the bloodstream into the bones.
  • gotu kola – this herbal contains neither calcium nor silica, but it has been found to improve the health of both cartilage and ligaments that connect the bones.
  • nettle – one of the most nutritive herbs for bones because it contains an abundance of calcium in a readily absorbable form.
  • chamomile – it is effective in preventing gradual bone loss which often leads to osteoporosis.

Common problems associated with the skeletal system include: arthritis, osteoporosis and muscle cramps. If you have skeletal issues, talk to us about supplementation that may be an answer for you.  We have a staff of five Naturopathic Doctors who would be willing to talk with you via a brief phone conversation if you live far away, or a private in-store consultation if you are local. Find the herbals that will work for you and we’ll be glad to mail them to you. We offer 10% discounts to those who mention our blogs/podcasts and free shipping on orders over $50.

Add “skeletal” to your list of Healthy Body Systems!

–  Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is 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.